Creation of a custom Item like DocType

Hi, new to ERPNext and we are looking for some feedback on customization idea before we get too deep in the weeds.

We are a small custom window and door manufacturer. Every order is manufactured exactly to the customers specifications and as such we have no standard items and we will never build the same thing twice. We have product lines and systems but they are all fully customizable and flexible systems. As such I am having a little trouble squaring how we would fit into a typical Item Master concept. There are literally endless item combinations in size, function, finish, operation, assembly, glass type, sales price, custom hardware etc.

Conceptually I was thinking of creating a custom DocType (well call it LineItem) that we could use for quotations, sales orders, work orders etc. It would function extremely similar to an item, but our sales people would be able to quickly enter these Line Items from an architectural takeoff rather than looking it up against an item master etc. Right now we have a very functional price estimation tool built in excel, I could even see is dumping the cvs from an estimate and pasting it into a sales order. Eventually, if our implementation is successful, we would rewrite our price estimation tool as a custom app inside ERPNext.

Essentially I want to create saleable items on the fly, each with its own name, attributes and specifications, then make that be a dead record that will never be reused once it goes into production. It would need to be useable in most locations the existing Item DocType is available (quotation, sales order, work order). We would use the existing Item DocType as intended for parts, raw materials, BOM components etc. we would never sell anything that is in the item category directly.

Thoughts? Is there more info I can proved to get better feedback?

Thanks in advance!

You may have already seen this:

I think from the outset, you will need to create Items for each of the components one might find on the arcitectural takeoff that could be used to assemble the item. Then a BOM , Production Plan etc , even it the finished product is a one-off item,

I don’t think your requirements are much different than typical manufacturing.

Hi @fenestr8
How is a LineItem different from Item in Item master?
According to me, until you develop a custom app for Estimation, using the BOM module by duplicating BOMs every time might be easier. The only thing that changes with every order is the Metal sections required based on the length /height of the window and number of shutters. The hardware requirement might be easier to estimate based on parameters like number of shutters.
Using the BOM might make sense if you want to use ERPNext for manufacturing as well. If you are only planning to use ERP for Sales and Quotation, BOMs might not make sense.

Thanks, I have seen that link and it is helpful. I wasn’t clear about this but we plan on using the existing Item DocType for all our raw materials and hardware components etc that go into the BOM. In that sense we will still be using the typical approach once we are inside the actual manufacturing flow. Our finished products will have to have a bunch of custom fields we will need to add and it seems counterproductive to add all those fields to our raw materials if they will not use those fields.

The other aspect Is that all of our orders have shop drawings detailing the components and assembly. Initially until we get more ambitious I could see our BOM just being “Refer to shop drawing” item (the drawing itself being attached to the WO).

I guess lets simplify the question: let’s if it’s the why or how of making the custom doctype that was functionally similar to items. If we were to do it regardless, would we be able to use them instead of the existing Item DocType in things like quotations, sales orders, and work orders?

It might be difficult to link a custom doctype like LineItem (which will be similar to Item) to existing Sales Order/Quotation DocType since the system will not let you unlink the existing DocType Item and link the new Custom DocType. This is because the links are more than what the GUI can handle.