Batch number

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Batch number
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Batch number is assigned to raw materials, components, and other supplies for the purpose of clearly identifying the material. Different physical or chemical forms of the material should be identified by different numbers. An suffix to an existing number is usually used when the text of the packaging label is changed. "Sometimes a different number, a control number, is as signed to a bulk batch after it has been released by quality assurance. This serves as an additional check that unreleased bulk product cannot be used in the packaging cycle"[1].

Depending on the individual batch number of the product or group of products, it is possible to identify "all shipment, receipt, and checkin type information, including associated project, contact person, brief description, when received, who inspected, how many packages, number of samples, how packaged, transportation mode, preservation, sample condition upon receipt, cover letter and inventory, listing documents, analyses requested, location of batch upon receipt, etc"[2].

Batch number levels

There are several distinct levels where you can configure the batch number[3]:

  • Client level - When configuring batches at customer level, you only need to assign a batch number once for the whole customer. For each material assigned at this level, there is only one batch number.
  • Material level - At this level, products are assigned material numbers. The material number helps to distinguish between two products when their batch numbers are the same.
  • Plant level - At the plant level, the batch number is unique to the plant and material. As a result, the same batch number can be in another plant within the same company. In SAP, for example, the plant level can also be the default level for the batch number.

According to M. F. Amir "...plant operations are in many cases limited (finite). The cyclic behavior of the production system is usually limited by the ordered batches denoted by a fixed number. The batch number that corresponds to the market demand and material supply determines how many times products must be produced within a time period"[4].

In the case of finished products which are managed in batches, the batch number must be exceptional. The same batch number should not be assigned to any other material. For example, finished food and pharmaceutical products must have a unique batch number. The same batch number should not be assigned to any other material. In such circumstances, the batch number should be at customer level. However, in the case of semi-finished materials, two different materials may have the same batch number. For all other materials that do not require a unique batch number in different plants or company codes, a batch number at plant level is enough[5].

Batch management is primarily used in process industries. The production process takes place when a batch of material is produced continuously with the same machine settings and raw material feeding. Parts of the material in this production batch are highly similar to each other. In case of any problems with the quality of the material, they can be easily traced by batch number.

There are more examples of batch-managed materials such as foodstuffs, chemical products, hygiene products etc. In most cases, these materials are distinguished on the basis of characteristics such as expiry date, colour shades, chemical composition and physical appearance[6].


  1. S.H. Willig 2011, S. 243-244
  2. M.A. Worthington 1988, S. 52
  3. MM Questions and Answers 2010, S. 32
  4. M.F Amir 2011, S. 53
  5. A. Ahmed 2015, S. 122
  6. A. Ahmed 2015, S. 121


Author: Dominika Kania