Lots of Parent/Child Relationships

Hi there,

I'd really appreciate any insight you guys might have. I began setting up some parent child relationships and felt as though I nearly instantly hit a wall.

We're using Smartsheet for inventory management. Let's pretend we manufacture cars and I'm purchasing every individual item needed to assemble the car. Please forgive me as I'm not a car expert but I'll try to make this work :)

The first parents that I'd like would be for the parts that go into making the: Engine, Transmission, Frame, Car Exterior, and Car Interior

The next parent level contain items within those parents. For example the Car Interior section might have seats, dashboard items, radio components, flooring components, ceiling components, or things like that.

The next parent level would have the vendors that I need to purchase these items from.

The next parent level would be the Purchase Orders that I submit to each vendor for the individual items.

This is just already super messy in my head. There are tens of dozens of Vendors. I think I'd need to have a parent line for each individual one. That's not convenient and I think it'll look messy.

I know I can just use columns then filters for these things, and I already do. But we need to implement some parent child relationships for viewing purposes and for purposes such as attaching files and comments to a PO as opposed to each of the 30 rows that each PO encompasses.

I've posted before that I think that Smartsheets is just in general ill suited for inventory management on this scale and here's just one more roadblock that seems to reinforce those feelings. Is there more information I can provide to help you guys prove me wrong? I want to be wrong and want to just make this work.

Thank you in advance! Any insight is much appreciated.


  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I personally would use multiple sheets. One for parts. One for POs. One for vendors. The data being linked from one sheet to another depends on your actual processes though such as having a list of vendors and a cross sheet formula that pulls in all of the parts that vendor is listed for on the parts sheet vs a cross sheet formula that pulls all of the possible vendors for each part if there can be multiple. Cross sheet references on the Vendor sheet to sum up all of the POs for that particular vendor. Maybe another sheet (or the PO sheet with additional columns) to track invoices submitted against those POs so you can track what has been invoiced vs what is still outstanding.

    Really there are a ton of possible solutions. You just might have to get a little creative with the layout instead of trying to cram everything onto a single sheet with thousands of rows and a bunch of layers.

  • AnnieR
    AnnieR ✭✭

    Hi Paul!

    Thank you for your comment! It's just that I already have about 15 ongoing projects right now. That's already 15 sheets. Splitting them out into more sheets would get overwhelming quickly. Reports pulling these spreadsheets back together haven't been working well. I'll see if I can try some of those options though and appreciate your input.

    I'm not sure if this is getting creative or just coming up with a bunch of workarounds for a software that isn't right for our purposes.

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I have used SS for a number of solutions very similar to the type of data you are entering/tracking.

    I agree that splitting it out AFTER project start and then having to do the same for multiple projects already in progress can be a bit of work. An overhaul of an existing solution is always a challenge, but future projects could be very easy to start (obviously there are variables though) by putting all of the sheets needed for a project into the same folder and then saving the folder as new.

  • AnnieR
    AnnieR ✭✭

    @Paul Newcome Thanks again :) .. That makes me feel better for sure.

    I ended up solving this particular issue by just making a report and grouping in the way that I mentioned above.