Living in the proverbial "Rust Belt" of the United States, I have the opportunity to work with many manufacturing companies. These companies are very rich with unstructured data (files, drawings, spreadsheets, orders, bill of materials, etc.) and there is a key piece of information that is often contained in this data: The Part Number. While finding products by part number is relatively easy when stored in structured table formats like inventory databases, finding the supporting reference documentation through a part number lookup is not trivial. Let's look how DataGravity can make that easier.
I say tomato, You say tomato
The first task is to identify the right part number to look for, which can be complicated because every manufacturer typically utilizes a different nomenclature for identifying a part. For example, when referring to a "Hardware, screw, machine, 4-40, 3/4" long, panhead, Phillips" some manufacturers may articulate that product as follows:
Manufacturer A uses part number "4-40-3/4"-pan-phil",
Manufacturer B uses part number "100-440-0.750-3434-A".
Manufacturer C uses part number "TSR-1002".
Many companies will use their own part numbering system to help standardize, but can also certainly complicate things because many times the same product by be referenced by different part numbers. This makes finding parts quickly amongst a vast amount of product documentation near impossible. DataGravity's intelligence management eases this process by providing the ability to define and identify multiple part numbers by their various nomenclatures.
This can be readily done by leveraging the custom tags available in the system (not to mention all of the amazing other meta tags that ship standard with the system) and defining the part number(s) of interest.
The custom tags allow us to define what the Tag name will be, in this case 'Part Number' and then what items or patterns to look for to qualify as a tag. This way we can look for 4 different part numbers which all may refer to the same product without issue or complexity. We can even test our patterns when defining the tag to be sure it is going to pull back what we would expect.
Now that we have defined what we are looking for, let's specify that we should look for this information on our files shares or VMs. This is done by adding our the Part Number tag to the file share profile.
Once the tag has been created and applied to the shares and/or VMs of interest - we have full access to utilize that tag within the search functions of the system. This allows us to simply search by Part Number and find all of the supporting documentation and files of reference that contain that data - complete with a preview of the files themselves.
In the second half of this post, we will explore how we can use the power of this newly created tag to not only identify the data that holds these part numbers, but how this can assist us when part numbers need to be updated.