FEATURE HIGHLIGHT: Inventory Holds and Statuses

Tracking and managing client inventory is a fundamental service provided by multi-client 3PL partners in today’s supply chain environment. Properly managing inventory not only means keeping client inventories separate from each other but, also sometimes, keeping client sub-inventories separate as well. A common example would be damaged or unsaleable units of a particular stock keeping unit (SKU) being identified separately from the saleable units of the same SKU. Further, it may not always be practical to physically segregate the damaged from saleable units, so it becomes necessary to identify that a stretch wrapped pallet of cartons includes both cartons that are damaged and unsaleable. Damages are not the only status that a 3PL service provider may be required to identify and separately handle, report, etc. on behalf of their clients. ViewPoint Logistics™ offers a very flexible user-defined Hold Code capability that supports these and other related requirements.

Inventory Location

A Hold (or Status) Code is an attribute that is attached to a SKU (product), sub grouping (lot or batch), individual physical instance or a particular SKU (location, pallet id, carton id, roll number, etc.) which eliminates the need to set up and maintain separate inventory items by Hold or Status. This supports visibility of all inventories for a particular SKU, regardless of Hold or Status as well as supports drill down visibility of a specific Hold or Status for that SKU or across SKUs.

Set-up Options

In the process of defining a Hold (or Status) Code for use, a number of options exist.

1. Hold (or Status) Category

If used, categories allow for visibility of like Hold (or Status) Codes and they are user-defined. For example, it may be important to track damages by type or source. Although all relate to damage, it could be useful to identify and track the following separately:

  • Carrier Damage
  • Concealed Damage
  • In-House Damage

Each of these has a different source and, possibly, different rules for resolution. Separate Hold (or Status) Codes would allow each of these to be identified and tracked separately whereas a Hold (or Status) category of damages would allow them to be rolled up to show the total number of units of a particular SKU that are unsaleable because they are damaged in a particular way.

2. Hold (or Status) Codes

As the fundamental aspect of this functionality, this is the attribute that is going to be attached to the targeted inventory. The Code is user-defined so that it can conform to the internal conventions of either the 3PL service provider or their clients and trading partners.

3. Attributes – Required And Optional

After creating a Hold (or Status) Code, you’re allowed to assign the attributes that can cause ViewPoint Logistics™ to handle the inventory to which the Hold (or Status) Code is attached.

  • Billing Surcharges and Discounts: a Hold (or Status) Code can be configured to assess a percentage surcharge or discount to incoming handling, incoming storage, recurring storage or outbound handling.

  • Allow or Disallow Ordering: a Hold (or Status) Code can be flagged to allow or disallow ordering (shipping) of the inventory to which it is attached. A Shippable Hold (or Status) Code prevents the attached inventory from being included in the automatic allocation of inventory to an order but does allow an operator to specifically allocate it. This means that the Hold product does not require the removal of the Hold to order it out, therefore preventing accidental automatic allocation after the removal of the Hold. The ability to release product on Shippable Hold can be limited to operators with sufficient security authorization.

  • Hold (or Status) Code Types: along with the basic Physical Hold which is attached to specific inventory (by location, id, etc.), ViewPoint Logistics™ supports:

    • Fungible Holds: applied to a quantity of inventory but not tied to particular locations or ids. An example of the typical use of this type of Hold (or Status) is in the setting aside of a specific quantity of a product or lot for a designated customer or use. Because the Hold (or Status) is not assigned at the location or id level, normal operational processing of the free balance of the product or lot is not complicated by location or id level accounting.

    • Blanket Holds: applied to ALL inventory associated to a particular client and/or SKU and/or lot and is also not tied to particular locations or ids. An example of the typical use of this type of Hold (or Status) is in setting aside the total balance of a lot that has been designated for Recall or Quality Hold. Because the Hold (or Status) is not assigned at the location or id level, there is no requirement for an operator to call up all inventories by location or id and physically assign the Hold (or Status). This greatly reduces the time involved in putting the balance of a product or lot on the Hold (or Status).

  • Overlapping Holds (or Statuses) – allow for the potential condition that specific inventory has multiple requirements for being excluded from normal floor process (i.e. it is both damaged and held for inspection).

  • Automatic Holds (or Statuses) – allow for the application to be configured to automatically place a newly received lot of a particular SKU to be assigned as Hold (or Status). This feature can be very helpful in handling the scenario where it is required that each new receipt of product must be placed on a Quality or Inspection Hold (or Status). No operator intervention is required, if this feature is in place.

As it makes operational sense, multiples attributes above can be attached to the same Hold (or Status) Code.

Operational Process

Assignment or release of Holds (or Statuses) can be performed from either a desktop or radio frequency (RF) device based upon security authorization. If Holds (or Statuses) are assigned or released based on instructions from the client of the 3PL service provider, an electronically received instruction, usually via electronic data interchange (EDI), can be set up to automatically change the status of the product in some cases.

Examples of Use

The commonly used example is in the physical identification and segregation of units of inventory that might be damaged. Other common uses include:

  • Identification of consigned inventory where the inventory is saleable but has been set aside for a specific customer requirement or use.

  • Hold of inventory against settlement of outstanding accounts receivable allows normal in-and-out processing until the inventory level drops to a designated quantity. This can be used to prevent inventory from being withdrawn without proper account settlement.


As is the case with many services provided by multi-client 3PLs, there are various ways that Inventory Holds and Statuses might be implemented on behalf of a client. ViewPoint Logistics™ meets this challenge by allowing flexibility in choosing the strategy that meets the requirement of your specific clients.

If Inventory Holds and Statuses is a feature you require or wish to implement, ask your MAVES representative to show you how ViewPoint Logistics™ can help or email us at sales@maves.com for further details.