Lot Numbers explained - Everything you need to know about lot numbers

Brahm Meka
August 27, 2022
9 min
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Lot Numbers explained

We see lot numbers on many daily products, from medicines to food, drinks, cosmetics, electronics, and more. 

Companies have a different ways of assigning these lot numbers, but generally, the codes are in place to help manufacturers identify a few things: 

  • When the products were produced
  • Where the product was produced
  • Materials used to make this product
  • If products expire, when will they expire

This article will examine why lot numbers are important and what they help businesses do. 

What is a lot number? 

A lot number is a unique sequence of digits that manufacturers use to identify a batch of products that were made using the same ingredients, parts, or materials. Every item in the batch carries the same lot, and each lot is managed separately in inventory. 

Is lot number the same as batch number?

Yes. Lot numbers are often referred to by different names, including batch number, code number, or lot code.

What is the meaning of a lot number?

All the items in a lot usually have the same production date, production issue, packaging date, or expiration date for the purpose of lot traceability.

Lot numbers are created based on a specific date and time. For example, lot numbers can show when an order was placed, when it shipped, or when it was received.

The timestamp associated with the lot helps track the expiration date of perishable items, medical supplies, or anything else with a limited shelf life. Although timestamps may or may not appear on the packaging, they should be recorded somewhere, such as in inventory management software.

What exactly is lot control? 

Lot control is the way to keep track of your batches of products. This way, you can see how they are doing, understand any problems they might have, and fix them if necessary. For example, if you need to recall a batch of products or move them to a different place.

How are lot numbers used?

They are used to track a group of items throughout the entire supply chain, from the supplier to the end user. For example, in the auto industry, a lot number could identify a batch of paint used to paint a group of automobiles.

Recalled parts can happen for any reason, like for safety or performance issues. For food or medical products, contamination or errors in production might also cause a recall. If a part needs to be recalled, the lot number can be used to identify which cars have the recalled part.

The benefits of lot control

You need to have control over your lots to be successful. This is especially important when something goes wrong with one of your products. But having control over your lots is also key to being sustainable and staying competitive in today's business world. 

Differentiating products

If your business handles products of different colors, sizes, or other criteria, lot numbers for product differentiation are a must. They help you keep track of products that are the same but slightly different. This is important, so you don't mix up materials that don't match or are dissimilar. Even if some products are incredibly similar, a lot number gives you extra differentiation so you can tell them apart and distribute the right items to the right places.

Tracking down problems

Lot numbers can help companies figure out why many products are being sent back. For example, if a supplier is sending lower-quality products, it would be easier to see this if the company tracked the lot numbers of the returned items. 

If there is a defect with one of your products, lot control can help you find and fix the issue quickly. This issue could be with the materials or parts, an operator who needs more training, or a machine that needs maintenance. You can determine the best course of action to take by fixing the problem quickly.

Remain complainant with regulations

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) have specific regulations and certification requirements for inventory management. The ISO certification increases brand trust and opens the door to other business opportunities. Meanwhile, the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) requires pharmacies to maintain and keep track of drug lot information.

Product recall

Here is where lot control is critical: If your product makes someone fall ill, suffer injury, or die, it is very important to recall items from the same batch quickly. This is to keep your customers safe and protect your business.

In regulated industries like pharmaceuticals and car manufacturing, it is often required by law to have a robust lot tracking system. But even companies that haven't had to do a recall know that it makes good sense to have a lot control system in place.

Knowing which batch was affected by an issue, you can avoid recalling every similar item within a broad date range, even if they are not faulty or contaminated. This can help you save time and money.

You will be able to investigate the issue better if you know where the parts or ingredients for that lot came from. You can also determine if other batches might be affected.

Eliminate human error

Automated lot tracking can help you avoid making mistakes when managing lots. You can also access data easily if you need it. Using an inventory control system will help automate this process. 

Inventory control

Lot numbers are essential for managing and understanding the movement of your inventory and spotting trends around your batches of goods.

You also need to shift products at the right time. Like most manufacturers, you'll want to sell the older stock before the newer stock. Lot numbers help you do this with data about production dates and how long products have been on shelves.

Waste reduction

Inventory waste can cost companies a lot of money, so companies must sell as many products as possible before they become unsellable.

If you have slow-moving products or products about to expire, you can use lot numbers to create campaigns, discounts, or offers to help sell them more quickly. You can sell products together as a package. This might include a pack of beer bottles or a two-for-one deal on body lotion.

Who uses lot number tracking?

Many industries use lot number tracking to manage different types of products, including:

Lot number tracking in food & beverage manufacturing

The food and beverage industry relies heavily on lot tracking because it is crucial to keep track of the safety of the consumers.

These days, many people want to know more than if their food and drinks are safe. They want to know things like how local the food is, if it is organic, and how it was produced.

Having lot tracking gives manufacturers more detailed information about their products. This includes where the products came from and how they were farmed or produced. With this knowledge, businesses can address any consumer concerns with more certainty. Companies can hold their suppliers accountable and demand better practices if there are any issues such as poor labor practices or harmful farming methods.

Lot number tracking in pharmaceuticals

Just like we need to be able to trace the food and drinks we eat, it is also important to be able to trace the medicines we take. This is because the medicine can expire, get contaminated, or have unintended side effects. If something like this happens, it is essential to be able to recall the product quickly. We also need to know where our ingredients come from.

Counterfeit products are a big issue for the pharmaceutical industry. It's a big concern in the fight against coronavirus. Vaccines are shipped around the world in complex supply chains. Lot tracking helps health professionals administer vaccines with confidence. This will help countries recover from the many impacts of the pandemic more quickly.

Tracking helps to prevent a medicine from falling into the black market or the hands of people with addiction problems. It also helps health systems save money by reducing inefficiencies and stopping the sale of fake medicines.

How Brahmin Solutions can help

Brahmin Solutions Inventory provides small and growing businesses with an excellent system that covers everything from order management to production needs. This software will help you keep track of your business. You can see what is happening on your computer or phone. This will make it easy for you to control your business. Your customers will be happy because they will get their orders quickly and correctly. You can build a good reputation for being fast, accurate, and focused on the customer.

If you're wondering why a lot number matters, we hope these reasons will help you understand. A lot number is important because it helps you keep track of everything that goes on with your business. As a small business owner, you want your business to grow and succeed. We guarantee that using lot numbers is one simple way to help make that happen.

Partner With Brahmin Solutions for Reliable Inventory & MRP Software

If you are looking for a better way to manage your inventory, you should contact Brahmin Solutions. Our cloud-based inventory management system makes it easy for you to keep track of the inventory and manage all your manufacturing operations from one place. 

We work with many customers and know that every inventory management application is unique. That is why we have an experienced team available to work with you to create a solution that meets your needs. We are committed to your success. 

There are several ways to get started with Brahmin Solutions. You can schedule a demo, check out pricing or take a look at our support documents. This will help you learn more about how the cloud-based system works and if it is a good fit for you and your business.

Brahm Meka
Founder & CEO

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