Managing Items

joel brock edited this page Jun 24, 2015 · 10 revisions

Items are things that the store sells to customers. Items have many properties are identified by a unique UPC. PLUs as well as both both EAN and UPC format barcodes are all considered UPCs for this purpose. The UPC identifies the item at check out.

Check Digits

Many types of barcodes include a check digit and most barcode reader hardware can be configured to either include or omit the check digit when scanning items. If the item UPCs entered into Office omit check digits then the hardware must also be configured to omit check digits and vice versa. Omitting check digits is the most common and best supported CORE configuration.

Categorizing Items

CORE organizes items into a three tier hierarchy of super departments, departments, and sub departments.

The highest tier, super departments, only contains departments. An item cannot be assigned directly to a super department; it must instead be assigned to a department that belongs to that super department. Super departments are primarily an organizational and reporting feature that act as a shorthand for referring to a set of related departments.

There are two quirks to be aware of with super departments. First, super department number zero is reserved for non-sale departments. Definitions may vary a bit but things accounting would not consider real sales such as issuing gift cards, taking donations, or making corrections could fit in super department zero. The second quirk is that a department may belong to more than one super department. This can be a useful feature for quick access to common reports, however in some circumstances secondary super departments are ignored. For example, if a department belongs to a super department "Deli" as well as a super department "Cheese", on a report of store-wide sales by super department only one of the two will appear to avoid counting those sales twice. By convention, the super department with the lowest number is shown.

The middle tier, departments, contains the largest number of settings. All items must be assigned to a department. Departments contain default settings for tax, foodstamp, and discount status. When an item is assigned to a department, the settings are automatically updated to the department's defaults. Departments also contain settings for margin that can be used to calculate suggested retail pricing based on item costs.

The department minimum and maximum settings pertain to open rings. If cashiers open ring an amount outside this range they will be prompted to confirm. The Sales Code setting is an optional, additional hierarchy. If the store's accounting software uses account numbers to categorize sales those numbers can be entered here. This setting is at the department tier rather than the super department tier since the finance people and the merchandising people may not want sales grouped the exact same way.

The lowest tier, sub departments, is also a per-item setting but unlike departments it is optional. Each sub department is assigned to a parent department. This level of categorization is strictly for narrowing down long reports and lists of items to find what you're looking for.

Tools for creating and editing all three are in Office's Item Maintenance menu. Note that departments must be created first. All super departments must contain at least one child department and all sub departments must belong to a parent department.

Basic Item Settings

The primary, single item editing interface is found under Office's Item Maintenance menu By UPC/SKU or Brand Prefix. To create a new item, enter its UPC. To edit an existing item, enter its UPC or description or use the drop down option to search by vendor SKU number or a brand's numeric UPC prefix.

At minimum, an item must have a department, price, and description. Settings for tax, foodstamp (FS), and discount are automatically derived based on the department setting but can be adjusted. Checking Scale means the item must be weighed at the register. Checking QtyFrc means the cashier will be prompted to enter a quantity. The Brand field is for internal reporting and searching. The Vendor field indicates which vendor the store normally purchases the item from. New vendors can be added to the list using the plus button. The vendors section contains further information about vendors.

Item Editing FAQ

This section addresses common scenarios and questions pertaining to items. The price change page is referred to a lot. This is the single item editing interface found under the Item Maintenance menu By UPC/SKU or Brand Prefix.

  • How do I add an item to POS?
    • Go to the price change page. Enter your item's UPC. Leading zeroes are not necessary. At minimum, enter a description and price, then select a Dept (department). All other fields are optional. Click Create Item. Tax and foodstamp status is assigned automatically based on department.
  • That's tedious. How do I import a bunch of items?
    • There's a preliminary tool for this. Go to Import Data under the Admin menu (Site Map: Data Loading Tools). Choose Products and upload a CSV file containing UPCs, descriptions, and prices for your products. Optionally, department numbers can be included. Including departments is highly recommended. Editing departments one product at a time will be tedious and that's what we're trying to avoid here.
  • How do I add two items with the same UPC?
    • This is not allowed.
  • How do I change an item's price?
    • Go to the price change page. Enter your item's UPC. Alter the Price field. Click Update Item.
  • How do I find an item without the UPC?
    • Go to the price change page. Enter part of the item's description. This will list all item's with a matching description. Click on the one that you want. If only one item has that description, it'll skip straight to editing that item.
  • Why isn't my item the same price at all lanes?
    • There are a few possibilities. First, go to the price change page and look up the item. Now scroll down to the Lane Status section.
      • If some or all of your lanes aren't listed here, they need to be added to Office's configuration. Do so, or contact the IT staff in charge of doing so, then revisit this guide.
      • If can't connect messages show up for some or all of the lanes, there's a configuration error or network problem. Contact the staff in charge of fixing that, then revisit this guide.
      • If all lanes show prices for the item, just not the correct prices, just click Update Item. This will update all lane prices. If one of the two issues above was not the problem, perhaps notify IT so they can determine where prices got out of sync.
  • Why does the item I entered say "not found" at the lanes
    • First look up the item on the price change page and scroll down to the lane section. If any lanes are missing or show incorrect information, see the above question why isn't my item the same price at all lanes to resolve problems, then click Update Item to re-send it to the lanes. If lane status appears correct, the next mostly likely issue is check digits (or lack thereof). Write down the exact UPC shown on the lane's item not found error. The item must be entered with this exact UPC. If your scanner includes check digits, include check digits in Office. If your scanner omits check digits, omit them in Office. EAN-style barcodes cause the most problems here as the check digit is harder to identify.
  • Why does an item ring up with "w/ volume adjust" messages?
    • A volume price scheme may have been added accidentally. Look up the item on the price change page. In the Three for a Dollar section, change the Enabled setting to Disabled.
  • How do I put an item on sale?
    • Create a sales batch and add the item, or simply add it to an existing batch. If it needs to go on sale immediately, use the Force Batch option. See Sales Batches for more details.
  • How do I take an item off sale?
    • First look up the item on the price change page. Examine the green Sale Price row to find out which batch the item is in. Then go to that batch and delete the item. You may need to return to the price change page and re-submit the item to make the change immediate.
  • What does "Batch: Unknown" mean?
    • Unknown means the item is on sale but doesn't match any current batch - i.e., there is no batch with applicable dates containing the item. The most common cause would be forcing a batch that shouldn't apply to the current day. Editing batch dates could also cause some same-day issues.
  • Why does an item show a message about not being for sale?
    • It's likely not marked InUse. It's a soft error that cashiers can bypass, but to remove the warning look up the item on the price change page, check InUse checkbox, then click Update Item.
  • Why is the lane saying "place item on scale"?
    • The item is marked as sold by weight. Look up the item on the price change page, then uncheck the Scale box and Update Item.
  • Why isn't the lane weighing an item?
    • The item is not marked as sold by weight. Look up the item on the price change page, then check the Scale box and Update Item.
  • How do I enter variable-weight, pre-stickered items such as from a Hobart deli scale?
    • First, set your scale to use UPC prefix "2" and include the price in the UPC rather than the weight. This is generally the default anyway. Now, examining a sticker UPC, the first digit should be 2. The next five digits are the item number, and the five digits after that are the price. Last is the check digit (note: if you're not omitting check digits, this feature probably doesn't work). Go to the price change page. Enter the first six digits of the the sticker UPC followed by five zeroes. For example, an item with sticker UPC 21234500199 (plus check digit) should be entered as 21234500000. Entering a price is largely optional, but otherwise the settings work like any other item.
  • How do I put a variable-weight, pre-stickered item on sale?
    • If the item is stickered by count rather than by weight, just enter it into a sales batch normally, with the UPC adjusted as listed in the above question.
    • If the item is stickered by weight, you need to make a couple adjustments. Look up the item on the price change page. Make sure the price field is set to the item's regular, non-sale price. This is used at check-out time to calculate how much the item weighs which affects sale price. Also make sure the Scale box is checked. With these two settings correct, click Update Item, then go add the appropriate UPC and sale price-per-weight in a sales batch.
  • How do I ensure an item is not discounted?
    • If you use transaction-level discounts, like 5% off an entire transaction, some items may need to be included such as loss-leaders, gift cards, or equity. To exclude an item from this type of discount, look it up on the price change page and check the NoDisc box. Then Update Item.
  • How do I require the cashier to enter a quantity for an item?
    • This feature is typically used with product PLUs that aren't weighed. Look up the item on the price change page, then check the QtyFrc box. Click Update Item.
  • How do I pull price updates from a spreadsheet my vendor sent?
    • That needs a longer answer.
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