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FAQ - What is current best practice in part descriptions?

The description field is one of the most abused field on most planning systems I see. It is a very useful and powerful field when used properly. Modern systems allow you to sort on the description field so if you want, for instance, an m4 brass screw 30mm long you can locate it via the description but only if you have a disciplined and structured way of using this field. Firstly the descriptions should be full, I have seen systems where there are 300 parts described as just Lids. Abbreviations should preferably be avoided but agreed abbreviations can be used but must be used consistently.

The format for common part descriptions is also important. The first word in the description should be a key descriptive word, one of an agreed list of basic descriptive words for common or frequently used parts. Clearly the list will vary from company to company. So for screws it should always read for instance "screw size length material finish" for example screw 4m 30mm brass. Some systems do allow wild card searches but they are often very slow so are less likely to be used.

Structured descriptions are such a easy step to take but allows designers to easily use existing parts to avoid having screws with small length or unnecessary finish differences. Improving the use of the description field is a quick win for your Business Excellence project.

The best e-book to help you both decide the best part description and numbering system for your situation and how to make the change is the Bill of Material e-book - click for more details.