Serial numbers, meaning, and uses of Serial numbers: In modern life, serial numbers or SNs have become ubiquitous, they are on our telephones, and in our applications. They are engraved on our vehicles and written on packages delivered to our doorsteps (and more importantly, on packages that never make it to doorsteps). They’re also a very helpful part of modern management of material. Let’s look at how the tracking of serial numbers works, who uses them, and how.
What is a Serial number?
Specific identification codes are serial numbers. The key is that they are a one-off code matched to a particular product or part. They may be purely numerical or contain letters and symbols as well. Serial numbers are usually created sequentially and have segments documenting various types of information, such as where a product was created, the date of manufacture, and any other information considered useful within the life cycle of the product, from assembly and delivery to repair and replacement.
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Lot numbers vary from serial numbers-or batch numbers as they are often known-in that they represent groups of products. Lot numbers are also used to track batches of perishable goods that will expire at the same time in the food and beverage industry. In the pharmaceutical industry, where they are both a legal necessity and a vital part of monitoring product recalls, they are often heavily used. Fast reading of the food and drug recall page of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reveals the value of batch monitoring, from the detection of foods with undeclared allergens to tainted batches of medication.
On the other hand, serial numbers are allocated rather than classes to individual products. Most specifically, they are used to monitor products of high value, like consumer electronics.
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What are serial numbers used?
Manufacturers use the serial number for several purposes. Let’s cover the main applications below.
1. Serial numbers are used to recall items
Getting serial numbers allocated to both products and components will significantly minimize the effect of a recall of a product. Imagine that you are a producer of factories all over the world. Until you get three items returned with a defective widget that causes them to catch fire, everything goes swimmingly. You investigate and discover that half a dozen different businesses supply this same widget, only one of which has sent you defective stock.
You will possibly need to recall any one of your items at an exceptional price without serial number monitoring. But with a proper monitoring device for serial numbers? You use the serial numbers on the returned goods to find out they come from the same factory, despite all of your products being effectively identical. Besides, the figures indicate that these were produced in the same production run: the production runs that used the defective widget are separated and a product recall is released that affects hundreds rather than thousands of items.
2. Serial numbers are used for compliance
It is sometimes not a matter of risk reduction to use serial numbers, but rather legal compliance. For example, all vehicles are stamped with a Vehicle Identification Number, which includes details about the lot number, indicating where and when the vehicle was made, as well as a unique section of the code identifying the individual car. Perhaps most famously, each weapon sold must be stamped with a serial number, but another challenge is how well it can be monitored.
3. Serial numbers after-sales program
If serial number monitoring is in operation, after-sales support, warranties, and maintenance can be significantly improved. Particularly with complex multi-component items, such as automobiles or consumer electronics.
This is because certain items are marketed under the same brand name and model, while the internal components are constantly being improved and upgraded under the hood. For example, a 2020 model of a specific car brand could be designed for the 2019 version with different window seals, airbags, and stereo ports, but it is still sold as the same vehicle. Conversely, the same components may be used before being phased out within different brands and models.
With products such as serial number tracking, when things go wrong, or just in the course of normal maintenance, you can fit the right replacement component to the right product. For example, think about the last time you replaced the toner cartridge on a home printer, and you can understand how important serial number tracking is in creating a matrix of matching parts and items for replacement.
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