by Nicholas Jackson, TrinSoft Senior Dynamics Consultant
TrinSoft exists to “provide value to organizations by using technology to solve business challenges…” This series of blog posts details some of the many customizations (often called extensions) TrinSoft has made to Business Central to fit our clients’ needs, solving simple and complex business challenges.
Dynamics 365 Business Central has robust capabilities for inventory management and inventory tracking. Serial numbers often play a crucial role in managing inventory, especially for those in highly regulated industries. To increase efficiencies in inventory operations, TrinSoft has developed barcode scanning apps for many clients to automatically collect data from received items.
However, a client was having an issue with users accidentally scanning the UPC barcode instead of the serial number barcode, causing inventory tracking issues down the line, a serious issue in highly regulated organizations. Improper tracking of serial numbers could result in the client losing their license to sell, forcing them to close their business.
As a part of this client’s barcode scanning solution, TrinSoft added a feature for serial number validation. A field was added on the item card called “Serial No. Format” which allowed the user to set the expected format for a given serial number.
Given the unique format of serial numbers for each manufacturer, wildcard characters were used to allow maximum flexibility. Here are the characters and the associated rules:
- A “?” represents any letter or numeric character
- A “#” represents any numeric character
- A “@” represents any letter character
- The letters “A” through “Z” represent a specific letter
- The numbers “0” through “9” represent a specific number
- The characters “-“, “.”, “:”, and “ “ represent these specific characters
- Any white space at the beginning or end will be trimmed
- Any other characters would cause an error upon entering of the format
For example, if a given item’s serial number was “GLK-10291”, but the numbers varied for each item, the associated format would be “GLK-#####”. This would allow serial numbers such as “GLK-10844”, but prevent values such as “SIG-21832”.
Upon scanning an item to be received, if the serial number does not match the predefined format, an error would be shown to the user and require them to correct it before moving on to the next item. If an item is not serial tracked, or this feature is not required for an item, leaving the “Serial No. Format” field blank will skip this validation.
This feature was incredibly useful for the client, but they quickly recognized the burden of creating the serial number formats for the thousands of serial-tracked items they sell. Adding serial number formats for new items would be added to the item creation process, but already existing items needed the formats created.
To resolve this, TrinSoft wrote code that looked at the client’s current inventory, pulled the serial numbers on-hand for each item, and provided a serial number format that matched nearly all items on hand. This data was then bulk uploaded into the client’s environment, allowing full leveraging of the feature with full compliance and little to no manual data entry.
This solution saved the client countless hours of manually finding items in the warehouse that were incorrectly recorded from data entry issues. This also enabled the client’s serial number list to become clean and stay clean, preventing any bad data from entering the system.
Would you like serial number format restrictions on your inventory? Are there other inventory solutions TrinSoft could help implement? Give us a call today for a free consultation!