Updated: June 21, 2022 9:49am


Prism supports two primary types of item identifiers: UPC and ALU.

Universal Product Code (UPC)
UPCs (or EAN, or GTIN) are the primary means of identifying items throughout the item's life cycle in many retail environments (including Prism and Retail Pro Integration Layer).  Retailers/Manufacturers purchase UPCs, which are 13-18 digits in length, in blocks. The retailers/manufacturers then assign these UPCs as needed to inventory items.
Local UPC and Global UPC
RIL includes two UPC fields: Local UPC (subsidiary-specific) and Global UPC (company-wide).
Two UPC fields are necessary because of the special relationship between UPCs and Item SIDs. Item SID is the unique System ID field used to track items in RIL. The preferred configuration in RIL is to generate an item's SID from its UPC; however, this creates a tie between the two numbers such that neither can be edited, thus preventing the reuse of UPCs. Retailers who need to reuse UPCs can use Local UPCs (INVN_SBS.LOCAL_UPC), which are local to each subsidiary and can be reused, if necessary. Retailers can still generate Item SIDs from UPCs; however, the SID is generated from the Global UPC (INVENTORY.GLOBAL_UPC) field, which is used to link items across subsidiaries.
When looking up item information or listing items on documents, RIL will look at the Local UPC field rather than the Global UPC.  In Prism, Local UPC is used exclusively.

A user-defined field that can be used to look up items. This field can contain text descriptions, catalog numbers, etc. Typically, each ALU is unique; however, you can configure your system to allow duplicate ALUs in System Preferences > Local Preferences > Merchandise > General.  Select the Allow duplicate ALUs check box to enable this feature. If this preference is not selected, the system does not allow duplicates

Item Lookup by UPC/ALU
The Item Lookup By preference controls what information can be typed or scanned to list an item on a transaction or document. By default UPC is the only field used for item lookups, because this is the field used by most retailers to identify items. However, if your business uses Alternate Lookups or Serial Numbers you can add those fields (or other fields) to the list of fields used for item lookups.
In the Prism Admin Console, navigate to the Preferences & Settings > Transactions > General area to define the fields to use when looking up items. By default, UPC is the only field selected. UPC in Prism corresponds to the Local UPC field in RIL. You can add or remove fields as needed (at least one lookup field is required in the Selected column).

Search Alternate Vendor UPC/ALU
Retail Pro 9 enables retailers to assign one or more "alternate vendors" to items. Each alternate vendor has its own UPC or ALU for the item. If the Search Alternate Vendor UPC/ALU checkbox is selected, then RP Prism will include UPCs or ALUs assigned by alternate vendors in the search.

Item Lookup Notes

  • Scanned Items: Scan the item's UPC barcode to immediately list the item on a transaction.
  • Wildcards: You can use wildcards when looking up items. You can place the wildcard at the front, middle, or end of the search string. Keep in mind that using a wildcard will slow down search times.
  • Active Items Only: Only active items can be entered on documents.
  • Serial Number Items: Serial Number items require entry of the full number.
  • Leading Zeroes for UPCs: If the UPC includes leading zeroes, you can type the UPC without the leading zeroes. RP Prism will automatically add leading zeroes.
  • Entering Special Characters: You can enter special characters (e.g. hyphen, or quotation marks) when looking up items.
  • Local UPC, not Global UPC: RIL supports the use of two UPC fields, Local UPC and Global UPC (to enable UPC reuse); however, Prism only has a single UPC field (corresponding to RIL Local UPC field). Be sure to enter the Local UPC when looking up items in Prism.

Sequencing for UPC and ALU
You can set ALU and UPC sequences at the subsidiary, store or workstation level. Configuring sequence numbers is a two-step process:

  1. In Preferences & Settings > Sequencing, select the desired sequencing level for ALU and/or UPC: Subsidiary, Store or Workstation.
  2. Next, define the starting number for the sequence in the appropriate subsidiary, store, or workstation records as needed.

Enable Duplicate ALU, UPC
There are other preferences related to UPCs and ALUs that you need to be aware of. You need to be especially careful about what level these preferences are set.

Preference Description
Allow Duplicate ALU If selected, multiple items can have the same ALU value.
Enable ALU Sequencing  If selected, the sequencing instructions defined for ALUs will be applied to new items.
Allow Duplicate UPC  If selected, multiple items can have the same UPC value.
Enable UPC Sequencing If selected, the sequencing instructions defined for UPCs will be applied to new items.

Store and Workstation Level Sequence Ranges
If there is a mismatch between the sequencing level and the level at which the "Allow Duplicate UPC/ALU" prefs are set, you must be careful to set aside sequence ranges for each store (or workstation). If the range is too small, then there is a high probability that duplicate ALU/UPC errors will occur at some point.
Here are a couple of examples to see how different sequence ranges can be assigned. When defining your own sequence ranges, adjust as needed to reflect the true volume of business at your store(s):
1) Store level context, user needs to distribute the ALU and UPC sequence into predefined multiple slots based on the store count. Let's say we have 5 stores and want to use a separate UPC sequence for each store so the expected configuration could be:

Store # Starting Sequence# Sequence Range
Str-000 1  1 to 10000
Str-001 10001 10001 to 20000
Str-002 20001 20001 to 30000
Str-003 30001 30001 to 40000
Str-004 40001  40001 to 50000

2) Workstation level context, user needs to distribute the ALU and UPC sequence into predefined multiple slots based on the store and workstation counts. Let's say we have 3 stores and 3 workstation at each store and want to use a separate UPC sequence for each workstation. In such a case, the expected configuration could be:

Workstation # Store # Starting Seq # Sequence Range
Wks-001 Str-000 1 1 to 10000
Wks-002 Str-000 10001 10001 to 20000
Wks-003 Str-000 20001 20001 to 30000
Wks-004 Str-001 30001 30001 to 40000
Wks-005 Str-001 40001  40001 to 50000
Wks-006 Str-001 50001 50001 to 60000
Wks-007 Str-002 60001 60001 to 70000
Wks-008 Str-002 70001 70001 to 80000
Wks-009 Str-002 80001 80001 to 90000

Use Next Available Sequence if Store exceeds its Range
If a store or workstation exceeds its max range, then it must crete a new slot. For example, in 2) if Wks-003 exceeds the max range, then the next sequence to be used is 90001. The user must be careful of this type of situation when using the Store/Workstation context levels.

Preferences & Settings > Merchandise > Inventory > General
UPC's and ALU's may be sequenced at Subsidiary, Store or WS nodes.  Care must be exercised regarding use of these sequences and the allow duplicate especially when changing one setting 'allow duplicates' at one node level and not at another level.