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What does your "Order Number" look like?
[edited by: Habtom at 8:00 am (utc) on Jan. 21, 2009]
With an operation their size, no amount of 'human friendly' stuff would really make a lot of difference; their human beings tend to use bar code translators - my Amazon parcels always have at least three different bar codes!
We also have a second set of order numbers (we're a wholesaler/distributor with a web outlet). Sales orders start with an 'S' as in S123456 and are followed by a generation/invoice number i.e. S123456.001. Purchase order numbers follow the same style and rotate in sequentially, but start with a P i.e. P123457.001.
We recently kept track of confirmation numbers we get from our merchandise suppliers. They all seem to be purely sequence numbers with nothing else included for info or obfuscation.
Where XX -- is order number version used (always `01´), just in case we want to use different order number structure
CCC -- Currency code (helps to distinguish orders from different countries)
YYYY-YYY -- some random numbers
Z -- validation number (checksum) that is generated from all the numbers from the order number.
P.S. Yes, I love to program complex things :-)