What's the Difference Between Stock, Serial, and Assembly Parts?

ESC's Inventory module is not only one of the most versatile modules in ESC, it can also be the trickiest.  And one of the first things that tends to stump new users (and even veterans) is the difference between Part Types.  So here's a break down of the types of items you may find yourself working with in ESC.

First, it's important to note that the word "inventory" does not apply to all items in ESC.  You also have Billing Codes and History Codes.

  • Inventory - any physical item that you purchase, sell, and track quantities for as part of your business operations.  These items have a value that is counted as a part of your company's current assets.  An example of this may be filters, compressors, pumps, etc..
  • Billing Code - any non-physical item that you may create and use in order to apply charges and track costs for work on your invoices.   An example of a Billing Code may be labor charges, diagnostic fees, trip charges, permit fees, etc..
  • History Codes - A code that is used for recording notes on a customer's transaction that are automatically transferred to that customer's History records.  

In addition to the various items ESC provides, there are also different Types of Inventory items that can be created.  These are Stock, Serial and Assembly items.  

  • Stock items tend to be low-priced items that are sold the same way they are purchased - as a single unit.  Stock items are what you'll most likely be dealing with more frequently.  These may include filters, switches, cartridges, pipes, etc.
  • Serial item are much like stock items in that they are purchased and sold as a single unit.  Although these are the higher priced items that you want to track more closely.  If an item is setup as a serial item, you'll be required to enter the serial number for each individual unit received.  From there, you will be required to select that serial number when the unit is transferred between warehouses or sold on an invoice.  This allows you to run a report for that one particular unit and see exactly when it came in, who handled it, where it was transferred to and where it ended up.  These could be items as small as a condenser or as large as a water heater.  When setting up these items in the Inventory Entry screen, it's also recommended that they be set to 'Transfer to Equipment'.  Which means they will be saved in the Customer's Equipment record when they are sold.
  • Assembly items are not individual items like Stock and Serial parts are.  An assembly is a group of items that are sold together as a set.  An assembly could consist of only stock items or may contain a mix of stock and serial items as well as billing codes and history codes.  Let's look at this from the invoicing point of view: you have just repair a broken Moen shower faucet for a customer and now you need to add your items to the invoice.  You'll need to locate and add the cartridge, the sleeve, the wall plate, and the handle(s).  This could be time consuming - especially if you do more than one of these replacements in a day.  Instead, you'll create an assembly item for "Moen Cartridge Repair" and add all of the necessary items (listed previously) to that Assembly.  In addition to this, you'll add your Diagnostic billing code, a Labor billing code, a Miscellaneous Material code (to account for the silicone lubricant and teflon tape) and finally a History Code that explains the repairs that were performed.  Now all you have to do on your invoices is add this one assembly item and you're done.  Assemblies are frequently used with flat rate pricing as well, so you may want to check out some of our flat rate articles and tutorials to learn more.  

Now that you know all about the various items and part types in ESC, you're ready to build your inventory list and show off your know-how to the world!

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