The system is largely about selling products that you either buy or make. It provides very flexible links between your suppliers, your products and your customers. For example, you can have multiple suppliers for a particular material, with each supplier having a different name for the material and each providing different quantity/price breaks. And likewise, you can have multiple customers for a particular product, with each customer having their own name for the product and each being offered a different price. When defining a new material or product, it will help if you understand how these links are managed. The diagram below illustrates the links between the various types of record involved:


The Materials Catalogue contains the descriptions of all the materials you deal with. No distinction is made between the parts you buy, the things you make and the products you sell.

To be able to buy a material, there must be a materials catalogue record for it with at least one attached supplier part record. The supplier part record defines the supplier, their price and their normal delivery lead time (in days).

To be able to make something, there must be a materials catalogue record for it with a method attached. The method defines how you make it, both in terms of the raw materials required (the BoM) and the resources required (the Ops).

When it comes to selling something, there only need be a material catalogue record for it. A customer part record is optional. However, you would usually define a customer part record because it provides a convenient way to select products when entering sales orders.

Customer part records are also useful when responding to a customer enquiry for a job you’ve never done before. This is because you can create the customer part record before you’ve created its materials catalogue record and before you’ve decided how you are going to do the job.