My guess is that Bin Tracking grew out of manufacturing software vendors need to track inventory for customers who keep their stock distributed in multiple containers. For example, injection molding companies keep raw plastic pellets in multiple silos. Fabric manufacturers roll finished material on cardboard tubes called “bolts.” Chemical manufacturers may have multiple railcars-full of any particular raw material.
Consider the following scenario: “I’m making this product at Location One and one of the required components, powdered paint, is stored in any one of three 55 gallon drums. I pick up my bucket, scoop, and weigh scale, walk over to one of the drums and take what I need.”
Happens all the time, right?
You should expect the manufacturing software to know how much powdered paint is in stock at Location One. But ask yourself this question: “Do I need to know how much powdered paint is in each drum?” If the answer is “Yes” you definitely need bin tracking capability.
In the MISys Manufacturing System for example, Bin Tracking is an extra-cost module ($1500) that allows you to create what are effectively sub-locations. In your business, the sub-location might be a drum of paint powder, a roll of tape, a spool of wire, a bolt of fabric, a silo of plastic pellets, or a roll of resistors to name just a few.
The important point is that, with MISys Bin Tracking installed, the program will allow you to set up as many Bins as you want (well, up to 4 billion) for any Location. Initially, there is no stock in a Bin even though there may be some stock in the Location at large. Stock transfers allow you to move material from the Location into a selected Bin, or out of a Bin.
When performing any of the stock transfers permitted in MISys Manufacturing, Bin Tracking causes the program to ask you for the Location and Bin number. Thus it is possible to receive material into a Bin, dispense it from the Bin, or move it from Bin to Bin within a Location, or from one Location/Bin to another Location/Bin.
With Bin Tracking enabled, the MISys Physical Inventory functions are automatically expanded to include Bin numbers. That is, the Physical Inventory batch entry function asks for a count for each Location/Bin.
Interestingly, there is no requirement in MISys Manufacturing that the sum of the stock quantities in each Bin equal the quantity reported for that Location. That is because MISys allows you to have stock in the Location at large which is not associated with a Bin. Although this rarely happens (most users transfer all the material in the Location to the specified Bins) it is possible.
Any stock transfer in which the Bin number is left blank is interpreted by the software as a non-bin specific transfer which affects the stock in the Location at large.