Serial numbers & Lot tracking #
Traceability can be managed by using either serial numbers or lot numbers. Serial numbers are for individual items and lot tracking is for groups of items that are normally bought or manufactured in one “bactch”.
Traceability may be hierachial. So a product with a serial number may have one or more components that also have serial numbers. Similarly, but less commonly with lots.
The following optional license modules affect traceability (See the Admin->Licensing section for more details):
Serial number and lot tracking
This switches on the basic traceability functions.
After sales product tracking
Serial numbered products are automatically added to the after sales product tracking system. (Product tracking module requires that serial numbers are used.)
|Barcodes in production||For using bar coded serial numbers in work orders.|
Serial number tracking #
Serial number tracking is for the tracking of individual components and products through the manufacturing process and then on to the customer or final location.
Serial numbers can be created manually or automatically. Serial numbers are sequential and can have a prefix specified by material id. For instance the prefix can be used to include the product id in the serial number. When serial number tracking for a material is enabled, serial numbers have to be recorded wherever that material is used and created wherever that material is created. So screens for managing serial numbers exist on receipts, shipping and work orders. When serial numbers are being used in both a product and its components, then the component serial numbers have to be entered specific to the individual product. Component serial numbers cannot be marked to a work order in general, it has to be to a specific product. So in practice, serial numbering of components is normally only used if the final products have serial numbering.
Serial numbers must be unique for a certain material item but the same serial number can be used in different items.
From the ‘Traceability’ section in the Warehouse side menu there is a link “Serial number tracking” – from here it is possible to find where a certain serial number has been used.
Serial numbering is integrated to the Product tracking facility in the Sales section. If serial numbering is enabled for a certain product, serial numbers for that product will be entered automatically into the product tracking system when it is manufactured or received. See the sales section for further information.
Serial number tracking is enabled for a particular material by marking the check box property of that material item in the Technical tab of the item’s card. The prefix is also specified there if necessary.
Serial number record only #
If an item is marked as “Serial number record only” then the full serial number traceability is not used for this item, but the serial number is recorded at the time it is dispatched or the time it is used in a work order. I.e. the number is never “created” in the system and so can not be “used” later, but it is only recorded when it is used. This is to simplify the administration of serial numbers when the only business requirement is to find out which product have been sent to which customers, and perhaps to follow that product with the after sales product tracking system.
Typically this is used on purchased items where there is no requirement to know which serial numbers are in stock, but when they are taken from stock and used in a product then they are recorded.
Creating serial numbers #
Serial numbers have to be created when materials are received from suppliers, or products are created in work orders. Serial numbers can be created manually by entering a serial number that exists already (for instance printed on the material that is being received). Alternatively, they can be created automatically, in which case the system allocates numbers from the next in a sequential list.
On the work order or sales order dispatch order select the ‘Serial numbers’ subtab under Traceability, then select the correct product (on a receipt where there may be more than one item being received needing serial numbers). Then either enter the serial numbers manually and press [Add] or press the [Autonumber] button to allocate all items with sequential numbers. If entering numbers manually it may be convenient to use a bar code reader if the numbers are available as bar codes. Autonumbering will use the next number from the system’s sequence together with the serial number prefix as specified in the Items properties in the Design section.
Recording the use of serial numbers #
In a work order product serial numbers are created and component serial numbers are recorded. Component serial numbers would have been previously created at purchase order receipt or at the work order of a subassembly.
The products must first be allocated their serial numbers as described above. In a dispatch the serial numbers would already have been allocated to the products in the work orders. Press the “Enter serial number” button in the dispatch or work order. There is a button next to each product line identified as “Part Nbrs”. Go through each product and select the individual component serial numbers that are being used against that specific product. Each time press Save to continue to the next product.
On a component, it is not possible to enter a serial number that does not exist in the system. This will result in an error message. Using the delete check box will release that serial number from this order; it will not delete the serial number from the system.
Serial number and the Product Tracking facility #
‘Serial Number Tracking’ (found from the Traceability side menu in the Warehouse section) allows the status of a serial number to be checked. Serial numbers can be shown by product or by serial number, and information about relevant receipts, work orders or dispatches are shown. A serial number can be released from this page. This will delete the use of the serial number from the system so that it can be used again.
Lot tracking #
Lot tracking enables the tracing of both purchased material lots and own manufactured lots through production and to the customer.
Lot tracking would normally only be used for key components and finished products as it involves a certain amount of extra data entry. When a component has lot tracking enabled, the user is requested to enter the manufacturer’s lot numbers when receiving the materials. When the material is issued to a work order again the lot numbers must be entered. The lot numbers of manufactured products must be created in the system when completing the work order. The default lot number for manufactured products is the same as the work order number, but other numbers may also be used. When shipping product to customers the lot numbers must be selected again.
In this way it is possible to have material traceability both forwards and backwards through the system. For instance if a customer complains of a faulty product due to a quality problem with a component of that product, it is possible to trace back to the work orders where all of that component lot has been used and then forward to all customers who have been shipped product with that faulty component.
Lots may have a due date and can be manually edited and closed.
Lot tracking is enabled for a particular material by marking the check box property of that material Item in the Technical tab in the item’s card.
Creating lots in material receipts and work orders. #
Any activity that involves the transfer of materials into or out of inventory requires that lot numbers are entered for those materials where lot tracking is enabled. When materials are coming into inventory a lot is created.
When receiving materials or completing a work order, press the lot tracking button on the work order screen. There is a default line with the correct quantity where the lot number should be entered. If there are many lots to be entered it may be convenient to use a bar code reader to enter the data. Adjust the lot quantity if there is going to be more than one lot. Optionally enter a due date and any comments. If necessary add more lots until the whole quantity is accounted for.
In work orders it is possible to increase the quantities of existing lots as an alternative to creating new lots. This may be done if the policy is that a single lot may span more than one work order.
Using lots in sales order dispatch and work orders #
When lots are being sent out from inventory, either to a work order or as product to a customer, lot numbers need to be recorded for the lot quantities. Quantities of existing lots are reduced. Lot tracking is shown on the Traceability tab. A list of available lots is shown. Enter the correct quantities and save the form. The grid will also show the list of lots used in the work order or dispatch.
Reporting lot usage #
The ‘Lot history’ report is available from the dropdown list of reports found in the Traceability side menu. This shows the usage of all lots for a material item and can also be retrieved by a lot number.