Auto-generating sensible numerical SKUs to assist with warehouse organization

I’m a store owners, right now my warehouse is 3,000 SKUs and growing. I’m planning to add 1,000+ new products over the next year.

Finding product on the shelf is getting to be a challenge. Customer orders a widget #3346, where is that? Experienced employees know, but a new person doesn’t. High cost of training to get somebody to learn where everything is.

I’ve tinkered with assigning ‘location’ type attributes for each product, like rack number, shelf number, bin number, etc. but that means somebody has to input the location, and update it if the product moves to another shelf for whatever reason (e.g. run out of space). A recipe for failure.

I got the idea to organize the warehouse by SKU. If the SKUs are numbers, then you just sort all products in numerical order on the shelves, like books in a library. Any new or temp employee can figure this out and find any given product. It’s also easy to restore order in case moving to a new building or shuffling product down the shelves to make space.

Simple enough to have my developer write a script that assigns new SKUs based on a numbering scheme, and then generate new bin labels and resort the warehouse. What about tomorrow when 50 new products show up on the dock and my employee wants to create magento product entries? how does he know what to number the new products?

out of the box, magento creates a SKU that is identical to the title. I know there is a configuration setting for the ‘mask.’ I’m thinking to modify this mask so that the SKU is generated automatically when the product is created.

suppose my desired SKU numbering scheme is [department number]-[supplier number]-[5-digit unique number]. example 105-345-45739 . 105 means shirts, 345 means ShirtCo, and 45739 is an arbitrary identifier.

proposed method: when creating a new product the user must select the Department from a drop-down (in this case, Shirts). I already have a custom module in my product page that associates one or more Suppliers for each product, and each supplier has a unique 3-digit Supplier number; so let’s say that at least one Supplier must be selected. Using my example in the previous paragraph, the new SKU would be generated as 105-345-[next available unique number]. this would need some custom module to map the Department “Shirts” to the department number, or the human needs a list taped to his monitor with a list of department codes and the dropdown is just the digit code itself.

looking for reactions, does this sound like a smart way to go about this? Can anyone suggest something simpler/better?

submitted by /u/ecommerce-pad
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