Simplify Your Lot Control with Item Tracking in Business Central

Lot control is a way of tracking your inventory not only in terms of product, but also by the specific manufacturing lots, or batches, of product.  It is used when the seller needs to be able to trace the source and destination of specific batches of product and is common in the food, electronics, and pharmaceutical industries.

Setup for Item Tracking

Lot control is termed “Item Tracking” in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. It is established by creating Item Tracking Code records to define which transactions require a Lot No.  There can be multiple Item Tracking Code records to support different requirements within the company.

For instance, some items need to be tracked from raw materials receipt to finished item shipment so all transaction types are selected, while other items may only be tracked when shipped.

Business Central Item Tracking code card

Once the Item Tracking Codes have been created, they are assigned to item records via the Item Card, Item Tracking FastTab, and Item Tracking Code fields.  

Business Central item tracking code card

Each item can also have a Lot No. Series assigned to it so that Business Central can automatically assign Lot Nos. to inbound transactions.  Many companies use this for manufactured items while using the vendor’s Lot No. when receiving raw materials or parts.

If the item’s Lots require Expiration Dates, then you can set an Expiration Calculation, such as 1Y (for one year) on the Item Card.  This will be used when the item is received or produced to calculate the Expiration Date based on the Posting Date of the transaction.

Using Lot Nos. During Transactions

During item transaction posting, the Item record is checked to see if the item has an Item Tracking Code, and if so, the transaction type is checked against the Item Tracking Code requirements to verify if a Lot No. is required.  If the Item requires a Lot No. and none has been defined, then the transaction is aborted.

In the following, example we’ll follow Item No. 90001, which is defined for full lot control as it’s purchased, stored, and sold.  We will use the vendor’s Lot No. to simplify the traceability.

Purchase Order

A purchase order is created for the item, but before it can be received, Item Tracking must be set to assign the lots to the purchase line.  You can either enter the Lot No. that the vendor-supplied or have the system assign the next available Lot No. 

Next, enter the purchase line. In the Lines FastTab select the Line button and Item Tracking Lines option.  In this example, the order quantity is 100, and the vendor sent us 2 different lots, 19-0111 = 75, 19-0222 = 25, so I’ve entered their Lot Nos. and quantities per Lot in the Item Tracking page.

If I wanted the Lot Nos. automatically assigned, I’d select the Actions tab on the ribbon, then Assign Lot No.

Business Central Item tracking lines

When the receipt is posted, a separate Item Ledger Entry is created for each Item / Lot No. combination. There may be multiple Item Ledger Entries for the same purchase receipt.   In our example, the two entries below were created.

Business Central item ledger entries

Sales Order

When Item 90001 is sold, Item Tracking must be assigned before the shipment can be posted.  Because of the consistent user interface in Business Central, the process to assign the Lots is similar to entering them when receiving the purchase order.

I’ve entered a sales order with a line for item 90001, Quantity = 50, clicked on the Line button, Related Information, then Item Tracking Lines option to open the page. 

Business Central test item with lot no tracking

If you want to manually assign Lot(s) to the order, then click into the Lot No. cell, then the Assist Edit button and a window will open with the Lots in inventory showing the Available Quantity for each.  Click on the Lot you want to assign to the shipment, and the page closes and enters the Lot No. in the Item Tracking page with the maximum quantity it has available to fulfill the order (which you can edit).  If you need multiple Lot Nos. to fulfill the order, then repeat the process in the next line in the page.

If you prefer, Business Central can also auto-assign the lot(s).  Once the Item Tracking page is opened, select Process, Select Entries and a page will open listing the Lots in inventory and assigning the quantity to the available Lot(s).  To accept the suggestion, close the page.

Once Item Tracking has been defined for Item 90001 the shipment and invoice can be posted and the following Item Ledger Entry is created.

Business Central item ledger entries example

Tracing Lots

Use the Item Tracing page to trace the history of an Item & Lot No. combination.  Enter the Item and Lot No. in the filter fields.  In the Trace Method field, select either “Origin -> Usage”, or “Usage -> Origin”, then select the Trace button on the ribbon and the page will populate the transactions that are associated with the combination. 

Business Central item tracing

You can expand/collapse the list or change the tracing direction using the buttons on the ribbon.

A printed report can be produced using the Print button and selecting the columns you want to include.  The image below is based on columns I selected.

Business Central item tracking specification


I hope you found this brief introduction to setting up and using Lot Nos. in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central informative.  If you’d like more information this or any other feature than contact us using the link below. 

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Bob Rainville

Bob Rainville

Bob is a Senior Application Consultant at Innovia Consulting, where he helps businesses implement manufacturing, warehousing, and EDI solutions. He has been working with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and NAV since 2001. At Innovia, he concentrates on our Business Central SaaS clients, especially in the manufacturing industry.

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