Customer / Vendor ID in Dynamics GP – Naming Methods

By Devon Southall
What are you current Customer /Vendor IDs? Are they working for you? Each ERP system has particular structures that work better for that system. Microsoft Dynamics GP can support various types of ID – numeric, alpha-numeric, mixed and set or variable lengths up to 15 character. But which one is best?
We are going to discuss 3 typical ID structures/methods on factors of Ease of Use and Speed in Dynamics GP for Vendors (but remember that customers would work exactly the same).
Next Number – This ID structure was the only one possible back in the DOS accounting days! Each Vendor gets the next number 00001, 00002 etc.
Ease of Use – no one is going to memorize these ID so anyone can find vendors with ease. GP doesn’t default in the next number for new vendors, but last number can be easily looked-up.
Speed – 3 clicks – hit lookup, hit sort by description, type a couple letter, select vendor
NOTE – ISV products exist to make this work – such as Rockton’s SmartFill
and Ethotec’s Next Number Numeric
Nickname – This method is typically variable length Alpha – Software Solutions Group becomes SSG, Staples Offices Supplies becomes STAPLES, etc.
Ease Of Use – if you have a small number of Vendors, this can work quite easily. But new people can struggle with abbreviations that do not seem intuitive to them.
Speed – if you have memorized them, fast. For new users, this system doesn’t may not work well. They might need to try to lookup several times to find the right Vendor. This can be a slower method.
X Alpha Y Numeric – (such as 4 Letters, 3 Numeric) — In this method, you take the first 4 letters of the Vendor name (skipping spaces) and then the next number for that set of letters. For example – for Software Solutions Group — SOFT then if you already have SOFT001 and SOFT002, this vendor becomes SOFT003. Ice supply becomes ICES001. Depending on the sheer number of vendors you might select to use 3 or 5 letters, etc.
Ease of Use — This system works well for large numbers of vendors, lots of users entering transactions. There does need to be care taken when creating new vendors to follow the system.
Speed – Can be the fastest of the three schema for all users. Type 4 letters, hit lookup, vendor should be on the screen to select. Might need to scroll once or twice for popular prefixes such as National, New York, or your city name.
Remember – in Dynamics GP, the Professional Service Tools Library has a tool that can change your Vendor/Customer ID at any time – so you are not locked into one system and can change as your business grows and your needs change.