A bin card is a document used to keep track of the number of items held in a warehouse or stock room. The average business with inventory will use a bin card to record the number if items, a description of those items and any relevant notes regarding the items. A bin card is also known as a cardex.
There are advantages and disadvantages to using a bin card system to keep track of inventory. One advantage is the reduction of counting errors. As long as the bin card entry is made at the same time as a change in stock, the bin card remains a good record. Using one card for multiple stock clerks prevents differences in counts and multiple or duplicate records. Controlling the flow of stock is easier, as the bin card serves as a central reference. Finally, it is simpler to identify which items are low or out of stock without actually laying hands on the items. This is especially crucial within large or complex warehouses.
A disadvantage of using a bin card is that typically the personnel hired to handle materials are not usually suited for the clerical work involved in keeping accurate records. It will take a more skilled employee that can easily transition from record-keeping duties to material-handling duties. Also, a bin card may be an inconvenient and outdated tool for use in warehouses where grease, dirt or other materials may come in contact with the card.