Difference-between-lot-and-serial-numbers

ERPAG 5.1

Difference between lot and serial numbers

What are serial/lot numbers? Can I track serial and lot numbers in an ERP/MRP software? What are the perks of tracking my products by serial or lot numbers in ERP/MRP software?

Lot numbers are used to represent a certain number of products that share common characteristics such as manufacturing date, manufacturing location, a certain material used in production, etc.

There is a one to many relationships, so as many items can have the same Lot Number.

Lot numbers are useful for products you receive a large quantity of, and can help in reporting quality control problems or any other info. They will help you easily identify production faults, expiration dates.

For example, a certain batch or a lot of yogurts might be unsafe. Instead of recalling all of the yogurt produced, the manufacturer can recall only a certain lot number.
 A batch of yogurt is a set of containers of yogurt that used the same ingredients and have the same “best before” date because they were fermented together at the same time.

Yogurt producers apply the “best by date” to give consumers an idea of when their yogurt will taste best, or when a store should stop selling the yogurt because it might not reach consumers in optimal freshness.

Unrelated to our topic, some experts say that certain products are safe to consume even after their best before date.


Serial numbers, on the other hand, are unique per product. No two products can have the same serial number.
Smartphones, computers and other electronic products are identified by a serial number. Looking up your specific serial number can assist customers in finding the software and support necessary for keeping your devices working.

Additionally, it allows companies to track quality control, warranty claims or similar for each unique device. Serial numbers and lots can be technically tracked with pencil and paper, but the vast majority of companies leverage inventory management software to properly track serial numbers and lots.
An important thing to look up for is that not all inventory management systems offer a lot and serial number tracking.

The complexity of inventory management arises when you need to keep up with a lot of lot and serial numbers. With lot and serial numbers consisting of a long combination of letters and numbers, there is a high probability of human error during the input of serial and lot numbers. As a result, most companies use inventory management solutions with in-built barcode reading functions to eliminate human error and to read barcodes.

 Many products have a lot printed or stamped and do not have a barcode for the lot number so it is important to find an inventory management solution that has the ability to print barcode labels.

Although there is a difference between lots and serial numbers, proper inventory management software is required to track either of these identifiers
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2019. ERPAG Inc.

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