The 3 ways serial tracking saves the electronics industry money

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Serial number tracking – if you’re not doing you probably need to. For the electronics industry in particular serial tracking is crucial: with small expensive parts, and after-sales service often critical (and time-consuming), it’s important that you know exactly what components you – and your customers, have on hand.

These are the 3 main reasons digital serial number tracking is now considered standard best practice for the electronics industry

1. Serial tracking reduces the cost of recalls

Probably the most expensive product recall ever in the electronics industry is the infamous exploding phone debacle of 2016. The battery in Samsung’s Galaxy Note7 phone was prone to catching fire – which saw the US Department of Transportation banning the phones from all flights. The subsequent mass product recall is said to have cost the company $5.3 billion, which is about as bad as a product recall can get.

That’s an extreme example, but it highlights why serial number tracking is so important in electronics. Many components get used in multiple product types. Meanwhile, some components are visually indistinguishable, yet are sourced from totally different factories and suppliers.

So when a faulty (or even dangerous) component makes its way into your supply chain, it’s critical that you’re able to identify exactly where everything came from, went to – and what it went in.

Knowing that level of detail – and having it readily to hand via a system like Unleashed Software – is the difference between making a surgical, targeted – and far cheaper – product recall, versus being forced to make a costly widespread withdrawal of products.

2. Serial tracking makes after-sales service cheaper

Whether you’re selling B2B or B2C, having good relationships with your customers is critical to success – and in the electronics industry, good customer care often means good after-sales service.

Printing is the classic example here. Replacing toner and servicing machines is a major part of the printer sales business model – and serial number tracking powers the whole process. Everything from cartridges to cogs are used in multiple models of printer and scanner, creating a complex matrix of components and the products they’re used in.

It’s a system that simply falls down without digital serial number tracking – and you needn’t have such a complex operation yourself to need it too. A proper digital serial number tracking system lets you see exactly what components are used in each of your products – and whether you have any more of them in stock. That means you’re able to quickly and easily replace parts for your customers, which removes a big part of the pain from your after-sales service process – and that both saves you money, and keeps your reputation sound.

3. Serial number tracking keeps your inventory lean (and production lines running)

Is an electronics stock take the worst kind of stock take? With electronic componentry tiny, expensive and sometimes hard to tell apart, the process of stock taking can be excruciating for electronics manufacturers. Yet it’s equally important that expensive components not be over-ordered – or else under-stocked, leading to costly delays.

Thankfully an inventory management system like Unleashed makes that complex dance easily manageable. With barcode scanners recording every stock movement, and valuable items identified down to an individual level with serial tracking, stock levels can be confidently kept lean, which frees up cash while keeping production on track.

How Unleashed helps electronics manufacturers

Interested in how Unleashed helps the electronics industry? Learn about the software’s benefits here, or simply sign up to one of our weekly live webinars and have your questions answered by an expert host.

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Greg Roughan - Unleashed Software
Greg Roughan

Article by Greg Roughan in collaboration with our team of inventory management and business specialists. Greg has been writing, publishing and working with content for more than 20 years. His writing motto is 'don't be boring'. His outdoors motto is ''I wish I hadn't brought my headtorch', said nobody, ever'. He lives in Auckland, New Zealand, with his family.

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