QuickBooks serial number and lot tracking limitations
Serial number and lot tracking is essential for manufacturers. Learn about the limitations and solutions for using QuickBooks Online lot tracking.
Last updated: 24.05.2023
7 mins read
Manufacturers get set up with QuickBooks to solve two of their problems:
Unfortunately, those who track perishable inventory may find limitations with QuickBooks lot and serial number tracking features.
That’s why we’ve looked into the limitations and solutions so you can use QuickBooks, without losing the ability to track inventory effectively.
In this article, we’re going to look into the limitations of using lot and serial tracking in QuickBooks, and how to upgrade your lot tracking capabilities with a Katana manufacturing software.
What is a serial number and lot number?
A serial number is a unique identification number that is assigned to a manufactured product by a manufacturer. Products will also have an identifier — usually referred to as a SKU (stock keeping unit). A serial number is often used to track warranty and service issues after the sale of a product.
In comparison, a lot tracking number is a number that is assigned to a group of products which have specific common properties. Lot tracking, also referred to as batch tracking, is the process of tracking materials and products, from start to the end of your supply chain, that will help you:
Track expiration dates of products
Trace any defective items back to the batch it belonged to
Automating your lot tracking in QuickBooks will allow you to monitor your inventory movements, implement barcode scanning, and free up resources that you can use to help you scale your business.
The limitations of using QuickBooks Online for inventory management
QuickBooks is a fantastic tool for manufacturers looking for a system to help them manage their finances. However, if you need inventory tracking, including expiration date tracking to work with QuickBooks, you’ll find it doesn’t have all the features needed.
Without 3rd party integrations, here are the limitations you can expect to find with QuickBooks lot tracking:
But, unfortunately, manufacturers need a system that can help them with raw material inventory management and track the conversion of those raw materials into finished goods.
It might be okay at first, but once your business starts to grow and your order volume increase, you’ll need to find a tool for automating your manufacturing that can help you centralize and integrate your:
Inability to track unshipped orders
The lack of advanced inventory management features needed for QuickBooks lot tracking as a manufacturer has already been mentioned, but the feature gaps also extend to sale order management.
That means without an alternative method of tracking or using a spreadsheet alongside your QuickBooks Online, you’re going to struggle to understand if products have been shipped to customers or if they’re still within your warehouse.
Using a 3rd party integration for lot tracking in QuickBooks is going to help you easily locate your products. Other companies have tried to use QuickBooks online for tracking their open orders, but the system isn’t a robust solution for managing your supply chain.
Pro tip: QuickBooks Online lot tracking needs the support of a 3rd party integrations to give it the tools to perform advanced inventory and order management. Optimize your QuickBooks order management here.
No multiple warehousing option
QuickBooks Online lot tracking only supports one warehouse location and is unable to track inventory across different sites.
There is a workaround to this, you can monitor inventory at different locations by “splitting” items and assigning them to the locations you want them stored.
However, the issue is that it’s a complicated workaround to maintain, and becomes unmanageable when your business starts to expand.
Plus, having a system that’s difficult to understand will only serve to become a hindrance in the event you need to perform a product recall.
Work in an industry that needs to track perishable goods (including electronics)
Perform value-added services that require them to monitor inventory
QuickBooks Online is a fantastic tool for managing your finances. However, for scaling manufacturers, the absence of features for QuickBooks Online lot tracking and production means you’re going to need to develop another system to help you with this aspect of your business.
But developing your own system is going to cost you time and money.
Katana allows you to bridge the gap with its batch manufacturing features, by easily integrating and synchronizing with your QuickBooks account.
We hope you found this article useful. If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch in the comments below or over on our social media.
And until next time, happy manufacturing.
Switching from QuickBooks Desktop to Online
Wondering if you need to get yourself set up with QBO? In collaboration with Intuit's Leah Hartman, Katana hosted a webinar on the benefits of QBO and how to make a smooth transition.