Support for serial numbered returnable, reusable items?

I am looking at a business that has expensive, serial numbered and barcoded containers.

New customers are invoiced for a container and for contents.
Return customers exchange empty ones for filled ones at no additional cost.

The barcoding permits continuous, very detailed tracking of production batch units all the way to customers and back again to the empty containers “Sterilization Required” stock. They also permit authoritative quality complaints to the supplier of the containers (not infrequent).

My question is…

Will I find that ERPNext has support for such a business case by default, or will I need to develop additional capabilities?

Did you figure this out?

It is also discussed here:

Yeah, sort of.

We created one consignment warehousing location for each customer. So for each delivery note for container contents there is a corresponding material transfer of the container from finished goods to the customer consignment location. Returning containers are recorded as material transfers from consignment to the “Sterilization Required” location.

The consignment locations appear in the liabilities branch of accounting, iirc.

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I had to do something like this once for serialized containers as well. When a sale was logged, the container was part of the sale but with a deferred invoice for the container.As part of the delivery note process, the container was (transferred to a ware house called “Containers ICH” (The ICH meant In Customer Hands) while the contents was attributed to the actual delivery address.

If the container did not return in 15 days, and ageing report on the contents of the Containers ICH warehouse would trigger an invoice for the missing container. The same report would also trigger an email and phone call from the seller at the 7 day point as a courtesy reminder to return the container.

Having the containers all in one warehouse made it easier to track everything.

Yes there was some custom work to get done to make it all work properly but it was worth it. The containers were valued at $2,200 each where the contents was valued at only $250. This made the tracking of the containers out at customer facilities very important because they needed to be returned for reuse. In most cases the containers were returned in less than 72 hours.

We thought about creating a special warehouse for each customer, but that would generate so many warehouses that might only ever be used one or two times in the lifetime of the company that it was a data nightmare. That is why we settled on a single warehouse for containers that were outstanding.


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Yeah, our case was of fairly low cost containers cycling quite frequently through only a couple of thousand customers. I saw no reason why we should be concerned about even 10s of thousands of warehouse locations. It’s just a data table, no? Or are there heavy calculation consequences?