Parts System Overview.
The "Parts System" in any workshop software, forms a large part of the program
backbone. Experience with competitor software has shown the main problem with
part libraries in general to be with "Code Recall". Code recall refers to your
ability to remember the "Part Code" you assign a part when you add it to the
library. If we could be sure that you could remember every code you assign to
every part you add to your system, there would be no problem. However, as the
designer of G-E is a mechanic, we know you have more pressing things to
remember. The ability to call the right part into an invoice, with minimal
"recall" from you is critical in preparing invoices quickly.
Hands-on experience has shown that all parts fall into one of two categories: Parts that are fitted to all vehicles and parts that are specific to vehicle models. We refer to the two categories here as "Global" and "Specific". Examples of global parts would be; oils, coolants, fluids, hose clamps, globes, labour etc., whereas specific parts would include; top hose for a Falcon, water pump for a Camry, clutch kit for a Laser etc.
The problem with one global library, which holds all the parts in the system, (which appears as the "norm" in most workshop software) stems from the inability to recall the part code exactly when you wish to call the part. This results in a vast list of parts that match your search text, which invariably is only a portion of the full code. Most programmers leave it up to you to think of unique codes for hundreds of parts, then recalling a large portion of each code when required. The best system is one, which calls the correct part with the least recall and input from the user. G-E has a vast and powerful parts system which addresses this problem aggressively. Instead of one global library, G-E has an infinite number of part libraries. One "Global" library and as many "Specific" libraries as you desire.
When preparing a work order, G-E knows the vehicle model for which the work order is being prepared and gives you access to the "Specific" library for that model, or the "Global" library with one click.
Parts System Structure
An important note to remember here is the parts system "structure". Most instruction manuals don't go into this aspect of parts systems, they let you figure out how important "structure" is yourself by creating and later, realising errors. The "structure" refers to how you assign a code to a part. G-E makes this easier as it allows similar parts in different libraries to have the same code although they are different parts. G-E will also find codes regardless of search text case and spaces. To further increase the searching power of G-E's system, a "wildcard" character search can be employed. G-E uses the ' * ' (astrik, Shift+8 key) to locate portions of search codes.
Let us take a look at an example of what I would call a "structured code":
We wish to add a steering rack boot for a Falcon to the system. This is a specific part, as it doesn't fit other vehicle models. The best way to "structure" this part is to take it to the basics. What is it? It is a "boot". So the part code should start with the word "Boot". Now we can identify it as a steering rack boot with something like "SR". So now we have "Boot SR". If you do this and adhere to this type of structure, you won't need to remember if you called it a steering rack boot, or a rack boot or whatever. If you command G-E to search for all "boots" in the Falcon library, the search text "boot" will do this. Then you can view all the boots returned and know, if it isn't listed, it isn't on the system. This is one of the places G-E is superior. The search text "boot" will return only boots to suit Falcons, not every other boot listed for every other vehicle model on the system, therefore the returned list is very small so selection is easy. Having this in mind, it is obvious that just a well-structured keyword is all that is required in G-E to find a part quickly.
This "structure" should apply to all parts i.e. "Hose top", "Bearing wheel", "Gasket head". We need to take this a little further. Even though G-E has unlimited "Specific" part libraries, you will have several similar model derivatives. i.e. Falcon EA, EB, ED, EF etc. Although these are different models, they share a great deal of parts so it is best to nest them all under the one model "Falcon". This takes us back to the "Model" field in the "New Vehicle" dialogue. This field is where G-E determines the vehicle model when preparing a work order. As a result, a specific part like a "Top Hose" should be assigned a code; "HOSE TOP ED" or "HOSE TOP EF". Other acceptable codes would be "HOSE TOP 1" or "HOSE TOP 2" and identify each hose in the part description. When searching for this part, the search text "Hose" is enough to call all hoses for Falcons as the search will be conducted in the Falcon library. You will then be presented with a listing of hoses which will be a small list of Falcon hoses as opposed to a large list of hoses pertaining to all models when the abbreviated code "hose" is entered as the search text.
To further add to this, the use of part numbers can be used to pin point a part exactly. Part numbers can be used on their own (not too useful as not many of us can remember part numbers!) or stored with the part code. A code like "HOSE TOP ED 05-12345 is particularly useful. If this part is bought in, the supplier invoice will give you the part number. To locate this part in your system you use the "wild card" character. This search then looks like this: *05-12345. Note the " * " preceding the number. This commands G-E to return the part with 05-12345 in the code, ignoring all text before it. Pressing F12 when using the wildcard search method causes G-E to go to the next closest match in the list.
To re-iterate, remember the part code structure. Call a top hose a hose top, a light switch, switch light, a park lamp, lamp park. Searching with "lamp" will then show you all lamps for the vehicle, you then choose which you want. Please remember, this is a guide as to how to obtain perfect operation of the parts system. It is not essential that you follow this guide and if you wish to code your parts differently, by all means do. Also note, you have direct access to the parts system from within a work order. Parts may be added to the system, edited etc. from within a work order.