What is Inventory Serialization?

Inventory Serialization

It is very important for a business to control its inventory. Inventory tracking is one of the most important aspects of inventory control. Serialized inventory management is an advanced technique used for tracking inventory at a granular level.

This article will explain what is serialized inventory management, why it is important for inventory control and how it can be put into practice.

What is Inventory Serialization?

Inventory is serialization is a process with which you can track individual units of inventory using serial numbers. Keeping track of the inventory is an important aspect of inventory control. 

Irrespective of the type of inventory that is firm deals with, an efficient tracking system is important. Firms dealing with a huge quantity of inventory, have to be very careful with their stock. The serialized inventory system helps the firm in maintaining a strict tracking of every unit of inventory. 

An expensive inventory that requires regular maintenance and servicing or an inventory that comes with warranty needs to be checked and tracked carefully. Inventory serialization for such items helps to track each individual item from manufacturing to storage to customers. 

What are the major factors that make inventory serialization important?

Now let us focus on the importance of serialized inventory management:

  • Quality Control: Serialization help to maintain quality in production and/or assembly lines. Each batch of the production run can be tracked using individual item serialization which can be tied to the batch. Serialization makes it easy to identify the product and identify the production date, and/or packaged date which helps the retailer to manage the quality tracking process easy.
  • Traceability: Serialization makes it easy to trace a product and learn which production or assembly batch the item belongs to and have all the details made available instantly. 
  • Warranties: If you are providing a warranty for your product, then you definitely need to invest in inventory serialization. Serialized items are easily traceable to the batch and the associated production date, making warranty management easy.
  • Confirm Product Ownership: Serialized items can be identified from counterfeit one and product ownership managed in an efficient manner.
  • Product Recall: In the case of product defect identified late in the sales cycle, you can identify all the items belonging to that particular batch and recall and validate based on the serial number associated with the item.

How to Serialize Inventory?

To serialize the inventory, each item in inventory is assigned its own unique number that can differentiate it from the rest of your inventory. This serial number is unique across products so that this serial number alone can be used to identify the product type, which batch this item belongs to. 

Serialized items have two identifiers, one is the SKU which identifies the type of the item and the other is a unique serial number that uniquely identifies the individual item in the inventory. 

While this can be managed manually or with an excel sheet, you should look at cloud-based inventory management which supports inventory serialization.

How To Manage Serialized Inventory?

When you receive new inventory you need to record the batch number, expiry date if any. Next, you need to generate unique serial numbers for each item. To track the item make sure the serial number is written on the product. You can use barcode label or simple sticker labels for that purpose. 

When you are sending out inventory you need to record which serial number has been removed. To do this keep a record of the serial number of the item been sent out.

Periodically take an inventory count by checking the serial numbers and verifying the data against the list of serial numbers you have in your records. This is necessary to check for leakages and pilferage. 

Follow these 3 simple steps to manage your serialized inventory.

Moving On

Serialized inventory management has its own benefits and importance but in certain cases, it should be avoided as well. Serialization increases the complexity of inventory management and should be avoided if you can afford to do so. 

For example, if you are dealing with large quantities of homogeneous products you are better off using simpler techniques like using SKU for inventory control. Serialization in such cases is mostly overkill. 

Modern cloud-based inventory management solutions like Easyops support serialized inventory and takes out the complexity associated with serialized inventory management. Easyops supports serialization and handles all the complexity associated with managing serialized inventory. In Easyops you can not only inward inventory and serialize it, but you can also intake serialized inventory. Tracking, storage and dispatch/sales in also managed for you.

We hope we were successful in giving a fair idea about serializing inventory system. For further doubts please leave a comment below.

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