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Serial numbers

A serial number is an alphanumeric string of characters that uniquely identifies a single copy of an item. Serial numbers make it possible to trace sold items in the event of an error or a problem. This makes it easier to track down stolen or counterfeit products. Cars, electronics and household appliances are examples of items with serial numbers.

For example, imagine you sell mobile phones. Your manufacturer gives each phone a unique serial number. Every time you sell one of the phones, plentymarkets should keep a record of which copy was sold. In other words, plentymarkets should keep track of which serial number matches which order. This keeps your company on the safe side. If your customer sends the item back, then you can check the serial number and make sure you aren’t getting a counterfeit product.

1. Creating a pool of serial numbers

1.1. Entering serial numbers in the item data record

First, create a pool of serial numbers in plentymarkets. For example, imagine you sell electronic items and your manufacturer has just sent you 50 copies of a mobile phone. Each copy has a unique serial number. First, you’ll enter all 50 serial numbers into plentymarkets. By doing so, you’ll create a pool of available serial numbers for this item.

How many serial numbers do you want to enter? If you only want to enter a few serial numbers, then it makes sense to manually enter them into the item data record. But if you want to enter large quantities of serial numbers, then it will probably be quicker to import them with a tool called ElasticSync.

Manually entering serial numbers:

  1. Go to Item » Edit item.

  2. Search for and open the item.

  3. In the upper row of symbols, click on the Serial numbers symbol ().
    → The Serial numbers window opens.

  4. Enter a serial number in the New serial numbers area.

  5. Save () the serial number or press the enter key to save the serial number.

Importing serial numbers with ElasticSync

Use ElasticSync if you want to enter large quantities of serial numbers at the same time. Do so with the Serial number mapping field, which is available for the Item sync type.

1.2. Searching for, editing or deleting existing serial numbers

Once you’ve entered a serial number, it will be displayed in the overview:

  • Free serial numbers are displayed in green, i.e. serial numbers that do not yet correspond to a specific order.

  • Used serial numbers are displayed in red, i.e. serial numbers that already correspond to a specific order. The order ID is displayed as well.

1.2.1. Searching for serial numbers

You can search for serial numbers in the upper portion of the pop-up window.

Searching for serial numbers:

  1. Go to Item » Edit item.

  2. Search for and open the item.

  3. In the upper row of symbols, click on the Serial numbers symbol ().
    → The Serial numbers window opens.

  4. Use the Status drop-down list to specify whether you want to search for all, free or used serial numbers.

  5. Optional: Enter the serial number into the search field.

  6. Click on Search ().
    → The filtered serial numbers will be displayed.

1.2.2. Editing serial numbers

If you should ever accidentally create the wrong serial number, simply search for the number and edit it.

Editing a serial number:

  1. Search for the serial number.

  2. Click on Edit ().

  3. Enter a new serial number.

  4. Save () the serial number.

1.2.3. Deleting serial numbers

You can either delete individual serial numbers or you can use the Selection drop-down list to delete multiple serial numbers at once. For example, all of the free serial numbers or all of the serial numbers that were created on a specific date.

Deleting multiple serial numbers at once:

  1. Search for the serial numbers.

  2. Use the Selection drop-down list to select serial numbers (), e.g. all of the numbers, free numbers or serial numbers that were created on a specific date.

  3. Click on the delete symbol () in the Selection line.

Why doesn’t the drop-down list work?

The Selection drop-down list can be quite confusing. First, choose an option from the drop-down list. Then click somewhere outside the drop-down list so that it no longer has a blue border. Finally, click on the drop-down list again. At this point, the serial numbers will be selected.

2. Assigning serial numbers to orders

Every time you sell an item with a serial number, plentymarkets should keep a record of which copy was sold. In other words, plentymarkets should keep track of which serial number matches which order.

There are two different ways to assign serial numbers: with a process or with an event procedure:

  • If your items already have serial numbers, then we recommend using a process.

  • If your items do not yet have serial numbers, then we recommend using an event procedure.

2.1. Assignment with a process

Do your items already have serial numbers? For example, imagine you sell mobile phones. Your manufacturer gives each phone a unique serial number in advance. Every time you sell one of the phones, plentymarkets should keep a record of which copy was sold. In other words, plentymarkets should keep track of which serial number matches which order.

Your warehouse technician simply scans the serial number while picking the item in the warehouse. The serial number is automatically assigned to the order. The serial number also automatically appears on the customer’s invoice.

2.1.1. Which items should it be possible to scan?

Your warehouse technician will only be able to scan an item’s serial number if you’ve made the item available.

Making it possible to scan an item:

  1. Go to Item » Edit item.

  2. Search for and open the item that should be scannable.

  3. Click on the Global tab.

  4. Select the setting Yes for the option Serial number.

  5. Save () the settings.

Do you work with lots of items?

Use the so-called item group function to save the setting for several items at once.

2.1.2. Build the process

Create a picking process where your warehouse technician picks items and scans their serial numbers. Use the "Serial numbers" procedure together with the "Register serial numbers" sub-procedure.

The following video tutorial includes an example for scanning serial numbers within a larger picking process:

See how serial numbers are scanned in an example process
Serial numbers that don’t already exist in the item data record

Should it be possible to scan serial numbers that weren’t previously saved in the pool of serial numbers within the item data record? If so, then open the sub-procedure Register serial numbers and set the option New serial numbers to Permit.

This method can save time since the serial numbers don’t need to be saved in advance. But it’s also more prone to errors. For example, what if your warehouse technician accidentally scans the EAN? plentymarkets wouldn’t be able to verify whether this is a real serial number or not.

2.2. Assignment with an event procedure

Do your items not have serial numbers yet? For example, do you sell digital goods like software? In this case, the software doesn’t have any particular serial number in advance. You simply want to assign any available serial number to the download file.

In this case, create an event procedure, which automatically assigns a serial number to an item as soon as the customer has paid for his order in full. The serial number also automatically appears on the customer’s invoice.

Setting up an event procedure
  1. Go to Setup » Orders » Events.

  2. Click on Add event procedure ().
    → The window Create new event procedure opens.

  3. Enter a distinct name for the event procedure.

  4. Select the event according to Table 1.

  5. Save () the settings.

  6. Carry out the settings according to Table 1 vor.

  7. Place a check mark next to the option Active ().

  8. Save () the settings.

Table 1. Event procedure for automatically assigning serial numbers
Setting Option Selection

Event

Payment: Complete

Procedure

Item

Assign serial numbers

3. Exporting serial numbers

Do you want to export serial numbers out of your plentymarkets system? For example, do you want to send your manufacturer a list of all the used serial numbers once per day? Use the so-called FormatDesigner! More specifically, use ItemSerialNumber within the “Item” format type.

4. Accepting returns with serial numbers

Your customers are bound to return items from time to time. But what should you do if they return an item with a serial number?

4.1. Finding order data with the help of a serial number

First, you’ll probably want to figure out which order corresponds to the serial number. There are a few different ways to do this:

4.2. Deleting serial numbers and creating new ones

The serial number was already assigned to the original order. Unfortunately, it’s not currently possible to free up serial numbers that have already been used. Your only option is to manually delete the serial number and then create a new serial number.

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