Item granularity in a engineer-to-order scenario


Tsuri builds hand made paper lamps using origami and other folding techniques.

There are several different materials, shapes, sizes and colors. And most of them are unique. Particularly the shape, we keep coming up with new shapes.

We’ll probably settle on some more standardized models in a near future but the main focus will probably always be to custom build each lamp for a specific customer need.

I’m having a hard time understanding how much granularity should I have in the items.


  1. Create a Lamp template with many variants: shape, material, color, size, etc. While colors and materials are more or less stable, I’d probably have to keep coming up with unique names for all the different shapes (I also wonder if the size shouldn’t be numeric). Then, for each lamp we build, we’d create a Lamp variant with a unique description and its own BOM. The only reason I see for these to be variants would be to group them all together. What other advantages are there?

  2. Forget about templates and create a new item with a new specific description and a new BOM for each different Lamp created.

Any advices?


Hi nununo,

Did you find a solution for your question? Have you settled to Erp Next or found an alternative? I’m struggling with the same issue and i can’t find the right answers.


Hello @Eddie,

I did find a solution. And I did adopt ERPNext with success. I completely gave up on item variants, though. I decided to create one item for each particular configuration and it turned out quite ok. The item name describes it and we add additional information to the description if needed. For some cases, we prefix it with coded acronyms that, once you learn how to decode it, makes it very simple to understand its configuration.

I did experiment a lot with templates but, unfortunately, it didn’t suit my needs. I found that I’d need a specific BOM for each item anyway since a BOM for the template would be impossible. So I’d always need a BOM at the item level. In the end, having templates wouldn’t save me time.

So finally the trick was to carefully customize the default fields so that creating new items now became a very simple and straightforward thing. Oh, and the upgrade to this latest version introduced those pop ups which allow you to create new items without even leaving your current context and I also configured that in order to be able to use it.

I hope this helps.