Compare Matrix Inventory’s two ways to enter data: which is right for you, and when?

Compass Matrix Inventory is a slick way to start with a single GP item number and assign it an entire array of sizes and colors—or lengths and widths, or in fact any two dimensions you need.  It has been used for shoe sizes, pipe diameters, feed types and many other alternatives along with the obvious clothing dimensions. Matrix Inventory shadow tables track the entire grid of variations associated with the single GP item. That is most likely why you acquired Matrix Inventory. But if you’re new to Matrix, perhaps you’ve gotten to the Matrix Inventory Setup where you need to make some choices.

First of all, be assured that you can change from Grid to Single Entry and back again any time you choose. That will give you a chance to experiment and see what setting is most efficient.  But even so, you’re sure to be wondering what the difference is between the Grid and Single Entry—and more importantly, how your choice will affect the efficiency and ease of use of your GP system down the road.  Here comes a comparison to help you choose the best fit.

What’s the Same?

The Grid and Single Entry are two different windows where you enter your Matrix Inventory variations. What the two windows have in common is that they both automatically open whenever a Matrix style item number is entered anywhere across the GP IV, POP, SOP and POS modules. That’s because whenever you’re using Matrix items, you’ll need to choose which of the variations—such as the sizes and colors—you’re ordering, selling, transferring, putting on layaway, and all like that.  Both windows also show the transaction source information at a glance for orientation’s sake.

What’s Different?

While the grid window displays the big picture of all available variations at once, the single-entry window visually zeroes in one single SKU. What this means during the actual data entry is that for single entry use, only one line is returned to the transaction window at a time.  The cashier enters the quantity on the GP line and continues the transaction. In contrast, when using the grid, the quantities are all entered within the grid, then multiple variations are returned to the calling window at once. 

Grid Entry

Below is an example of the grid window. As you can see, it displays the overview of all the item variations within the grid created for the base item, offering the ability to tab and scroll, quickly entering quantities. The grid type entry is an advantage any time there’s a need to enter multiple SKUs of the same base item. The grid allows quantity entry while displaying the transaction source information and even tallying up row and column totals as you go.  

The Matrix grid entry is typically the best choice where the quantities for a base item are likely to be entered in bulk, such as when entering a purchase order. When the purchasing agent saves the grid, every variation is returned to the original transaction at once. For instance, in the above example with a five-by-five grid, all twenty-five items will appear on the purchase order the moment after the Save button is clicked. The cursor will land on the next blank line in the purchase order transaction, ready for the entry of additional GP items.  

Single Entry

As slick and efficient as the Grid Entry is, there’s also a place for the Single Entry, or Select Style Variation as the window is officially titled. In fact, it is the only choice in windows that display only a single item, such as the Sales and Purchasing Item Detail windows. The single-entry window is often a fast choice at a cash register where a customer likely has only one of the same thing. The single-entry window still displays the transaction source information, while offering arrow buttons and lookup lists for selecting the dimensions.

So which should you choose?

Pick the entry window that fits your purpose best depending on how your company uses each area of GP or Compass. And that’s all there is to it—the long and short of the Grid versus Single Entry windows in Compass Technologies’ Matrix Inventory module.

For Best Practices and more on the Compass Technologies Matrix Inventory modules, please see