We are all used to seeing Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) on the products that we buy everyday. For their own internal processes, most companies tag the products they make, buy or sell with a SKU code for tracking purposes. As products move through the supply chain, it is crucial to cross-reference these codes.
A pair of boots will have a UPC code that indicates the manufacturer and product description, but they may also have a code assigned by the wholesaler, and yet another by the individual retailer that indicates the company division (retail), a style number, a size, etc. Therefore, the same boots being sold by two different retailers will have two different SKUs but the same UPC – depending on their route to the store shelf.
Luckily, inventory management software, like our very own topShelf, allows up to three barcodes to point to one item. This has streamlined the ability of companies to cross-reference the UPC to other SKU values to make inventory tracking error-proof.