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Projects:Referenced Inventory/Functional Specification


Functional Requirements

Objectives and Definition

Many companies move and store goods grouped in a RollTainer, Case or Box. The generic term for these is container and includes any kind of object that can contains goods. These movements can be inside a warehouse or between warehouses, and even between warehouses of cooperating business partners. The containers may be reusable or maybe disposable and have different sizes and purposes and are suitable for different typs of goods. This is the use-case of Shared References as explained below.

At the same time it is relevant to identify goods that are measured in a Natural Unit like mass or length, when we want to talk about a specific example of this product. This is the use-case of Unique References as explained below.

In both use-cases, identifying a product or a group of products by a single scan and functionality that allows to create/remove the container and add/remove goods into that container facilitates enormously the handling of products while avoiding the typical errors from human intervention.

Definition: Referenced Inventory is the functionality that identifies one or multiple storage details (Stock records) by using a "Reference Number". The Reference Number can have two distinct uses as illustrated below:

Reference Types

Shared References Unique References

Shared References: Multiple Storage Details can have a Reference number that is shared with other Storage Details.

Containers, used in the Shared Reference variant, come in different formats and have different purposes and life-cycles.

Scanning the Reference will identify the list of Storage Details. In this case the scanned 'object' can be a roll-cage, box or pallet with a variety of products and quantities for further distribution.

Unique References: A Storage Detail can (optionally) have a reference number, and this reference number is not re-used in other storage details.
Unique Reference numbers can be used as method for Catch Weight, when product has a Base Unit of Measure in weight but specific storage details can have different weight.

Scanning the Reference will point to only one Storage Detail and uniquely identify it. Unique References are used to identify a specific good and distingish it from another good that looks the same but might have different weight, lot, expiry date etceteras.

Compare Shared References to SSCC:

Part of the functionality of the Reference Number is also known as the SSCC Serial Shipping Container Code. While the SSCC is mainly focussed on logistical identification and handling in distribution between business partners (For instance, the SSCC# is present in EDI / ASN), the functionality of the Reference Number not only includes these inter-warehouse logistics but also covers the intra-warehouse logistics that facilitates logistical identification and handling between bins within a warehouse.

Compare Unique References to Price lookup Code:

In Openbravo Advanced Warehousing, the functionality of Unique References / Catch Weight is implicitely included in the way how Attributes are handled. All attribute values are scanneable from the front-end and attributes can be defined to represent the Unique Reference. Moreover, the most common way in Retail to deal with this functionality is through Price Lookup Code (PLU) which is also supported in the Openbravo Commerce Suite.

Compare Unique References to Serial Number:

The Reference number is functionally different fom a Serial Number in the sense that a reference number only exists during the life-time inside the warehouse or between warehouses in the distrubution process: It has no value once it has been shipped to a customer or other third party. A specific Storage Detail in a distribution chain can very well have different Reference Numbers when it was in different warehouses. In contrast, a serial number or lot/batch number identifies the stock during its complete life-time, regardless if it just was manufactured, already distributed and awaiting a customer or sold and perhaps requested a repair or service. Reference numbers and serial/lot number can co-exist as they serve different purposes.




  1. There will be only one transaction that can add or remove a reference number to/from a Storage Detail
  2. Moving a Storage detail out of it's container to a specific destiny bin, constitutes of two transactions, executed in sequence and transparent for the user:
    1. Remove the Reference Number from the Storage Detail i.e. taking the good out of the box (transaction 1)
    2. Move the good to the destiny bin (transaction 2)
  3. A specific Reference Number can only be present in one bin, not in multiple bins at the same time.


There are different types of containers so the Reference Number needs to take into account different characteristics:

Processes from the AWO Back-End

Processes from the AWO Front-End

Technical Implementation

Functions / Transactions



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