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When referring to an industrial product’s manufacturing process we use the term fabrication batch or fabrication lot.

I would like to know whether there is a difference between these terms.

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Thank you both! Your answers are very comprehensive and leave no doubt. This said how can I decide whose answer to choose? – Lucian Sava Mar 13 '14 at 11:31
Don't choose an answer so quickly. Give it half a day or so. There may be more words of enlightenment coming. – J.R. Mar 13 '14 at 11:51
@J.R., Good point. – Lucian Sava Mar 13 '14 at 12:27
In order to maintain equilibrium within my question I choose the less up voted answer. – Lucian Sava Mar 14 '14 at 7:45
@LucianSava Aww. That's something I learned! Equilibrium to choose the correct one! – Maulik V Mar 18 '14 at 12:14
up vote 4 down vote accepted

In the general sense, no. However, in any field, the more expertise you have, the more likely a subtle difference could emerge.

I used OneLook to look up both words in business dictionaries. There, I found this pertinent entry for lot at BusinessDictionary.com:

lot 1. Defined quantity of a thing used as a unit of inventory, output, sale, sampling, or transportation. Items in a lot are of a single class, composition, model, size, type, or version, are produced under essentially the same conditions, and are intended to have uniform quality and characteristics within specified limits. A lot is ordered, sold, released, or delivered in its entirety. An exact lot is called a round lot, any quantity more or less than a lot is called an odd lot. Also called batch.

batch 1. Quantity of goods or material produced in a single manufacturing run.

From that, I make two conclusions:

  • Based on the "also called batch" part, I assume there are at least some contexts where the two words could be used interchangeably.

  • Based on the definitions, the word lot seems like it may be a more appropriate word when referring to a batch after it has shipped. In other words, I might be more likely to refer to the goods on the palette as a batch while it's still in the manufacturing plant, and a lot after it has left the warehouse.

That said, this is not my area of expertise, so I might have been misled by the more complete definition of lot as opposed to batch. Still, it's worth pointing out how specialized dictionaries are available online to help answer these kinds of questions.

In the U.S. there is a chain of stores called Big Lots (formerly called Odd Lots) that sells discounted merchandise – usually closed out or overproduced goods. I don't know if the store's name backs my hypothesis, or if it's simply coincidence that the store isn't named Big Batches.

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It may be a sign that I'm overdue for sleep, but Big Batches somehow sounds dirty. :) – Jolenealaska Mar 13 '14 at 10:42
I scrolled down to see an answer which pretty matches what I was going to write from my intuition. Batch tend to refer to manufacturing, and lot tends to refer to shipping/packaging, even though they can often be used interchangeably. – nitro2k01 Mar 13 '14 at 14:57

Correct. We use both terms - fabrication batch or fabrication lot. I found a piece of information that will clear the doubt. Though this is not exactly the same you asked but in general, this will be useful. The reference is from FDA

Batch means a specific quantity of a drug or other material that is intended to have uniform character and quality, within specified limits, and is produced according to a single manufacturing order during the same cycle of manufacture.

Lot means a batch, or a specific identified portion of a batch, having uniform character and quality within specified limits; or, in the case of a drug product produced by continuous process, it is a specific identified amount produced in a unit of time or quantity in a manner that assures its having uniform character and quality within specified limits.

Additional note: When the product is out, it's generally batch with number.

enter image description here

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According to APICS, founded in 1957 as the American Production and Inventory Control Society, a batch is -for discrete products- planned to be the standard batch quantity, but during production, the standard batch quantity may be broken in smaller lots.

Also according to APICS a lot is: "A quantity produced together and sharing the same production costs and specifications".

By this logic, then, a lot is equivalent to part or whole of a batch.

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Thank you for your answer and the additional light.+1 – Lucian Sava Nov 13 '14 at 9:40

Based on my experience in the pharmaceutical industry, lot and batch are usually used interchangeably. But this can vary from company-to-company or even from department-to-department. There may even be SOPs that define the terms for some pharma companies.

I tended to use "lot" instead of "batch" whenever I was compiling data tables because "lot(s)" has fewer letters than "batch(es" and it is often essential to squeeze table columns as narrow as possible to fit more data into a table.

Below I have provided some typical usage examples:

Personally, if I wanted to be very fussy, I would distinguish the words as follows:

A batch is what you actually make. For example:

"I am going to make a batch of tablets."

(None of my co-workers would ever say they were going to make a "lot" of tablets, they would say they were going to make a "batch" of tablets.)

A lot is how you describe or define the batch, or a portion of the batch, after it has been made for traceability purposes or down-stream processing purposes. For example:

"The batch of tablets was designated as lot 1, and lot 1 was packaged into 30-count bottles designated as lot 1-A. Lot 1 was also packaged into unit dose blister cards designated as lot 1-B."

I have never heard anyone say that they were going to packaged something into a new "batch." You would package something into a new "lot."

Many people would say: "I am going to make a big batch of cookies." But no one ever says they are going to make a big lot of cookies.


I also know some people who think a "batch" is something made from more than one ingredient. For example:

"The batch of tablets was made from aspirin, microcrystalline celluose, sodium starch glycolate, and magnesium stearate. A single lot of sodium starch glycolate was used to make the batch of aspirin tablets. Two lots of microcrystalline cellulose were used to make the batch of aspirin tablets."


Again, I am sure lot & batch usage varies so the above examples merely represent my experience at three pharmaceutical companies.

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+1 Thanks for the supplemental insight! – Lucian Sava Apr 7 at 20:25

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