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Image of a variety of asset tag labels for stock control

Serial numbers dictate much of modern stock control and distribution. They're an efficient method of communication, even though most see them as a bunch of random letters and numbers. The major advantage of a serial number is that it will always be unique, so there is little chance for confusion to occur.

However, given their unique nature, serial numbers can be complicated. When serial number labels are used by a business, there needs to be an understanding of how they function.

Below, we provide a full guide on how to use serial numbers, what serial numbers mean, as well as a short history of them.

What Do Serial Numbers Mean?

Much like fingerprints, each serial number is wholly unique. Serial numbers can be used everywhere, from hardware and software to banknotes and secure documentation.

A serial number provides an identity to a singular item or product. While some non-serial codes can identify a line or range of products, a serial number is reserved for one item only.

For a product range, a serial number will always begin with the item code for that number. So, if a business sold an item that had the item number “QX3000”, all serial numbers would begin with “QX3000”. The numbers after that would identify the specific product.

A stand-out example is with car manufacturers. Each car part has its own serial number, which helps with finding replacements, but also helps to trace the parts if the car is stolen.

By using serial numbers, a person or system can easily identify what the model is and the exact product in question. This can help a business organise stock, recalls and refunds effectively, as well as opening up avenues for automation.

When Were Serial Numbers Invented?

They seem like a modern invention, but the practice of numbering goods and property can be traced back to Roman times. Archaeological digs have revealed stonework from the Roman era that was inscribed with a basic set of serial numbers, so we’ve been numbering things for a long time!

Since then, humans have used serialised numbers to mark everything, mainly since they worked across different language and cultural barriers. As international banks and markets were founded, the need to have a system to regulate mass numbers of cash made serial numbers even more important. Following banks, export networks demanded a recognisable tracking system worldwide.

Serial numbers are now typically found on serial number labels and tags. Whether it’s a small business or an international conglomerate, businesses and institutions rely on serial numbers to function.

How to Use Serial Numbers Effectively

To use serial numbers effectively, you need two things:

  • A system or database that records serial number data.
  • Serial number labels.

The former is significantly more complicated than the latter. In essence, you need a stock control system that incorporates serial numbers. These are usually updated via scanners during import, export and recalls.

For serial number labels, you need to put a process in place wherein each product has a unique serial number. These are usually scanned or recorded at key stages from importing to exporting.

While some products have etched-in serial numbers, others use a label. These can be complemented by a barcode, which helps with tracking.

To learn more about the history and use of barcode labels, read our detailed blog on the subject: ‘How Did People Shop Before Barcodes? The History & Development of Barcode Labels’.

Without labels, it can be difficult to know what the serial number of a product is and can lead to disorganised stock control.

Get Your High-Quality Serial Number Labels Today

At Label Source, we stock a wide range of high-quality, self-adhesive serial number labels and tags.

If your business can benefit from the stock control serial numbers allows, then browse our full range of stock control labels today.

Image of a series of property labels marking different types of equipment

Property labels are effective at communicating which items or stock belong to who. This can assist a workplace in the organisation of stock, as well as deterring theft and other crime.

Marking your property needs to be done properly, however, otherwise the label may as well not be there.

Below, we’ll discuss our range of property labels, their uses, benefits and how to use them.

The Benefits of Marking Your Property

Marking your property – whether it is your stock or personal items – can have numerous benefits. Namely, properly marked goods can:

  • Improve organisation and stock control.
  • Deter thieves from stealing the property.
  • Leave behind traceable evidence should theft occur.
  • Allow stock to be returned to you should it be lost in transit.

This is made better with the three different property label options we have at Label Source: self-adhesive polyester, part-laminated write and seal, and tamperproof destructible labels.

Self-adhesive labels provide an extra layer of protection, limiting the probability of markings being left behind after a property label has been used.

Write and seal property labels offer an additional layer of protection against chemicals, whereas tamperproof destructible labels will leave permanent markings behind when removed, meaning thieves cannot resell an item easily.

How to Use Property Labels

You can only reap these benefits if you know how to use property labels. To use them properly, you must first pick the right type of property label.

For example, if you’re trying to protect a very valuable piece of equipment, then it’s probably better to use a tamperproof label as this provides the most tangible theft deterrence.

Once you’ve picked the right label, you must ensure placement achieves the following three conditions:

  • The label is easily seen – it’s no good having a property label that is difficult to find or is obstructed.
  • The label is affixed properly – if the label isn’t placed down properly, then it is likely that it won’t function.
  • Written information is legible and correct – ensure the information you put on the label is correct, especially your contact information.

While using property labels is a little self-explanatory, it’s important you don’t skip any steps.

Get Your Property Labels Today

If you have property and stock that you must protect, then you need property labels.

We have a wide range available at Label Source, so browse our catalogue today.

Equipment terminal labels help businesses organise and identify electrical conductors and terminations. This not only reduces the chances of electrocution and other injuries, but it makes maintenance and repairs easier.

Find out how to identify electrical conductors and electrical terminations with equipment terminal labels, and how they can benefit your business below.

How to Identify Electrical Conductors 

An electrical conductor is something that allows the flow of charge in one or more directions. Conductors are usually made of metal and can take the form of wires, cables or junction boxes.

As they contain a live flow of electricity, electrical conductors must be identified properly. This is to ensure that untrained people know that they contain electricity, and electricians know more in-depth information before conducting maintenance.

Equipment terminal labels help by identifying the following:

  • Positive and negative currents
  • Earthed conductors
  • Presence of protective insulation
  • Parasitic currents
  • Alternating currents

As a result, these labels provide all the information needed to identify an electrical conductor. At a glance, someone can see that it is an electrical conductor and work out what type it is.

This information helps to keep people safe. Even if you know little about electricity or electronics, warnings about voltage, currents and other terminology are enough to stop people from getting hurt or causing costly repairs for your business.

How to Identify Electrical Terminations

Electrical terminations provide mechanical support and protection for a cable. There are a total of four electrical termination types:

  • Straight joints
  • Branch joints
  • Pot ends
  • Indoor/outdoor terminations

They’re easy to identify if you’re a trained electrician, but to the untrained eye, it’s a little more difficult.

Since each type of termination carries different levels of voltages and their own dangers, they need to be easily identifiable by untrained people. As such, electrical terminal labels can be used to communicate their dangers and characteristics, thus keeping people safe.

Electrical terminations can be expensive and difficult to replace, too, so marking them accurately is worthwhile to prevent accidental damage.

Get Equipment Terminal Labels Today

If you have a lot of electrical equipment in your business, then you need equipment terminal labels. Our full range is of high quality, complete with self-adhesive and laminated options.