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Batch Tracking

What is Batch Tracking?

Batch tracking is a facet of inventory management that allows brands to group and monitor stock that shares similar characteristics. Sometimes referred to as ‘lot tracking,’ batch tracking is essentially a process for tracing goods along the supply chain using batch numbers. A ‘batch’ describes a particular set of goods that were produced together from the same raw materials (like a batch of milk, for example). Batch tracking is the best way to see where your goods came from, where they went, what quantity was shipped, and when they’ll be expiring.

4 benefits of batch tracking

Using product batches, retailers can leverage a number of benefits to enhance both inventory and order management. From faster recalls to improved expiry oversight, batch tracking systems help retailers streamline product traceability and maintain quality goods at all times. 

Improved relationships with suppliers

Strong supplier relationships are pivotal to the success of any product-based brand. Thankfully, batch tracking software provides necessary insights into the quality of your finished products, by closely monitoring the raw materials from your suppliers. With this information, you have the ability to identify both your best and worst suppliers, which gives you greater inventory control and more influence over who you purchase materials from.

Easier expiry tracking

Quality control is paramount for food wholesalers, and one of the cornerstones of preserving high-quality foods and avoiding spoilage is knowing the expiry date on every product you sell (and communicating this shelf life to consumers, as well). Batch tracking allows you to automatically view expiration dates on perishable items, and empowers you to develop a solid quality control workflow in the event problems do arise.

Faster recall

While most companies do everything in their power to avoid a product recall, sometimes these things still happen. The good news is, brands that handle a recall in a timely and responsible manner are more likely to earn respect (and loyalty) from their customer base. Batch tracking delivers the details you need to identify product defects in real-time, so you can quickly track them down and effectively implement a recall within a shorter period of time. 

Reduced accounting errors

The trouble with manual batch tracking systems is that they’re extremely time-consuming and susceptible to human errors; with manual entry, it’s all too easy to input incorrect data, omit data altogether, or even misplace data you need to reference. However, with an automatic batch tracking system, you can enter information that’s generated from all products within your batch. Automatic accounting also streamlines information at your fingertips in case you need to access it right away (as is true with a recall).

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are batch items?

    Batch items are goods that are created via batch production — that is, a method of manufacturing where products are made in specified groups or amounts, and within a designated time frame. A batch tracked product can go through a series of steps within the larger manufacturing process before it becomes the final version of the product. 

  • What are the disadvantages of batch tracking?

    It’s possible batch tracking may not be suitable for every type of manufacturing, which is why it’s good to consider the disadvantages of this method. Batching tracking requires businesses to reconfigure their system when it’s time to produce a new or different SKU, resulting in notable downtime and potentially wasted resources. What’s more, using batch tracking means products cannot be customized for individual consumers due to constraints within production.

  • What is an example of batch production?

    Many ecommerce industries use batch production to make their manufacturing process more efficient. Depending on your optimal output rate, you can use automated assembly systems to accurately meet the needs of your production process. Examples of batch items include things like baked goods, clothing, computer software, and flat-pack furniture.

More terms and formulas

formulas Fill Rate See definition and examples
inventory Inventory in transit See definition and examples
inventory Perpetual Inventory System See definition and examples

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