Updated: October 23, 2020 12:29pm

Chapter 14. Departments

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  If the "Allow" option is selected, group members can access the Departments area.
Departments - Create/Copy If the "Allow" option is selected, group members can create (using New Department button) and/or copy departments
Departments - Edit If the "Allow" option is selected, group members can edit departments.


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
Image (future release) Click the link to upload an image file for the department. This can help users identify the type of merchandise that a department contains.
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 - View Details/View Department List
When in non-edit mode, you can view a list of all Departments by clicking the Department List button. The Department List button is a toggle with the Department Detail button. When viewing the list, you can select a department and then click Department Details to view details for that department. Note: When a user clicks the Department List 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 Search - Specific Search by DCS Code
When searching by DCS Code (default), keep in mind that if the Specific Search checkbox is selected, you must enter the full nine character DCS Code, including spaces. If you omit blank spaces, the search will fail. Instead, you must include the two spaces after the Department and Class (you can omit the two spaces after the Subclass). 

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.

Decimal Quantities
This setting enables you to set the number of decimal places that will be available for items assigned to the department. Select the desired number of decimals from zero to three.  

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.

Department Tag Designs
You can assign a default tag design to departments. This is useful when a department requires tags that are different from other departments' price tags. An example is jewelry tags, which are typically smaller than tags for apparel. The tag designs that are available for selection are those defined in Prism Preferences & Settings > Printing > Print Preferences.

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 from RP Prism to RIL, make sure the Departments resource is selected in the profile.