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Two-Bin Inventory Control


Two-Bin Inventory Control is a system used in business operations to manage inventory levels. It involves using two storage bins, where the second bin acts as a reserve for the first one. When the first bin is empty, a reorder is placed and the second bin is used to fill demand until the ordered stock arrives.


The phonetics for “Two-Bin Inventory Control” would be:Too-Bin In-vuhn-tor-ee Kuhn-trohl

Key Takeaways

  1. Efficient Inventory Control: Two-bin inventory control is a system mainly used for controlling and maintaining adequate inventory levels. It helps to ensure that goods and raw materials don’t run out during key operational periods, thereby increasing production efficiency and effectiveness.
  2. Easy to Use: This system is easy to understand and implement. It involves two bins in which inventory is stored. When the first bin (the working bin) is empty, it gives a signal that it is time to reorder the stock. Meanwhile, the second bin (the reserve bin) ensures there is no stoppage in production due to lack of materials.
  3. Cost Reduction: Two-bin inventory control helps to minimise waste and reduces the cost of holding excess inventory. It offers a simple yet efficient way of managing and controlling inventory costs, which in turn can have a positive impact on a company’s bottom line.


Two-Bin Inventory Control is an essential method in business finance due to its role in effectively managing and replenishing inventory stocks. The system entails using two storage containers or bins for each product. One bin is in operation, while the other acts as a reserve. When the first bin depletes, the business relies on the reserve and uses that time to reorder products. This approach promotes a seamless supply chain operation, reducing the risk of stock-outs, minimizing carrying costs, and improving service delivery. Moreover, it allows for better inventory tracking and forecasting, contributing to overall operational efficiency. Therefore, the Two-Bin Inventory Control system is significantly vital in maintaining an optimal inventory, mitigating financial risks associated with poor inventory management, and enhancing customer satisfaction.


The primary purpose of the two-bin inventory control system is to efficiently manage the storage, distribution, and inventory levels of materials in businesses. Essentially, it is a reordering system primarily used in businesses to ensure that inventory levels are maintained at optimal levels to satisfy the needs without causing overstock or out of stock situations. This is achieved by storing items of the same kind in two bins, using items from one bin first, and when that bin is emptied, reorder is triggered. Meanwhile, usage is shifted to the second bin, thus ensuring that business operations continue smoothly while indented goods are on their way.This system is a crucial part of just-in-time inventory management, as its use eliminates any potential disruption in production due to the unavailability of necessary items. By maintaining a constant supply and reducing the chances of excess inventory, it allows businesses to operate efficiently, reduce costs, and significantly improve their financial performance. The two-bin inventory control system, therefore, serves as a vital tool in ensuring seamless process flow, reducing storage costs, and improving cash flow management in many businesses.


1. Supermarket Stock Control: Supermarkets often use the two-bin inventory control system for managing their goods. The two bins are kept on the shelf for each product. The first bin is for products on display for customers and the second is for backup stock once the first bin becomes empty. Then, the supermarket places an order for replenishment. This system helps supermarkets maintain optimal inventory, avoid overstocking or understocking, and ensure constant availability of products.2. Manufacturing Industry: In a vehicle manufacturing company for instance, tools and spare parts can be organized using the two-bin system. The first bin is used until it becomes empty and then the second bin is utilized while the first bin triggers an order for more parts. This efficient system ensures production is not halted due to parts shortage, keeps inventory costs low and minimizes the need for excess storage space.3. Hospital Supply Management: Hospitals often use two-bin systems to manage their medical supplies. One bin is in active use while the other holds backup inventory. When the first bin is emptied, the hospital staff switches to the second bin and the emptied bin signals a need for reordering. This assures that essential medical supplies are always on hand, minimizing any risk of running out during urgent situations.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Two-Bin Inventory Control?

Two-Bin Inventory Control is a widely used inventory management system that controls the inventory level of a particular product through the use of two physical bins.

How does Two-Bin Inventory Control Work?

Initially, an inventory is distributed between two bins. Routine operations draw from the first bin until it’s empty. Once empty, the second bin is utilized while a replenishment order is placed to restock the first bin.

What is the main purpose of the Two-Bin Inventory Control system?

The main purpose of the Two-Bin Inventory Control system is to maintain an adequate supply of inventory to meet demand, while minimizing the amount of inventory on hand.

In what kind of businesses is the Two-Bin Inventory Control method typically used?

This system is often utilized in manufacturing and distribution businesses, especially where parts or products are consistently used or where fast-moving items are sold.

What are the advantages of using Two-Bin Inventory Control?

The advantages include continuous product availability, effective restocking, minimized risk of stock outs, and efficient use of storage space.

What are the potential disadvantages of the Two-Bin Inventory Control system?

Potential disadvantages include overstocking if demand unexpectedly drops, difficulty managing for items with variable demand, and the need for sufficient space to store two bins for each item.

Does the Two-Bin system require any special software to implement?

While the Two-Bin system can be managed manually, software tools are available to automate the process, track inventory in real-time and create orders to replenish bins.

Can the Two-Bin Inventory Control method work with high-value items?

Yes. However, it is typically used for low-cost items due to the system having two sets of inventory at all times which might not be cost effective for high-value items.

Related Finance Terms

  • Reorder Point: This is the level of inventory at which a new order should be placed to replenish stock.
  • Lead Time: The period between the initiation and completion of a production process, or the time it takes to receive goods once an order is made.
  • Buffer Stock: Also known as safety stock, this is an extra amount of inventory kept on hand to prevent stockouts caused by variability in supply and demand.
  • Stockout: A situation where an item is not available in inventory, potentially leading to lost sales or production delays.
  • Just-in-time (JIT) Inventory Control: This is a management strategy that minimizes inventory carrying costs by having materials arrive exactly when they are needed in the production process, which is closely related to the principles of two-bin inventory control.

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