Sub Batch Numbers vs. Serial Numbers: Improving Traceability in Life Sciences

On February 17, 2022

If you are a life sciences organization in Pharma, Biotech, Medical Devices, or Clinical Trials/Supplies—you must identify and track each container of GMP-critical materials. While Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management does let you manage and track batch numbers and serial numbers, it does not map single product units like drums, bags, or bottles, within a batch.

AX for Pharma 365™ Sub Batches Solve the Problem

To address this critical requirement for life sciences organizations, AX for Pharma 365™ adds a new “Sub Batch” tracking dimension that enables traceability at the container level. The solution also streamlines integration and data exchange with supply chain partners including 3PLs, CMOs, and serialization applications.

What are the advantages of sub batch numbers vs. serial numbers?

Sub batches help organizations overcome the limitations of serial numbers (e.g. non parent-child relationship between batch and serial numbers) and offer enhanced features, including:

  1. Full traceability backward and forward
  2. Parent-child relationship between batch numbers and sub batch numbers
  3. Complete lot/container genealogy
  4. Configurable sub batch number format
  5. Data integrity enforcement: One sub batch cannot be in multiple sites/warehouses/locations/license plates at the same time
  6. Extensive properties for sub batch numbers:
    1. Shelf advice date, Best before date, and Destroy by date
    2. Desiccant expiration date
    3. Sub batch type
    4. Status (blocked/unblocked)
    5. Reason code
    6. Storage conditions
    7. Container configuration
    8. Cautionary statement
    9. Restrictions and Restriction type
    10. Use code (the system checks the use code against the intended use of the transaction and returns a warning/error message if selected combination is not appropriate)
  7. Sub batch properties are inherited from the parent batch number and can be modified by authorized users
  8. Sub batch properties can be copied from the parent batch number for updates or locked to prevent updates
  9. Sampling and sample management depends on sub batch numbers
  10. Label printing with sub batch barcode and sub batch properties
  11. Simplified scanning labels with handheld devices (single scan; no need to scan location, item number, batch number, etc.)
  12. AX for Pharma Weighing & Dispensing system is based on sub batch numbers
  13. Facilitate the integration with 3PLs, CMOs, and serialization applications

It is also important to note a critical distinction between serial numbers and sub batch numbers: Serial numbers do not have to be unique so multiple items of different batches can have the same serial number, whereas sub batches numbers must be unique.

Download our white paper for the full list of pros and cons of sub batch numbers vs. serial numbers.

When to Use Sub Batch Numbers vs. Serial Numbers

AX for Pharma has completed multiple ERP implementations for life science organizations worldwide and recommends the use of sub batch numbers to identify and track containers of GMP-materials such as:

  1. Finished products
  2. Intermediate products
  3. Active ingredients
  4. Excipients

Our AX for Pharma 365™ solution partly extends the serial numbers features in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management and adds the following functionality:

  1. Advanced serial numbering
  2. Expiration date
  3. Block status
  4. Serial registration in procurement and manufacturing process
  5. Serial attributes

Learn How to Improve Traceability with Sub Batch Numbers

If you would like a demonstration of sub batches vs. serial numbers, and how this enhanced functionality improves traceability, contact us today to schedule a personal demonstration of AX for Pharma 365™. We are here to answer any questions you may have.