Productivity Tip 19 – Batch Control and Serial Number Tracking

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To provide an acceptable level of Customer Service you must ensure that Products and/or Services meet or exceed its design specifications and be free of defects or other problems that affect its appearance or degrade its performance.   Not only do you need to know that this level has been achieved but you also need to be able to prove it with a clear audit trail.

This means that you need to know everything about a product - from what materials went into it through to which Customers received it - and everything in between.  Not only do you need to know the geniality of your products, but you also need to identify all of the raw materials and components that go into them.  This requires keeping very detailed attributes against an unprecedented number of SKUs, Components, and Ingredients.  By recording and tracking this information you can have immediate visibility of these attributes as the Item passes through the Supply Chain.  Additionally, it provides the ability to quickly react to product recalls should a fault subsequently be found.

The attributes normally used to achieve this are Batch (or Lot) Control and/or Serial Number Control.

  • Batch (or Lot) Control is a unique identifier given to a specific batch of an item that is received and stored in your organisation. The Items within a Batch have all been manufactured to the same standards and contain attributes that are unique to that Batch.  For example:- Conformance criteria, QA test results, Expiry Date, Revision Level, etc.
  • Serial Number Control is where you assign a unique identifier to each individual unit of an item.  This unique identifier facilitates validity of Warranty Claims, helps as a deterrent against theft, etc. For example electronics goods.
In some instances an Item Code can have both a Batch Number and a Serial Number.

Traditional Inventory systems simply recorded a unique Batch Number for Inventory Control purposes only and did not provide for detailed throughput tracking from raw material Suppliers to end user Customers - a feature essential in today's marketplace.

Ostendo not only provides a facility to maintain Batch Numbers and Serial Numbers but also provides segregation by:

  • Batch/Lot Control: All stock movements for this Item must be accompanied with a Batch/Lot Number.  Batch Numbers are user-defined and can (optionally) be pre-defined plus, if required, restricted to those defined in the relevant list.
  • Serial Controlled: All stock movements for each Item must be accompanied with a unique Serial Number.   A serial Numbered Item can also be batch controlled at the same time.
  • Revision Control: All Inventory records for the Item are segregated by their Revision level.  A complete Revision History showing revision Level, Description, Effective Date, and extended Notes is also maintained.
  • Grade, Colour, Size: All stock movements for this Item must have a Grade, Colour, and/or Size.   These can be user-defined and can (optionally) be pre-defined plus, if required, restricted to those defined in the relevant list.
  • Expiry Date: This can reflect the date when the Item’s Shelf Life, Sell by Date, etc, is to expire.   All stock receipts for this Item must indicate the Expiry Date.  These dates are then visible against all stock for this Item.

Individual or multiple combinations of the above can exist against any Item Code.

Additionally Ostendo provides details of what Batches/Serial Numbers have been received from Purchase Suppliers, which specific identifier was issued to In-House Assembly or Process Orders, and which Finished Goods identifier was sold to which Customer(s).  All this information is instantly available for inquiry by report or on-line enquiry where it can be analysed to provide the information that you require.

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