To help our users improve the traceability of their inventory, we have introduced brand new batch tracking functionality within the Linnworks system. Specifically, you will now be able to assign batches to products, which will provide you with full visibility over these items, regardless of where they are in the supply chain.
Why is batch tracking important?
Batch tracking provides you with the flexibility to track your products from your supplier to the warehouse, right through to the customer.
Ultimately, there are a number of reasons why it is so important to know which stock you sold and to whom. In the event of a product recall, you will save countless hours and drastically simply the process, by being able to pinpoint the exact customers who received an item from a specific batch. This is particularly crucial for sellers of food & beverage and pharmaceuticals, where the risk of product recall is higher than in other industries.
If you are selling textiles products or items such as paint or wallpaper, you will also want to ensure that all inventory within a batch has been manufactured at the same time. Failing to be able to effectively track this and separate these batches could mean that two of the same item with slightly different colouring (i.e. items created using different dye lots) are despatched to your customers.
Fortunately, it is now possible to store an inventory item across different bins within the same warehouse, following the release of our multiple bin location functionality. You will also be able to assign products to batches based on their expiration date.
This in itself supports the common inventory management technique, First In First Out (FIFO). FIFO specifically enables you to ensure the stock you have had available the longest is the first to be despatched, reducing the risk of products becoming obsolete.
In addition to supporting the tracking of products, you will also now be able to understand the actual value of the stock. This data is necessary for calculating certain financial information, such as your profit margins. As an example, if it is costing you more to purchase new stock, than it did for a previous batch, Linnworks will be able to dynamically calculate the value.
How batch tracking works within Linnworks
Within Linnworks, each stock item can be classified as either an unbatched stock item or a batched stock item. The former will be set by default and the latter will be the items that are linked to a specific and unique batch number. This means that they can be assigned a Sell By Date, Expiration Date or a priority sequence.
Depending on the dates that are assigned to them, each batched item will have a certain status, which will impact how Linnworks treats these batches. These statuses include:
Available – Inventory will still be available to be assigned to orders when neither the Sell By Date nor the Expiration Date has been reached.
Restricted – Linnworks will automatically restrict an item when the Sell By Date has been reached but the Expiry date has not. You will, however, also be able to manually update the status to Restricted, for any batches that you don’t want to be assigned to orders at that time.
Damaged – You will be able to mark an item as damaged at any point.
Expired – 24 hours after an Exiration Date has passed, the status of a batch will become Expired. As an example, if the Expiry Date is 14/05/17, the status will change to Expired on the 15/05/17. Keep in mind that the item will still be restricted for sale on the 14/05/17, following the specified Sell By Date.
When using Linnworks it’s important to remember that you don’t have to use the batch tracking functionality for your entire inventory, or even at all. In fact due to the added layer of complexity, we would recommend only utilising batch tracking for necessary products.
You can learn more about using Inventory Batch Tracking within Linnworks in our documentation.
This release is part of a much larger update to our inventory functionality. You can find out more about each feature here. We would also recommend watching the video below to learn more.