Modern inventory tracking technology allows businesses to monitor many types of information, including lot numbers. Lot numbers refer to groups of products to help you determine an item’s source. Lot ID tracking software like Finale Inventory enables you to manage lot numbers to increase your company’s efficiency. Learn more about lot numbers and how you can use software to organize them.
What Is Lot Tracking Software?
Lot tracking is an inventory management strategy where companies track their goods in batches. Manufacturers often use lot numbers to track goods by their manufacture or expiration date, allowing them to quickly pull products that become expired. If a machinery error or contamination may affect products manufactured on a specific date, having the lot number readily available makes it easy to find these goods.
While various industries use lot numbers, drug, food and beverage companies make the most use out of them. Businessesuse lot numbers for situations involving:
- Legal compliance: The government requires specific industries, such as food and pharmaceuticals, to track lot numbers.
- Certification eligibility: If your sector doesn’t require lot tracking, you may need it to qualify for accreditation that improves your business’s reputation.
- Product recalls: Lot tracking helps you manage recalls by letting you trace the exact batch of products responsible for the issue.
- Quality assurance: You can improve your quality assurance process efficiency by tracing defective products back to their original lots.
Outside of these uses, lot number tracking lets any company access more data about their products. For example, you can calculate landed costs and track how they fluctuate with each replenishment order. You can also start to understand your turnover rates by looking at how long it takes you to sell items that come into your inventory on particular dates.
To track lot numbers most effectively, feature-rich inventory software and a barcode inventory management system are a huge help. Lot tracking software monitors lot IDs as goods travel through the supply chain. With a barcode scanner, your system can automatically learn these numbers by scanning the manufacturer’s provided barcodes. You can also set lot numbers yourself based on a manufacture date, expiration date or even the date you received the items in your warehouse.
From there, your lot numbers will follow your inventory as it changes locations in the warehouse and when it ships to customers. You’ll have the lot number records on all your shipment documentation, so you can always refer back to lot number data for the items you’ve sold.
Lot ID Tracking Software Features
A lot number tracking program like Finale Inventory has capabilities such as:
- Lot numbering flexibility: Adaptable lot number software can either assign automatic batch numbers to products or let you assign them yourself.
- Compatibility with serial numbers: To track every product’s original source, alongside its end users, you can combine your lot number features with serial numbering information.
- Traceability: Ensure quality and efficiency at every point in your inventory system with automated monitoring capabilities for lot tracking and traceability.
Your lot tracking software’s features may vary, but a comprehensive inventory software like Finale Inventory can manage multiple tasks.
Benefits of Lot Tracking Software
Using software with dedicated lot tracking features enhances your business in many ways. The benefits of lot tracking software include:
- Streamlining your inventory operations: Choose the lot assigning process that works best for your company to improve your inventory operations’ efficiency. With effective lot ID tracking, you’ll reduce waste by prioritizing the items closest to their expiration dates.
- Maintaining customer satisfaction: Improved quality assurance and the ability to track products by their lot lets you prevent and manage product defects. If you discover a manufacturing issue, you can quickly find all the items with the same lot ID and avoid shipping them to customers. When customers are less likely to receive unsatisfactory goods or have their purchases recalled, they’re more satisfied.
- Having fast access to information: Within seconds, you can view an item’s lot number, serial number and other critical details in your inventory management software. Tracking your products more granularly with lot numbers also lets you analyze more data. For example, you can track products by their actual landed costs rather than using averages. Many companies integrate their inventory management software with QuickBooks for lot number tracking to account for inventory’s real costs.
- Managing your inventory: Control every step taken as you process a product and monitor its status at any time. When you track every item by lot ID, you can see the time it takes for products to turn over. You can also identify correlations between fast-moving and slow-moving batches, which will help you manage your inventory most effectively.
When you count on a lot ID tracking software like Finale Inventory, your business becomes more productive and profitable.
What Goods and Products Use Lot Numbers?
Companies often use lot numbers to track expiration dates. They also use them to track specific manufacturing conditions, such as dyes used or machinery settings, that may create variations between batches. Common products that use lot numbers for inventory tracking include:
- Food and beverages
- Drugs, medications, vitamins and supplements
- Hygiene products such as shampoo and toothpaste
- Fire extinguishers
- Household cleaning products and detergents
- Aerosol sprays
- Electronics such as smartphones and computers
- Medical supplies
- Insecticides and other pest control products
- Toys and baby products
- Building materials
- Fabric, paints and dyes
Why Is a Lot Number Tracking System Important for Your Business?
An effective lot number tracking system can be a crucial differentiator for many businesses. Lot number tracking is essential to help companies navigate:
- Legal regulations: In some industries, evidence of a lot number tracking system is a legal requirement. The Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) requires pharmacies to track lot numbers. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) also demands companies act swiftly when their products may compromise safety, and lot number tracking allows them to do just that.
- Product recall management: When you track your products by lot, you can identify the specific batches affected by manufacturing issues. If a contaminant affected the quality of a recent batch of paint, for example, you can quickly identify and pull all the paint from that specific lot off the shelves. The unaffected paint can remain in stores. Therefore, a lot number tracking system saves companies time and money during recalls.
- Certification: Companies who earn International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certificates increase their competitiveness and ability to earn clients. For many of these certifications, a lot tracking system is mandatory.
- Expiration date management: Besides tracking expiration dates for customer safety, lot numbers can also help you move inventory more effectively. With lot number tracking, you can prioritize First In, First Out sales to avoid costly returns or products that expire in your possession.
Does My Business Need Lot Number Tracking?
Many industries have legal requirements or industry standards that make lot number tracking a necessity. Even those that aren’t legally bound can benefit from less human error, faster recall management and better product data. Businesses that need lot tracking include:
- Food, grocery or restaurant businesses: If you work with perishable goods, tracking your inventory by expiration date lets you sell or prepare items closest to their use-by date first.
- Pharmaceutical companies: Companies that manufacture medications, drugs and medical devices will need to track expiration dates and meet regulatory requirements with lot tracking.
- Manufacturers: Manufacturers ranging from textiles to electronics can track their products in batches for quality assurance.
Lot ID Tracking Software From Finale Inventory
As a comprehensive inventory management solution, Finale Inventory includes lot number tracking features. Since it handles all aspects of your inventory, you can adapt it to your company’s needs. Finale Inventory’s lot tracking features integrate with the rest of the software to make your job seamless. Every customer receives support from a representative who tailors the software to their work. As a result, you receive a custom inventory solution. To learn more about Finale Inventory, try our free trial today.