What is Stock Keeping Unit – SKU?

In the field of inventory management system, a Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) is a product and service identification code, usually alphanumeric or displayed as a machine-readable bar-code that helps track the item for inventory. SKU embodies all the attributes connected with the product that distinguish it from the other products. These attributes could include description, manufacturer, material, size, color, packaging etc. Thus, a code that contains all the information about a product gives it an exclusive ability in your inventory, which means that tracking and recalling a particular product becomes easy. Stock Keeping Unit is often used in physical and online retail stores, Warehouses and product fulfillment centers. Each company creates a different SKU for its services and goods. Businesses use SKU for determining which products are in stock and which need reordering for growing more profit margins.

Differences Between Stock Keeping Units (SKU) and Universal Product Codes (UPC)

UPC or Universal Product Code is another identifying factor associated with products. But there is a notable difference between Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) and Universal Product Code (UPC). Whereas SKU are seller dependent and it is established by the merchant, UPC remains the same even when various sellers offer the respective products to customers. SKU determine detail information about the product while UPC tracks only basic information of the product. A UPC is identical across all the retailers whereas SKU is unique to each individual seller. SKU can have any number of alphanumeric characters depending on seller’s identification system, while UPC is a combination of 12 numbers and include barcodes.