Online shopping will not be leaving anytime soon, which means D2C and 3PLs will not be either. With the increase of merchandise, packaging, and shipping, how can we keep Fulfillment-as-a-Service (FaaS) accountable?
Lot tracking (also known as batch tracking) provides traceability which holds accountability and protection for brand owners.
But, What is Lot Tracking?
Before deep-diving into tracking, let’s learn about the term Lots in 3PLs. Lots provide timestamps, the best overall inventory management system.
Lot tracking and timestamps inform the logistics team on the who, what, where, and why of a product:
- Who: The vendor involved.
- What: The ingredients implemented in production.
- Where: Which location, or facility.
- Why: And most importantly, why things happened.
Problem: Say you manufacture a foundation makeup bottle from more than one vendor. When the ball gets rolling with fulfillment, the teams come across a reason to recall.
There could be multiple cracks in the bottles, manufacturing defects, discoloration in the formula, leaky bottles, or possible contaminants; many other reasons follow.
Fix: With lot tracking enabled, the operators can efficiently trace the supply chain and find the accurate vendors, warehousing, and shipping utilized. After tracking the item’s life span with logistics, the team can take action.
Lot Numbers and Serial Numbers: Two Tracking Numbers with Huge Differences
A common misconception is that serial and lot numbers are the same. Though they are both numbers used for tracking inventory, these two tracking numbers are drastically different.
Lot numbers specify an entire group of products used in distribution, manufacturing, and fulfillment. Serial numbers narrow down the inventory to singular items. Nike shoes create a great example of serial and lot numbers.
When creating Nike shoes, the company places lot numbers for specific lines (Air Jordans, Air Force Ones, etc.). There is a label for Nike products with the size conversions on the inside. The lot number is right underneath the sizes conversion table and located beside the manufacturing date.
The UPC (Universal Product Code) is the serial number for each pair. The UPC is on the bottom of the same sizing label.
The big-name brands have mastered lot tracking because they want quality and protection across the board. OceanX provides this same assurance for high-volume health and beauty companies.
Why is Lot Tracking so Important?
Now caught up on the jargon, why is tracing a secret weapon for 3PLs again? Tracing details assists the operators in identifying the problem and overviewing the specifics.
Traceability can be of utmost importance for 3PLs with multiple warehouse distributions. OceanX has four state-of-the-art warehouses in Ohio, North Carolina, California, and Canada, with over 550 employees.
Remember our who, what, where, and why? This is where that method comes into play.
OceanX narrows down the orders to the specific lot, which creates a well-rounded approach for addressing vendors and protecting quality assurance. Especially helpful in the growth of custom subscription boxes.
Lack of lot tracking can be problematic. One slight defect can lead to massive production issues. Lot tracking makes it easier to isolate the problem and find the solution.
Not all products are stored and shipped equally. Beauty and wellness sectors especially are mindful of expiration dates, liquid formulas, and fragile packaging.
Some industries fall under FDA laws. FDA requires lot numbers and tracking for industries like beauty, health, pharmaceuticals, food, beverages, etc.
OceanX Offers the Modern Solution for Lot Tracking
Some 3PLs avoid lot tracking because of the accountability of their actions. But OceanX provides transparency and promise.
We offer a modern solution to lot tracking. Why? Because the benefits speak for themselves.
Lot Tracking Key Benefits:
- Overall Organization. The organization has proved time and time again to be the best tool for efficiency.
- Quality Assurance. Without quality, brands would suffer their reputation. High-value means ensuring good business.
- Expiration Date Tracking. We touched on FDA laws briefly, but expiration dates are a factor for the safety and well-being of customers.
- Smoother Recalls. Tracking inventory makes recalls operate smoother and faster.
- Health and Safety. If a consumer becomes sick after using a product, tracing it back to its ingredients can help resolve health risks.
- Eco-Friendly Operation. By tracking, we prevent unexpected and unwanted waste that harms our planet. Less recalls and littler mess-ups represent a cleaner environment.
- Human Error. Sometimes employees have mixups. Thankfully lot tracking enables technology to assist with human miscalculations.
- Easier Compliance Documentation. Most lot tracking systems also keep records of compliance documentation.
- Reduced Theft. A better way to keep business merchandise theft-resistant. Tracing can tell us where the inventory was when the theft occurred.
When Disaster Comes Knocking, Will Brand Owners Open the Door Prepared?
The debate of whether lot tracking is worth it or not is still between many 3PLs. We could argue that if a driver got in an uninsured car, would they regret it more when they started the engine without insurance or the moment they wrecked it? In the same sense, would the brand owner regret it more when they fulfilled orders without batch tracking or when problems affect their reputation?
At OceanX, our facility operates smoothly, but disasters can hit at inopportune times. For this reason, experts are always on the job providing lot tracking as insurance for better fulfillment, efficiency, and promise.
Are you ready to dive into OceanX with modern fulfillment and lot tracking? Get started with our 3PL services today!