Assigning customer numbers


Do you have a unique ID number assigned to each of your customers?

MasterQ can accept up to 10 numbers or letters to uniquely identify each of your customers.  Some people find it easier to search for a customer using their number rather than their name.  In most cases you will be able to use either the customer's name or ID number so you won't need to memorize them.  The "customer" database you will use with MasterQ is shared by other Agenda Development software.  While the MasterQ program will use this file of companies to identify customers, other Agenda Development programs can use this same file to identify vendors or even retail customers.  Consider the following...

Use existing customer numbers if available

.  There is no point in having different customer numbers in different systems.  If you use other software (accounting software, for example) and it uses customer numbers then using the same numbers will make it easier for people who work in both systems.  Plus, sharing data is much easier this way. 

Use a consistent format

.  This can help you avoid errors when using customer numbers. 

Consider starting with two or three characters as a customer numbering scheme

.  MasterQ needs to use some type of numbering system to identify customers.  If you do not currently have a customer numbering system in place, consider keeping it simple.  Using just 2 characters (1-9 and A-Z) can uniquely identify over a thousand different customers.  Need more?  Going to three characters can identify almost 36,000 unique customers while four characters will cover over a million.

MasterQ can be set up to automatically assign numbers for you.  See Telling MasterQ How to Number Your Customers.  Another popular numbering scheme involves using the first letter of the company name followed by an arbitrary number of digits.  This can make it a bit easier to locate a particular customer in a list that is sorted by customer number.  However, it becomes confusing when Acme Widgets (customer number A1000) changes their name to Zebra Widgets and retains the customer number of A1000. 

One number for each Customer or each Location?

  You can do either; there are advantages and trade offs with both. 
If all customer locations are covered by one customer number:
  • you can easily see all of the quotes issued to the entire organization. 
  • When creating a quote, it's easy to recognize if you've quoted (or sold) a part to the customer previously.
  • The shipment history will include every part purchased by all customer locations.
  • Various reports and summaries cover the entire family of locations rather than reporting shipments to one plant or location.
But if you choose to assign a unique customer number to each customer location:
  • When viewing your quote history, it is easy to see quotes limited to one particular location. 
  • When creating a quote, MasterQ warns you if you have ever quoted or sold a part to the customer previously.  (MasterQ allows you to also check quotes & sales to up to three additional related customer numbers)
  • View a shipment history that only reflects shipments to one location.
  • Various reports and summaries cover one particular shipping location.

Customer numbers can be totally arbitrary

.  But should they be?  Some people will select customers by name while others will think in terms of customer numbers.  If numbers are totally random, it can be difficult to find a particular customer and more difficult for people to remember them.  Keeping arbitrary numbers short will help.

Use a different format for Customer numbers than Vendor numbers

.  Vendor numbers are not a part of the MasterQ program but are used by other Agenda Development software that you may use now or in the future.  Using a different format for these two company categories can make it easier to segregate one group from the other.

Some customer numbers are reserved

.  Customer ID number 1 is reserved for your company.  Customer numbers that start with the letters PR are special numbers for Prospects.  Customer numbers beginning with RET are reserved for Retail customers (this enables features in other Agenda Development software that you may use now or in the future.)  In addition, you may choose to create "customer" numbers for classes of customers that would be used to pull up standard pricing when building a quote.  Planning ahead you should avoid using a dealer number of "DEALER". "RETAIL", and "OEM" and similar categories you may wish to assign in the future.

Maybe you don't even need customer numbers

.  MasterQ needs a customer numbering system, but you may not.  MasterQ is very efficient in helping you locate a particular customer without being aware of their customer number. 
MasterQ makes it easy for you to assign new customer records by using your customer numbering rules.  You can see how this is set in the System record by clicking here.