What is a SKU?

SKU stands for Stock Keeping Unit, which is a unique identifier for each of your products that makes it easier to track inventory.


Working with many clients to deliver their fulfilment requirements, we need to operate an efficient stock control system that ensures that we’re always on top of every item of stock stored in our warehouse. As part of this system, we use individual codes for each piece of stock, known as a stock keeping unit (SKU). Here we answer some of the most asked questions about SKUs.

Your product SKUs are added into our database upon arrival at the warehouse. The product is then placed on the appropriate shelf/storage box etc. Upon receipt of an order, the pick and pack operatives can easily identity the correct product prior to packing and despatching.

It’s very important to link your product SKUs with your order system. At Adstral,our system automatically keeps track of each item as it is picked, packed and despatched, ensuring there is always a clear view of current stock levels.

Keeping track of stock/inventory in this manner enables businesses to accurately forecast sales and can help them work out when they need to re-order products, ensuring they never run out.

A SKU and a barcode are two different systems. A printed SKU can be easily read and understood by a human operator while a barcode, consisting of bars and spaces, is a machine-readable representation of numerals and characters and requires a barcode reader and software to identify the inventory. However, a barcode can contain SKU data. Some order fulfilment companies operate both systems to ensure complete order accuracy.

A SKU is normally alphanumeric between 8 and 12 characters long (i.e. ABC-DEF-1234). When choosing your alphanumeric code, ensure that it has a meaning and not some randomly selected bunch of numbers and letters. This makes it much easier to identify the related product and variants.

A SKU enables order fulfilment companies to keep accurate and precise tracking of all inventory under their roof. In the case of large fulfilment houses such as ourselves, our warehouses can store millions of items of stock belonging to multiple clients. A SKU system enables us to know exactly how much of each product we have at any given time and also assists in order picking accuracy.

There is no limit but every SKU has to be unique. Most order fulfilment companies handle huge numbers of products at any given time, and our SKU system enables us to accommodate unique codes for every single item.


Want to find out if our order fulfilment service is for you?

Contact our sales team today – 01793 725043 or hit the button below