Lot codes (also known as heat numbers or batch numbers) are a number or code manufacturers attach to a batch of materials produced in a specific production run. Lot traceability is a requirement for many manufacturing supply chain verticals including medical devices, aerospace & defense, food & beverage, and more.

Cetec ERP offers robust, end-to-end traceability from the receipt of raw materials, through subassemblies, all the way to the finished goods shipped to your customer. We’ll walk through the high level functionality at each stage of the process for Raw Material Lot Codes (received from your vendor) and BOM Lot Codes (lot codes you generate in the production process, either for finished products or subassemblies).

Raw Material Lot Codes

Receiving a Lot Code

First, you’ll typically need to enter a lot code on a shipment received from your supplier. This is included on a Packing Slip or a CoC accompanying that shipment. Your receiver will enter the lot code on the Receive Parts screen as they enter the receipt into Cetec ERP. This lot code will live with that receipt.

Upon receipt, Cetec ERP will create a Receipt Object that tracks any use of inventory through the system all the way to the final shipment to your customer. This is the ‘bottom up’ traceability.

Often, you’ll want to do two things after the receipt:

  1. Print a receipt label - this will include the lot code and tie any scans/use of inventory from this lot to that receipt.
  2. Attach the Packing Slip and/or CoC to the receipt object - this will tie the CoC to the object in Cetec ERP responsible for tracking that batch all the way through the system. Attaching docs ensures that your vendor’s provided documentation is attached to the lot and available at any point for easy access and look up (auditors love this one).

The next step is Put Away. Your users can scan the receipt into a bin, or manually enter the bin location on the Put Away/Bin Move screen to indicate where they put the lot. The best practice would be to not put multiple receipts of the same part into the same bin, since users are not always completely reliable in choosing the right lot on a work order. Another important note here, in case you do put multiple receipts of the same part into the same bin, is that Cetec ERP will equate the bin name with the lot. To prevent ‘merging’ receipts (and lots), the system will append the bin with a ‘-1’, ‘-2’, etc, to keep those receipts distinct. The bins flush out when fully consumed. The system needs a way to keep lots and costs distinct.

Picking a Lot Code

After receipt of the raw material, the lot code lives with the bin and receipt in Cetec ERP. The next place process-wise that you will encounter this lot code is when you pick or kit material - either to pick and ship a distribution order, or to pull material for a job or work order.

You’ll see the lot code on the Pick Parts screen and on the pick list. Cetec ERP will, by default, show the oldest receipt or lot first. You can force a scan to be required with this config (part_pick_require_scan) to ensure the oldest FIFO layer is picked, and that the physical picking or kitting matches what is happening in the ERP system.

After the order is completed, you can see what lot codes were picked and went into the assembly on the Details/Serials screen on the invoice (if it was a build to stock order, navigate to the invoice associated with that receipt). For a report of ALL lot codes that went into this build, go to the Traceability Doc on the invoice. This will traverse through every level of subassembly to show the entire picture of lot codes on the finished good. This is your ‘top down’ traceability, and is a good customer-facing or internal doc.

There are a few reports you can use to look up raw material lot codes which you received from your vendor:

  • To use a receipt or lot code to locate the affected shipments or find the CoC, you can use the PO Receipt list located under Purchasing > Receipts > Receipt List. The receipt will show every work order and shipment that contains this lot, all the way to the finished good shipment to a customer.
  • To see where a lot code is while it’s in WIP (picked on an open order), go to the WIP Material Report located under Production > Orders > WIP Material.
  • To see where a lot code was used on a completed order (complete/received or invoice/shipped), you can use the Component / Base Part Shipments located under Sales > Invoices > Component/Base Part Shipments.
  • To see any activity related to a Lot Code, you can use the Inventory Activity report located under Parts > Reports > Inventory Activity. You can also find this under History on a part record.

BOM Lot Codes - Finished Goods and Subassemblies

Enter the Lot Code on the serials screen

On the production side of things, as a manufacturer, you have lot codes (heat or batch numbers) to generate for the products you build and ship to your customers. In Cetec ERP, a lot code is synonymous with an order line (a work order). You will enter a lot code per order line or work order. To do so, go to the Work Order view screen, and select Serials on the left hand navigation. On the top right, you will see the Lot Code field, which you can edit and click update.

You can default the Lot Code format on a work order so that is automatically generated at order entry. You can set system wide Lot Code formats on the Formats screen under Admin > Config Settings > Formats (serials, etc). There is a list of formats and definitions on this screen, also listed here:

  • DATECODE: Order date code, see Serials page for a Workorder
  • LOTCODE: Order lot code, see Serials page for a Workorder
  • SEQUENCE: Incrementing sequence number, see Serials page for a Workorder. Can be modified with parenthesis and a number to specify digits, e.g. SEQUENCE(4)
  • HEXSEQ (sequence number as above, but displayed in hexadecimal)
  • PARTNUM OR PARTNUM(2): Part number from the order, excluding PRC. Can be modified with parenthesis and a number to specify how many characters of the part number to include
  • PRCPART OR PRCPART(2): Part number from the order, including PRC. Can be modified with parenthesis and a number to specify how many characters of the full part number to include
  • LOTFROMCOMPONENT: Not available at all points! Only useful to set lotcode from a picked component
  • PONUM: Not available at all points! Usually only useful to set lotcode default at initial receipt
  • ORDERNUM: Order number
  • ORDERLINE: Order line number
  • SERIAL_NUM_1: Incrementing number. Can be modified with parenthesis and a number to specify digits, e.g. SERIAL_NUM_1(4). Note that any integer suffix is accepted and will have a separate incrementing queue - so SERIAL_NUM_2, SERIAL_NUM_3, etc are all valid options
  • SERIAL_AUTO_RESET_NUM_X: Increments the same way as SERIAL_NUM_X but will reset back to 0 when the number of digits is greater than X. For example, SERIAL_AUTO_RESET_NUM_4 will go from serial 9999 -> 0000 on the next increment. Do not use this with SERIAL_NUM_X and be sure to use another set of schemes that will make this unique.
  • DAYOFYEAR: Day number in the current calendar year, for example 32 for Feb 1. Can be modified with parenthesis and a number to specify digits, e.g. DAYOFYEAR(3)
  • 2DIGITYEAR: Last 2 digits of the current calendar year number, e.g. 23 for 2023
  • YEAR: Current calendar year number, e.g. 2023
  • DAYNUMBER: Current day number, Monday is 1
  • WEEKNUMBER: Current calendar week number
  • 2DIGITWEEKNUMBER: Current calendar week number, with a leading 0 if needed

You can also override the system-wide setting per customer (for direct to customer build orders) or per prcpart. To set it per customer, go to the Customer page and select Production Setup on the left hand nav. To set Lot code per part number, go to the Part edit screen and navigate to the production section of the edit screen.

If this is a build-to-stock, the lot code will show in the bin, which will be leveraged later when you pick to a sales order or another build order (if used as a component). The lot code will follow that completed assembly/subassembly on the internal receipt of finished goods. You can print the receipt label for put away and picking, similar to the raw materials. If this is a build-to-order, shipped to your customer, you can pull (print) the lot code to the packing slip, a label, or print the Traceability Doc on the Invoice.

To find or report on Lot Codes generated on a work order (BOMs), you have a few different options:

  • To see your in-process lot codes (WIP) for your open work orders, use the Generated Serial List under Production > Orders > Generated Serial List. This will show the lot code on the work order/orderline and production status.
  • To look up lot codes for closed work orders, that have been built to stock, you can use either:
    • The PO Receipts list under Purchasing > Receipts > Receipts List, with the Intercompany filter set to YES
    • The Serial list under Sales > Invoices > Serial List, with the Intercompany filter set to YES
    • If you want to see what was picked/shipped, use the Component/Base Shipment list under Sales > Invoices > Component/Base Parts
  • To see shipped lot code information use:
    • The Serial list under Sales > Invoices > Serial Listwith the Intercompany filter set to YES
    • The Component / Base Shipment list (if you want to see what was shipped)
  • For any activity related to a Lot Code in the system, use the Inventory Activity report

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