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Lot tracking

In the simplest terms, a lot tracking system records information related to specific product lots or batches. The lot or batch number can be assigned to one or many units that are produced or purchased on the same or various dates and that, possibly, have a production and/or expiry date. The system contains as much information as necessary depending on its complexity.

Many types of businesses need to keep track of stock items or assets with respect to their specific lot or batch from their manufacturer. In restaurant and food manufacturing businesses, food products obviously have expiry dates associated with their lot or batch. Pharmaceutical companies have analogous tracking requirements for their drugs. Rental businesses and service companies use asset tracking software for equipment management. Other types of business keep track of their stock's lot information for other purposes.

Some businesses have specific requirements for identification based on government requirements such as the FDA or ATF in the United States. Though the type and format of information varies widely, the ability to keep track of stock by lot throughout the inventory management processes is an mandated requirement in many businesses.

The unifying concept behind the various lot tracking requirements is per-stock-item information. The properties of a product that are the same for all items of that product can be properties of the product definition itself. For example, the weight, or the category, or the description of a product may all be constant. The properties that might be different for stock items of the same product (products having the same product ID but different expiry dates, for example) are lot information.

Here are some examples of possible lot information:

  • Manufacturing date and shift
  • Batch identification
  • Expiry date
  • Serial number
  • manufacture location
  • Government issued certificate number

Inventory control systems that support lot information must allow the user to select items by their specific lot in stock operations like sales shipments and transfers, yet must also present information and allow the user to select items by product while ignoring lot.

Quickbooks inventory tracking

Simple stock control systems like Quickbooks Pro do not have the ability to keep track of lot information, which is one of the common reasons that companies upgrade to a purpose built inventory management system or ERP system. If you want to use a simple stock control system without lot support but you need lot tracking, a common workaround is to define a new product definition for each lot. If your product IDs have common prefixes for same product in different lots, a good user interface will let you select among them. This workaround may introduce complexity in making readable reports, and obviously doesn't work well for items with serial numbers or many lots, but it can work for situations in which lots are a minor part of the overall management task.

Examples from Finale Inventory

Here are videos of using Finale Inventory to keep track of stock items and assets with specific lots.

Stock items with lots/batches

Asset management with lots

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"Keeping track of inventory across multiple e-commerce channels can be just as taxing as streamlining fulfillment for online retailers. By partnering with Finale Inventory, we can help alleviate these pain points for our customers.”
Robert Gilbreath, VP Marketing, ShipStation ss


I would highly recommend Finale Inventory to any multi-channel retailer who wants to move beyond Excel spreadsheets to an easy, intuitive software solution to manage their inventory.

We've tried ERP systems at ten times the cost. Finale is the only cloud stock control system that had the depth of functionality to be used as order management software and warehouse management software while still being intuitive.

I would definitely recommend the product to everyone. Its simplicity yet scalability and speed is exactly what every inventory manager or COO must have.
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