It has come to my attention from looking at several ALCHEMIST users’ data that the Product Groups are being used incorrectly in a number of cases.

The Product Groups are to be found in [Stock][Maintenance][Groups]
Within ALCHEMIST certain groups are standard and perform special functions.

The Standard Groups within ALCHEMIST are:
CONT – Containers
RMAT – Raw Materials
PROD – Manufactured

It is recommended that only ONE other Group be created, as follows:
ITEM – Items
Items are stock items that are bought in (buy-ins)  for re-sale or items that do not comply with the specifications for the other Groups.

You will notice that, under [Stock][Maintenance] the groups are represented by the menu choices. i.e. you may select [Items], Products], Raw Materials] or [Containers]
In ALCHEMIST the different Groups are distinguished from one another in order to serve special functions within the programme.

  • If you select [Containers] and click on the <Alchemist> Tag, you will see that a container has a volume
    or mass that may be associated with it. This represents the quantity of a formulation or recipe that this container would normally hold.
  • If you select [Raw Material] and click on the <Alchemist> Tag, you will see that it has a Specific Gravity that may be allocated to it, and it may also be a Premix with an associated formula or recipe.
  • If you select [Products] and click on the <Alchemist> Tag, you will see that these should have a Formulation and a Container associated with them.
  • If you select [Items] you will see that there is no <Alchemist> Tag.

The bulleted paragraphs above, therefore, represent the parameters that are required for distinguishing the different Groups.

Expressed another way:
A RAWMATerial is a stock item that has a specific gravity and may have a formula if it is a pre-mix.
A CONTainer is a stock item that holds a certain volume or weight of a formula.
A PRODuct is a stock item that has a formulation or recipe and has a container that holds a certain quantity of the formulation.
(Although a KIT, made up of other PRODucts is included in the Group PROD, even though it has no formula or container.)
An ITEM is any other stock item that does not satisfy any of the parameters above.

When you enter a new item into stock under any of the menu selections in [Stock][Maintenance], the correct Group will be automatically inserted, except in the case of an Item, where no group is inserted.

From the above it may be seen that Groups are more than devices to be used for reporting purposes. They serve a specific function within the ALCHEMIST system and should not be tampered with.

Bill of Materials

ALCHEMIST allows for a Bill of Materials (BOM List) within ITEMS or PRODUCTS.
A Bill of Materials is a list of one or more other items that are contained within the Product in question.
For example a manufactured product may have a label, a cap, and a box that go into the make-up of the Product.
An ordinary Item may consist of a number of units of other purchased stock items – for example, you could put together a “Cleaner’s Special” comprising a broom, two dusters, a mop and a bucket. None of the items would need to be manufactured in your factory, but merely assembled together.

The BOM list may be made up of any other type of stock item (i.e. A RAW MATERIAL, a CONTAINER or a manufactured Product.


Within ALCHEMIST we make provision for a special type of stock item, namely a Kit.
A Kit is an item that has a special Bill of Materials list that is made up of other manufactured Product items as well as optional buy-in items.
A kit’s construction may be seen by selecting an Item and going to the <Bill of Materials> Tag.
You may select whether to draw the separate components out of stock at the time of invoicing, or whether to make up kits for stock.

The reason we distinguish between a product that has an ordinary Bill of Materials and a Kit is that a new facility in ALCHEMIST allows Kits to be scheduled for production directly.
The old system required you to schedule the manufactured Products needed to make up a kit individually.
Kits are the only exception to the rule that a product without a formulation (recipe) or a container should not be in the PROD group. They are in the PROD Group in order that they may be scheduled for production.

What is the Bottom Line?

 The above means that you should look through your Stock files and make sure that none of the following conditions exist:

You should not have stock items that are in the PROD group but have no formulations. (Unless it they are Kits)

You should not have stock items that have a group of PROD but have no container.

You should not have any stock items that have containers, but no Formula

A Stock item that does not have a volume or mass associated with it is not a container – it is an Item and therefore should not be in the CONT Group.

In the past we have been lax in forcing these issues, but because of constant problems we have decided to force what has always been the proper way of setting up ALCHEMIST.

From now on, if the programme detects something in the PROD group that has a container in the record, but no formulation, it will remove the container and only cost the BOM items

If the programme detects something in the PROD group that has a formulation but no container  it will similarly remove the formulation and cost only on BOM items.

If you want to restrict look-ups or obtain reports on certain groups of products, you should use Categories, not Groups.