Any crafter that is making a handmade product that people will be ingesting or using on their body should really be utilizing batch records. If you have made the same soap scent two dozen times, and suddenly discover a bar that is lye heavy, how on earth are you going to track down which bars need to be recalled if you don’t have a soap making batch record to track down the problem?
Ways Batch Records Are Helpful
It’s easy to forget how much fragrance or colorant you used when trying to recreate a product. I used to just write it down on a piece of paper and then if I remembered, I’d go into a Google Doc and record all that information. But sometimes when the cure date came around, I couldn’t locate that piece of paper anymore. Was it my vegan recipe or my lard recipe? This is really important information!
A batch record has all that stuff in one convenient place for next time. Just print them off, and keep them in a binder. When you make it again, print off a new record and put it in front of the previous one.
On my own batch records, for the batch number, I use a date system. Say the fragrance is “Lovely Lilac,” for example. My batch number would be “LL011217” – the date being the date the soap will finish curing (January 12, 2017). With this method, you also know how long the soap has been sitting around in your inventory.
Now let’s take a look at how a batch record can help you narrow down what happened with a problem batch.
Every time you make a product, you will print off a new batch record and update the batch number, production date, etc. And when that product is packaged, your batch number from that record will be printed on your labels. That way, if someone complains about a product (or you discover it yourself), you just have to check the batch number on the package to see which one is a problem.
The next question is whether the problem is from an error that you made, or if one of your ingredients is to blame. As long as you record the lot number of each product that went into your batch, you can compare it with the previous batch and see if anything changed. Maybe the lot number on your lye changed? That could be one place to investigate. See if anyone else in your industry has been having issues with the same lot number. Check your other scents that used the same lye and see if there is a problem with them, too.
Free Soap Making Batch Record Template
I’ve created a batch record template for others to use, so “I never had time to sit down and make one” is no longer an excuse. This template has soap-specific input fields, like cure date, trace speed and fragrance discoloration.
Download the Soap Making Batch Record Template. (This is a Google Doc)
Feel free to copy the template and make changes. If you have suggestions on how to improve it, please let me know!