Lot Tracking Software
Lot tracking software gives the business owner a complete view of the route a batch or lot of products take as they move through the supply chain.
The purpose of Lot Tracking is to enable Traceability.
Traceability is the ability to trace back a lot (or batch) of goods to the original source of the materials or ingredients, and then to track forward to see where that lot has been shipped.
The benefit is that in the event of a recall you can quickly identify the source material/ingredient that is ‘of interest’, and then speedily recall only the shipped items containing that specific material or ingredient.
The recall is thus contained and the cost minimized.
Without good Lot Tracking and Traceability software and systems in place, in the event of a problem companies must recall ALL the items shipped between an often broad and approximate range of dates, whether or not they contain the faulty/contaminated material/ingredient. And as you can imagine, that can be extremely costly. (Search ‘product recalls’ on the internet to see just how costly!)
Traceability is increasingly vital in many sectors including Food, Pharmaceuticals, Aerospace and many more.
In some sectors, Tracking and Traceability is mandatory, i.e.,those governed by the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).
Whilst simple-to-use and effective, Tracking and Traceability software is available in solutions such as SOS Inventory, many smaller companies still rely on spreadsheets, which are fine until tested when they are found ineffectual.
Beyond Traceability is Block Chain, where the provenance of a product travels with the product along the supply chain. The Block Chain provenance is unbreakable and cannot be tampered with, so providing a clear and visible audit trail. As SOS software is ‘open’ in architecture, it can link to the leading Block Chain solutions that are available today.
The final twist to the Lot Tracking story is ‘serial number tracking’ which usually applies to capital plant and equipment. If a batch or lot of equipment comprises 10 finished items, each is allocated a unique serial number that is used to record what it comprises and where it was sent. Widely used for driving later service, spares and maintenance. SOS Inventory provides an elegant and simple solution for serial number tracking.
Lot Tracking in SOS Inventory
A lot batch number can be assigned and then tracked through automated reports with SOS Inventory. Lot numbers can also be generated through the inventory management software and correspond with the date a product was received and then tracked through ‘date produced’, ‘expiration date’ and ‘shipped date’.
Lot tracking provides much more than containing a problem; the detailed information it provides allows a company to identify trends, prevent dead stock accumulation and narrow down issues to specific products. Having all these functions at one’s fingertips will save the business money and increase ROI.
When you create a purchase order in SOS Inventory, that group of items can be assigned a lot number. Each location receiving a product from that same lot number will be tracked along its journey so you can pinpoint the location of any product with a lot batch at any time. You’ll always have a full view of your operations and a consistent result from any report you generate within the SOS Inventory system.
Lot codes on food or other perishable items facilitate the generation of reports indicating expiration dates. This is important for determining when product must be sold by or removed from the shelves, if past the expiration date. Shelf-life reports and first-in first-out reports indicate where a product is at any point in time, ensuring the business can control the flow of products and to guarantee the newest/freshest product is always on hand.
SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) differ from lot numbers in that SKUs hold data about characteristics of a product and are often retailer specific. Lot numbers can contain information about many SKU’s at any time. Lot reporting can tell the business which batch of components was used to make a product, indicating all the items used in the assembly process. An assembly can be set up within SOS Inventory and assigned all the individual components. As components are added to each assembly the individual component counts will decrease to reflect the number of each used to create that assembly.
Small to medium size companies may be able to manage without lot tracking for a period before it becomes a problem; larger companies can run into problems quickly without it. SOS Inventory makes it easy for SMEs to perform lot tracking and traceability.
To generate the most accurate report results, ‘best practice’ is to count inventory at the lot level and add the lot number as a scannable barcode number. When fulfilling orders, fulfill from lots as well. Doing so will ensure that the inventory is current according to product shelf-life.
Using barcodes not only saves time; it helps to eliminate human error. Keeping items with the same lot together will help ensure that employees fulfill orders with the same lot number. Organizing by lot results in products produced on the same date (or with the same expiration date) being grouped together.
Keeping items grouped by date will ensure that products sent to market are fresh and you don’t end up with expired items sitting in the warehouse.
By tracking lots, businesses can also keep tabs on expiration dates and will know how much they need to move by a certain date. That information will help them decide if they want to offer a sale and a deadline to move that product before it expires.
SOS Inventory can manage all operations, beginning with the creation of a lot number, tracking items within that lot, their movement, dates of production, expiration and arrival at various points throughout the supply chain.
SOS Inventory Lot Tracking can save you a fortune.