Note: Lot Tracking and FEFO are in the Beta testing phase and are only available to a selection of merchants at this time. If you are interested in participating in the Beta, please submit this form.
Please see the Compliance Responsibility and FEFO Implementation section below for information on legal liability and how first expires first out works in our network.
What are FEFO and Lot Tracking for Recall Management?
First Expires First Out Fulfillment:
Fulfillment based on expiration date. Older products are shipped to customers first in order to avoid fulfilling old or expired products and to increase customer satisfaction.
Order-Level Lot Tracking for Recall Management:
Track Lot code batches from inbound to order fulfillment. In the event of a recall:
1. Remove or dispose of inventory for a specific lot code
2. View the orders associated with a lot code. This will help facilitate direct communication with customers impacted by a recall.
Why are FEFO and Lot Tracking important?
1. Industry trends
In 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a plan to increase food safety, which includes a focus on:
- Tech-enabled traceability
- Smarter tools for prevention and outbreak response
- New business models and retail modernization
- Food safety culture
The FDA’s 2020 guidance for the food industry specifies that in the event of a recall, merchants should supply a list of customers who received the recalled lot code. Traceability and optimized recall management are important components the Food & Beverage ecommerce supply chain.
2. Customer experience
Merchants can enable FEFO in order to ship fresher products to their customers and avoid expired products in inventory. FEFO helps ensure buyers receive fresher products.
Additionally, with Lot Tracking for Recall Management, merchants are able to identify the orders containing a recalled lot code. With this information in hand, direct communication with buyers impacted by a recall is possible. By proactively communicating with the buyers who received a recall lot, merchants can earn greater trust with their customers.
First Expires First Out Fulfillment
What are the merchant requirements for FEFO?
1. Expiration date must be printed on each physical unit and be visible during the inbound receive process.
- This is so Deliverr can ensure accuracy of expiration date during the inbound receive process at the warehouse. We will validate the expiration date of the physical unit against the expiration date entered in Seller Portal during shipping plan creation.
2. All cartons in a FEFO shipping plan must be single SKU. Each SKU must have only one Expiration Date per shipping plan.
- There can be multiple SKUs in a single shipping plan, but each SKU must have one expiration date.
- This is to reduce the risk of inaccurate receiving and confusion downstream. For merchants who wish to inbound multiple Expiration Dates, you must create multiple shipping plans during the Beta phase.
How does FEFO work?
1. On the inventory detail page, merchants can enable a SKU for expiration date fulfillment. When a SKU is enabled for FEFO, Deliverr will inbound that SKU only to the warehouses with FEFO capability. There are warehouses with FEFO capability in every region of the U.S.
2. When creating a shipping plan for a SKU that is FEFO-enabled, you will see a new page requesting the expiration date format and the actual expiration date of the product. There are two options for date formats: mm/dd/yyyy and mm/yyyy.
Please ensure that you enter the expiration date exactly as printed on the product. Otherwise, you risk noncompliance during the receive process.
3. Once Deliverr receives the FEFO products, we will start fulfilling based on expiration date (see Compliance Responsibility and FEFO Implementation section below for additional details).
4. Once a shipping plan is created, the inventory detail page will populate with the status and inventory count broken down by expiration date.
5. Merchants can request to mark a specific expiration date as unavailable by creating a ticket to our Support team*, and Deliverr will stop fulfilling this batch. Our Support team will handle this request and confirm once the expiration date batch is marked as unavailable in our system.
- Once our Support team marks the batch as unavailable, this inventory will appear in the Unavailable column.
*In March 2023, merchants will be able to self-serve request through Seller Portal (rather than creating a ticket) that an expiration date batch be quarantined in order to stop fulfilling orders. From there, merchants can work with our team to put the batch back into inventory or remove/dispose of this expiration date.
6. Additionally, we offer merchants the ability to turn off FEFO fulfillment for a SKU at any time.
How much does FEFO cost?
There is no surcharge for FEFO fulfillment.
Lot Tracking for Recall Management
What are merchant requirements for Lot Tracking?
1. In order to ensure accuracy of Lot Tracking for Recall Management, each physical unit must display the lot code and be visible during the inbound receive process.
- Please note: The accuracy of lot tracking is lessened with the absence of scannable barcodes encoded with lot numbers an each sellable unit. We know that scannable lot barcodes an each unit are not yet industry standard, so we're allowing participation in the Lot Tracking Beta even without lot barcodes. Deliverr cannot guarantee the accuracy of lot traceability throughout the warehouse from inventory receive to order fulfillment, and merchants will assume the risk of removing or disposing units from the wrong lot in the event of a recall.
2. All cartons in a Lot Tracking shipping plan must be single SKU. Each SKU must have only one lot code per shipping plan. There can be multiple SKUs in a single shipping plan, but each SKU must have one lot code.
- This is to reduce the risk of inaccurate receiving and confusion downstream. For merchants who wish to inbound multiple lot codes, you must create multiple shipping plans during the Beta phase.
How does Lot Tracking work?
1. On the inventory detail page, merchants can enable a SKU for Lot Tracking. When a SKU is enabled for Lot Tracking, Deliverr will inbound that SKU only to warehouses with Lot Tracking capability. There are warehouses with Lot Tracking capability in every region of the U.S.
If FEFO is already enabled, click on the settings icon in the top right corner of the lot tracking section to enable recall management (Lot Tracking).
2. When creating a shipping plan for a SKU that is enabled for Lot tracking, you will see a new page requesting the Lot Number of the product you're inbounding.
Please ensure that you enter the Lot Number exactly as printed on the product.
3. Once a shipping plan containing a lot code is created, the inventory detail page will show the status and inventory count broken down by Lot Number. Note: if your SKUs are also enabled for FEFO, you will see both expiration date and Lot number.
4. Merchants can request to mark a specific lot code as unavailable, and Deliverr will stop fulfilling this batch. Our Support team will handle this request and confirm once the batch is marked as unavailable in our system.
- Once our Support team marks the lot code batch as unavailable, this inventory will appear in the Unavailable column.
*In March 2023, merchants will be able to self-serve request through Seller Portal (rather than creating a ticket) that a lot code date batch be quarantined in order to stop fulfilling orders. From there, merchants can work with our team to put the batch back into inventory or remove/dispose of this lot code.
5. In the event of a recall, merchants can reach out to our Support team to request a report of all orders shipped to customers with containing the lot number impacted by the recall. This will allow merchants to provide more proactive communication to customers and manage recalls more effectively.
6. Additionally, we offer merchants the ability to turn off Lot Tracking for a SKU at any time.
How much does Lot Tracking cost?
There is a $0.10 per ordered unit surcharge for SKUs that are enabled for lot tracking.
If a removal will be required as part of recall - please refer to the How Do I Remove Inventory From Deliverr? for instructions and cost
Compliance Responsibility and FEFO Implementation
Deliverr/Shopify do not assume responsibility for the accuracy or compliance of recall management. Additionally, FEFO and Lot Tracking only apply to inbounds that are created AFTER a SKU is enabled for FEFO and/or Lot Tracking.
The information provided on this page is intended to provide general description of the FEFO and Lot tracking program at Deliverr/Shopify. It remains the customer's obligation to comply with any product recalls, and inform Deliverr/Shopify of any special handling or compliance requirements regarding the products it provides to the network. Deliverr/Shopify does not assume compliance responsibility regarding recalls or expiration date fulfillment, and any information provided in the FEFO or lot tracking service offerings is informational in nature only. Deliverr/Shopify makes no representations or warranties of accuracy in any information provided. The specific service levels vary by merchant.
First Expires First Out (FEFO) fulfillment works slightly differently at the network level vs. warehouse level. At the network level, we do not always fulfill the oldest expiration date first. We factor in both expiration date and shipping cost when deciding from which warehouses to ship the FEFO products. Our fulfillment algorithm aims to minimize both future spoilage (expiration) and shipping costs. What this means, is that sometimes it makes more sense to ship a product that doesn't have the oldest expiration date but that is closer to the buyer because there is little chance of future spoilage. Conversely at the warehouse level, we always fulfill the oldest expiration date first. For example, if a warehouse contains three different expiration dates for the same SKU, we will always fulfill the oldest date of the three dates in the warehouse. Our network-level implementation of FEFO could lead to higher spoilage in theory, but we have not seen a significantly higher occurrence in practice. Deliverr/Shopify does not assume responsibility for expired products in inventory. It is a merchant responsibility to manage their products by date.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Do FEFO and Lot Tracking apply to existing inventory in the Deliverr network?
No, FEFO and Lot Tracking will only apply to inbounds that are created after FEFO and/or Lot Tracking are enabled for a SKU.
2. Can a SKU be both FEFO and Order-Level Lot Tracked?
Yes, SKUs can be both FEFO and order-level lot tracked. Merchants will need to enable both capabilities for each SKU on the inventory detail page.
3. Will lot numbers and expiration dates be included in the Deliverr API?
Yes, we're are planning to add expiration date and lot number to our public API. We know that sellers need to manage inventory by expiration date and lot number in their ERPs. We will provide an estimated timeline once we have more details.
4. Does Deliverr plan to offer First in First Out (FIFO) fulfillment?
FIFO is fulfillment based on the date the product was received into the network (rather than expiration date). We do not have plans to build a FIFO solution in 2022. If this is a capability your business needs, please reach out to email@example.com with your suggestion.
5. What happens to a FEFO or Lot Tracked product that is returned?
At this time, our returns feature does not have awareness of expiration dates or lot numbers. This means, if a product is returned and placed back into inventory, we cannot guarantee that this product will be fulfilled FEFO or be identifiable for recall management purposes.
6. Can Deliverr track serial numbers?
No, Deliverr cannot track serial numbers at at this time. This is not on our roadmap, but if serial number tracking is something your business needs, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
7. Will FEFO negatively impact Fast Tags?
Deliverr will aim to distribute expiration date batches across the five regions in order to avoid any negative impact to Fast Tags. However, if a batch of products is located in some regions and not others during Beta, there could be an effect on Fast Tags coverage.
8. Can Deliverr do mock recalls?
This is not a common practice, but we can handle these requests on a case by case basis. There will be a fee to conduct a mock recall. Please reach out to your Deliverr rep if this is a requirement.
9. Can Deliverr implement FEFO and Lot Tracking for kitted products?
No, not at this time. Kits may contain multiple expiration dates or lot codes. However, kits are treated as a single SKU in the Deliverr network. We are unable to track multiple expiration dates and lot codes for a singe parent SKU. We may offer this capability in the future.
10. Can I inbound products that need FEFO and Lot Tracking to Reserve Storage?
Yes, however inbounding such products to Reserve Storage will work slightly differently than eCommerce fulfillment inbounds in the short term. When inbounding to Reserve Storage, Deliverr does not currently have a way to validate that the lot code/expiration date inputs provided by the merchant during shipping plan creation match the lot code/expiration date on the physical units being received. During Reserve Storage receiving, we will simply capture that lot code and expiration date we see on the products. We're working on building validation capability in Q1-Q2 2023 with the aim of increasing lot code/expiration date data accuracy. As mentioned above, Deliverr does not assume responsibility for accuracy of the lot code and expiration date information we capture during the receive process.