Serial Number Tracking

Serial number tracking helps businesses keep track of their inventory and keep everything organized and running efficiently, as Fishbowl CMO Kirk Tanner explains in this Whiteboard Wednesday.

Welcome to Whiteboard Wednesday. I’m Kirk Tanner, Chief Marketing Officer at Fishbowl. Today we’re gonna talk about serial number tracking.

Now, before we get too far let me just explain that if you are running a business and you’re running it manually basically to track all your inventory this is something that you might be interested in because you can’t do this in a manual process. You have to have software and barcode readers to do this.

But, given that, what we have over here is all the information that is relevant to your business. You’ve got records, you’ve got shipping, you’ve got files, you’ve got things out in inventory – all kinds of information. Navigating this information can be really tough and hard when you need something specific, and so that’s where serial number tracking can become very, very valuable.

So serial numbers can take on different looks. We’ve got a traditional serial number here. But, as you can see, there’s different kinds of barcodes up above. And we’ll talk a little bit more about that. But these can capture that serial number so that it’s easily used by a barcode scanner.

If you’re using your serial number tracking properly, there are some things that you can do that we can talk about here. One is to monitor what’s going on within your business. Now, when we talk about monitoring we’re talking about what’s going on within your organization – within your company – when there’s a process going on. So things come in. Something’s going through a process here to be manufactured or assembled. It’s being shipped out, and there’s invoicing going on. There may be many steps in here, but at any time, using your barcode, you can scan that and you can see – monitor – exactly what’s going on at any stage of your process, so that’s a valuable tool.

The next one is to track. Oftentimes you’ll have things that you’ll move around within your operation. Sometimes they’ll be things that you need for your manufacturing process, or you’re selling them ‘cause you’re distributing, or it’s just assets that you have and you want to keep track of those things. Well, as things move around, and it might be random or it might be part of a process, but, regardless, you can keep track of where these things are as they move around – especially if you have multiple warehouses and you’re dividing things up and moving them around, these barcodes with the serial number and the information that’s contained there, you can use that to track exactly where all this is going.

The next one is quality assurance. As you buy products or assemble or manufacture something, there are certain specifications that you’re trying to meet. If all of a sudden you get materials in that don’t meet a certain specification, you can actually use the barcodes and track backwards very quickly and easily to find out where the problem was. Was it on your side or was it something that you got from a vendor? But it allows you to access that information about the items that didn’t meet the specifications.

You also got expiration dates that you can worry about. And, again, with this kind of information if you’ve got something in your warehouse or existing anywhere you can actually scan that and determine that that item is gonna expire if it’s not used by a certain time or you can’t sell it if it’s gonna expire. So, again, valuable information that you’re extracting out of all this information relative to your company.

The last one down here is recalls and warranties. You know, things get out to your customers – they’re broken or there’s just problems where they don’t want it or it’s, you know, a lot of different reasons. You’ve probably seen this before being used to address the recalls or warranties. Again, easy to collect all this information captured in a barcode, and then when this happens, you know exactly what it is you’re dealing with, when it was purchased, and all that kind of information.

Now, one final thought relative to these barcodes: the serial number can be a part of that barcode, but you can actually include a lot of other information that you want to have in there, such as when you purchased it or the expiration date we talked about. That can all be included in these barcodes.

The other problem that, if you’re not using a software, is you might get some products that have a serial number, but they themselves don’t have a barcode. So, all of a sudden, you don’t have a way to track that individually. If you’ve got a good software solution in place you can actually enter this information and any other information you might want, create that barcode, and put a barcode on other items to track, monitor, and deal with all of this information that we’re talking about right here.

So serial number tracking becomes really, very valuable, especially if you have a system that allows you to hook in scanners and check these barcodes out and monitor things.

So that’s serial number tracking. Join us again next week for more Whiteboard Wednesday. Thanks.

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