Shelf Life: Tracking Expiration Dates for Shelf Product

Do your subcontractor’s audits reveal the lack of a proper system for keeping track of shelf life and expiration dates of their inventory? This is concerning, as it puts not only their own business at risk, but also the reputation and operations of the Tier 1 suppliers they work with.

This problem is particularly acute within the electronics world. When working with raw materials like flux core solder wire, expiration dates are crucial. Global solder provider Kester commented, “Flux-cored solder wire has a limited shelf life determined by the alloy used in the wire. For alloys containing > 70% lead, the shelf life is two years from date of manufacture. Other alloys have a shelf life of three years from date of manufacture.”

Cetec ERP’s tracking of shelf life and expiration dates is deeply embedded in the software. Shelf lives are defined on part records and stored with other part data. When the parts are received, an expiration date will be auto-populated to #/days forward from the received date based on the shelf life as defined in the part record. The expiration date itself remains associated with the receipt at the FIFO/bin layer. This means that expired receipts are blocked from being picked/used on work orders as a quality control feature.


Cetec ERP will automatically lock a BIN if the inventory inside expires, and update the quantity availability data to indicate this change. Your MRP will update to inform you that purchases need to be made if you have orders placed that are generating demand for a component, or an ROP point will be triggered by the inventory expiring. More specifically, Cetec ERP shows the expiring bin on the part waterfall (inventory forecast report) and then removes the qty projected available. This enables purchasing to be proactive in buying material when on-the-shelf material is going to expire.


Additionally, Cetec ERP will lock the bins after their expiration date, removing that expired lot/receipt from available inventory. This impacts inventory control in the picking process as that receipt will no longer be available to be picked. This feature will also prevent production users from inadvertently picking material that has expired, as the receipt for the inventory won’t be available to pick at all.

Cetec ERP locks the BINs of expired goods to control the inventory from being picked. Locking the BINs provides a very easy way to search your inventory with filters for either expired or soon to expire products. Running the BIN list with these filters active will silo the information you want to see neatly to one screen, allowing for an overview of your shelf-life materials.