Updated: July 5, 2023 10:38am

Chapter 14. Departments

Prism 1.14.7 User's Guide Chapter 14. Departments PDF

Prism 2.2 User's Guide Chapter 14. Departments PDF

Departments are a fundamental concept in Prism. Departments enable retailers to group items logically (e.g. "Men's Pants"), or by physical location (e.g. "Register Area"). When adding new items to inventory, you must enter the item's DCS Code. The DCS Code is a unique, user-defined abbreviation for the department. Prism uses the DCS Code to track merchandise for each department as it is ordered, received, transferred, and sold.
The DCS Code is comprised of three parts. Each part of the DCS Code can contain one to three alphanumeric characters, making the full DCS Code a maximum of nine characters in length. However, many users find that a three-character code is adequate, with one character identifying each part

  • Department: The first tier of the full DCS Code typically designates a major merchandise area. For example, in a shoe store, there might be one department for men's shoes and another for women's shoes.
  • Class: The second tier identifies the Class. A Class represents a broad category within a department. In a shoe store, there might be Class for athletic shoes within the men's shoes department.
  • Subclass: The third tier, the Subclass, allows you to break down the Class into more detailed groups. In a shoe store, there might be a Subclass for running shoes within the athletic shoes Class.

Department Permissions
You can control employee access to the Department features by assigning the following permissions to User Groups as needed:

Permission Description
Departments - Access Allow group members to access the Departments area.
Departments - Change Subsidiary If the "Allow" option is selected, group members can select a different Subsidiary on the Search screen for departments. This enables users to search for departments in a different Subsidiary, or create a new department in a different Subsidiary. If the "Deny" option is selected, users are restricted to their own subsidiary when searching for departments and creating new departments.
Departments - Create/Copy Allow group members to add a new department using either the New button, or the Copy button.
Departments - Edit Allow group members to edit departments.
Departments - Edit Regional Flag Allow group members to edit the Regional Department flag on Department records. If the Regional Department flag is selected, the Department is part of regional inventory and under the control of the master Subsidiary.

New Department

  1. Select Store Operations from the Prism menu.    
  2. Tap or click the Merchandise button.     
  3. Click the Departments button.     
  4. Click the New Button.    
  5. Enter information in the available fields and click Save.    

Sample Department record:

Department record

Department Fields

Field Description
Department The first tier of the DCS Code, typically used for the broadest classification. 1 to 3 characters
Department Name An optional descriptive name for the Department. (maximum 20 characters)
Department Long Name  A longer version of the Department Name. (maximum 60 characters)
Class  The second tier in the full DCS Code, typically used to assign merchandise within each department to a narrower category or class.
Class Name (maximum 20 characters) An optional descriptive name for the Class. (maximum 20 characters)
Class Long Name (maximum 60 characters) An optional longer version of the department Class Name.
Subclass The third tier of the DCS Code, typically used for more precise classifications. 1 to 3 characters
Subclass Name An optional descriptive name for the third tier of the DCS Code. (maximum 20 characters)
Subclass Long Name A longer version of the Subclass Name. (maximum 60 characters)
Full DCS Code (read-only) The concatenation of the Department, Class and Subclass.
Full DCS Name (read-only) The concatenation of the Department Name, Class Name and Subclass Name.

Additional Department Information
The Additional Information panel displays fields that enable you to do things like assign an image, tax code, margin %, or tag design to departments. Refer to the following table for information about the fields in the Additional Information panel.

Field Description
Allocation Pattern Default allocation pattern optionally used to allocate the quantities ordered on Purchase Orders to various stores.
Use Decimal Qty Select the number of decimals to use for item quantities.
Margin % If a Margin % is entered, the Margin percentage is automatically applied to new items assigned to the department.
Markup % If a Markup % is entered, the Markup percentage is automatically applied to new items assigned to the department.
Coefficient  If a Coefficient is entered, the Coefficient is automatically applied to new items assigned to the department.
Tag Design This is especially useful for departments such as a jewelry department that uses tags of a special size or design.

Department Lookup

  1. Select Store Operations > Merchandise from the Prism menu.     
  2. Click the Departments button.     
  3. Click Search Parameters.     
  4. Select a Subsidiary. By default, only Active Departments are searched. Click Inactive or All button to change. Select a search field in the Search By field. The "Specific Search" checkbox will include only records with a field value that exactly matches the filter criteria.    
  5. Tap or click the Search button.     
  6. Select the check mark for the department you want to view.    
  7. Click the Department Detail button to view the full record.    
  8. Click the Department List button to return to the list of Departments.    

Sample Department Lookup:

Department lookup

Toggle Button - Details/List View
When in non-edit mode, you can view a list of all Departments by clicking the List View button. The List View button is a toggle with the Details button. When viewing the list, you can select a department and then click Details to view details for that department. Note: When a user clicks the List View button, any Search criteria that are entered will be applied, so if you want to view the full Department List, you will have to clear the Search criteria and click the Search button to redo the Search, this time with no parameters.

Department Margin
You can define a default margin for a department. Margin is the difference between Price and Cost, and can be expressed in three ways:

  • Margin %: The profit gained from an item when it is sold, expressed as a percentage of the price
  • Markup %: The profit for the item expressed as a percentage of the cost
  • Coefficient: This number is equal to the price of an inventory item divided by the cost of the item. It can be used to calculate price if it is multiplied by cost. Coefficients are typically used by retailers in VAT countries

A change made to price, cost, or margin always causes a compensatory change to one of the other values. If you edit cost or price, the Margin %, MarkUp %, and Coefficient will change.  If you edit the Margin %, MarkUp %, or Coefficient, the Price or Cost will change. The Department Margin % will be automatically applied on items assigned to the department.

Use Qty Decimals
This setting enables you to set the number of decimal places that will be available for items assigned to the department. This can be used when selling bulk items by weight, for example. New items assigned to a department inherit the department's "Use Quantity Decimals" setting. Changing the "Use Qty Decimals" setting on a department record has no effect on existing items (applies to newly created items only).

Tax Code
You can assign a default Tax Code to the department. When a department with an assigned Tax Code is assigned to a new item or style, the department's Tax Code is assigned to the item/style. This is useful for designating departments that contain only tax-exempt or taxable goods, for example.

Copy a Department
A fast, easy way to create a new department is to copy an existing department that offers the closest match.

  1. Display the department record that you want to copy.    
  2. Click the Copy button. All information for the department is copied except the Department, Class and Subclass fields.    
  3. Edit the Department, Class and Subclass fields as needed.    
  4. Save the changes.    

Deactivate/Activate a Department
Only active departments can be assigned to items/styles. The Deactivate/Activate button is a toggle.

  1. Display the desired department record.    
  2. Click the Deactivate/Activate button.     
  3. The record's active status is changed and the button text is toggled.    

Replication of Departments
To replicate new or updated department records between Prism servers, make sure the "departments" resource is selected in the profile.