The main concept in PartBolt is the part, which uniquely identifies an electronic component. For example: a blank PCB, a 555 timer in a DIP package, and a 555 timer in a TSSOP package would all be considered separate parts. Each part has a manufacturer and package, and you can link a part to Octopart, which will allow you to access datasheets and other documentation directly from PartBolt.

Once you’ve added a part, you can add one or more lots of stock. Each lot has an associated location, and tracks a certain group of parts. You may have multiple lots of the same part in the same location. We recommend using lots to track parts based on how they were ordered. For example, if you buy the same part from two different suppliers, you would create two lots for that part, one for each supplier. You should also create a new lot for each individual order from the same supplier. That way, you can trace a lot of parts directly to when and where they were ordered.

This distinction between parts and their lots is known as lot control. While it might seem confusing and unnecessary at first, it allows you to track precisely where your parts come from. If you ever receive a counterfeit or damaged set of parts, you’ll be able to trace where those parts came from and where they were used.