I was standing in line at the checkout while the cashier was frantically trying to scan a couple of steaks. He gave up and tapped in a long product code, still with no luck. Then he picked up a phone and called someone and had a long and agitated conversation while irate customers were piling up behind me. Finally, he managed to enter a code that was accepted by the system. My steaks showed up on my receipt as “Misc. meat”.
Why would you let your system get in the way of your work like that?
The business benefit from registering my steaks on the exact right code will is minuscule – after all, supermarkets are proudly talking about the mountains of “big data” they are gathering. On the other hand, the business disadvantage of annoyed customers is real.
Do your systems get in the way of your end users? Field studies are the only way to find out. If they are, provide something like the “999999 Misc.” code that well-run supermarkets use. Don’t let your organization grind to a halt when reality doesn’t match the system.