Whether you're in the food, cosmetic, medical, or any other industry dealing with products that can expire, you need to utilize lot and serial number tracking. Doing this will prevent any materials from going bad or producing products that may be contaminated. Many industries also have government regulations requiring them to track materials to prevent this from happening. While this may seem difficult or tedious, it can be made easy with an automated inventory management system like Order Time.
What is the difference between a lot and a serial number?
Often called LSN, these numbers or codes uniquely identify inventory units within one item. Though serial and lot numbers may be used interchangeably, serial numbers are usually unitary while lot numbers are not.
A serial number is an identification number assigned to a distinct unit of a product from a single manufacturer, which may be found on the packaging or on the unit itself. Once you begin tracking an item, a serial number is generated that may be adjusted and tracked. Tracking the serial number of each component eliminates the risk of mishaps and misassembly of devices.
A lot number is an identification number assigned to a particular quantity, batch or lot of a product from a single manufacturer. Lot numbers can typically be found on the outside of packaging. Manufacturers typically use barcode scanning and label printing to keep every shipment concise. This definitely helps with receiving purchased parts as well.
Advantages of Lot and Serial Number Tracking
One of the biggest advantages of these numbers is its ability to be tracked at any point in time. How does this help? Because you can keep a record of expiration dates, we can run a report showing which items are close to expiring and backtrack where in production or distribution they are.
Backtracking allows you to monitor where an item is at any time in case of contamination, inquiry, or any other customer requests. This is extremely important to prevent total recall, in which you would need to recall every single product in case of an untraceable contamination. However, with backtracking, only a partial recall would be needed as you can identify which products have been affected rather than the entire batch.
It’s also important to note that each lot and serial number is not just a number, but each has additional context. Each identifier can have a description, expiration date, or up to 30 other custom fields. You can even add attachments to each such as a certificate of compliance, which can be extremely helpful.
With this tracking you can also perform actual costing to determine if an item is still under warranty. If you already have a warranty set in place, you can monitor it on a profile list, and track the number of days from when it was shipped. This will help when ruling out any expired warranties and creating new types.
How can Order Time help?
Thankfully, Order Time is equipped with countless features to help streamline your business by helping you track all lot and serial numbers. Whether you already created an item and now want to add a serial number or are looking to create a ledger report, our closed based inventory platform has you covered.
By integrating with all your accounting, eCommerce, and shipping needs, you will have instant access to serial and lot number tracking with the click of a button. You can track serial and lot numbers on all items that have been purchased, received, used in production, and shipped to customers. So, no matter which component of the finished product you are looking for, you can find it.
You can even assignment serial numbers on items on work orders and shipments to customers. With Order Time, you will have visibility on each item from warehouse to customer. For example, if you are searching for all transactions involving a particular serial number, the Order Time item page will give you all the detail you need. Functions like these allow you to track the transaction and location history of any item or material attached to a serial number.
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