Serial/Lot Numbers

Tracking serial and/or lot numbers in your ERP solution is not an option for many organizations. It is required. Either legal or customer service may dictate that you provide lot/serial tracing as part of your information system solution.

Does you ERP solution allow for tracking lot/serial numbers? If not then that may be the first thing that needs to be addressed. My experience indicates that trying to use different systems for ERP and for lot/serial numbers will be fraught with reasons for failure. See blog post Single Data Source ( Now that you have ERP solution that allows for recording serial/lot numbers how are you going to get accurate and timely data into the system?

I have seen companies that try and use manual approach to recording serial/lot numbers. Produce a picking slip, send it to the warehouse, pick the goods marking down not only the quantities shipped/used but also mark down serial/lot numbers. So far so good. Now send the paper back to the office to enter into ERP/MRP system. What happens if staff cannot read what was written? What happens when system says serial/lot number does not exist? Do you have to back and re-inspect shipment? Will you go and re get correct values? Can you even re-inspect? Probably not. Office staff may just pick any serial/lot number that shows up in ERP system so they can move on to next transaction. Now you have inaccurate data that may result in faulty recalls or analysis.

The best way to address this issue is to capture the serial/lot number at the point of transaction (PO Receipt, Shipping, Transfers, etc.). Not only should you capture the data, you should have the system validate in real time. If there is an issue with the serial/lot number you should resolve before moving on to next item. Using devices that allow for scanning the serial/lot # as a barcode is significantly faster and more accurate than trying to enter values. Integrating this data capture and validation directly with your ERP and MRP will result in meaningful and accurate data.






One thought on “Serial/Lot Numbers

  1. Capturing lot/serial at moment of activity is essential. Scanning the value is most accurate but next would be selecting the value from a list of valid values for that item. For lot # this validation should also extend to the quantity. Validation should also extend to the bin/location of the item quantity. If you wait until the end of the shift/day/week/month to verify validity of the data, how much effort is required to track all the activity that could have affected the results?
    Is it even reasonable to assume you could pinpoint the error after the fact? If you could, would you then have to back off the original error and reissue the correct information? How has the original error been disbursed to down stream activities? Think about tracing and correcting all of this.
    Do it right the first time.


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