Stock-Keeping Unit

What Does Stock-Keeping Unit Mean?

A stock-keeping unit (SKU) is a code that consists of letters, numbers, symbols or any combination thereof that uniquely identifies a product or service.


SKUs are used in inventory data management for distinguishing, sorting and recording a tangible or nontangible products.

A stock-keeping unit may also be referred to as a product identifier, product number or item number. It is often referred to as a SKU number

Techopedia Explains Stock-Keeping Unit

A stock-keeping unit is one of the most essential identifiers implemented in the inventory management process. It provides an additional layer of uniqueness besides the name of a product or service. A SKU can be a randomly generated alphanumeric code, or it may consist of a unique company and product code.

Although, there is no specific de facto standard for creating SKUs, each variation of the same product must have a unique code. For example; a computer’s model number must be the same for all the similar units produced, but their SKUs will differ based on their color, geographical distribution channel or the different factories in which they were manufactured.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…