Free/Open Source Inventory Management Software
Believe it or not, sophisticated inventory management is available for everyone. You may think that slick inventory software is out of your price range, but I am here to give you the good news: You’ve got options. There are plenty of free and/or open source inventory management packages available that suit all sorts of business types. Whether you need to track ingredients for your food, products for your store, or parts for your warehouse, there are multi-user, real time options that help you track, analyze, and adjust your inventory with the wink of an eye. And many of these features are available with free or open source inventory management packages.
The question that you have to ask is, “How to choose a suitable inventory management for my business?”. Then you should follow up with, “What is your product?”, and “What are your key tracking metrics?”. I will be honest, when people begin to research inventory software, they get tied up in all of the bells and whistles and sometimes forget to focus on what their business needs. All five of these products below are fantastic, and they have plenty of bells and whistles. But at the end of the day, it’s up to your business needs. And that’s how you decide which open source inventory management product is best.
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Five Free or Open Source Inventory Management Tools:
Tracmor is web based asset tracking software. It is a great open source inventory management option that centralizes asset tracking to an online hub. It has a fantastically intuitive workflow with easy-to-use features. You can easily import and export data to or from existing databases and customize product details and tracking methods. Data archiving is available so you can store plenty of data for your records and analyzing. Customization details include parent-child links, asset check in / check out, permission based log in rules. Since Tracmore can be hosted by Amazon web services, you get the convenience of a web-based open source inventory management program with the security and redundancy of Amazon. They also have a ton of tutorials available for new users.
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vtiger is a great open source inventory management package that helps you organize, grow sales, boost ROI, and deliver. This product isn’t just inventory software, it’s a full crm package that offers built-in solutions such as email marketing project management. So if you are looking for just an inventory product, this may have more features that you need. But check it out anyway, because it’s a great product. It has the following inventory features (and more); sales quotes, purchase orders, sale orders, invoicing, etc. Vtiger does a great job of integration with many popular tools / programs. This includes Outlook, Google Apps, to Office, Exchange and more. There mobile capability is great. With vtiger, you can syncronize your account with your phone, get alerts, adjust schedule, and much more. vtiger also has a large source of training videos that are laid out for you. Check them out here.
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Inflow inventory is a downloadable client-software package (versus web-based) that is extremely versatile and used in multiple industries. Small businesses that are in wholesale, retail, ecommerce, manufacturing, etc) have found the software useful in keeping track of product prices, past orders, quotes, invoices, and more. Some people do not like the fact that this software is not web based. But I tend to lean towards a client-based network software package. Here is why: when you configure it on your network, any computer that is on that network can access that same database (just like web-based), except no one outside of your network (unless given special access) can see/manipulate your data, which makes it way more secure. The only thing you need to make sure you do is automate an offsite data backup. Anyway, this software has a ton of features that are customizable for almost any industry and it is a great product. Other features include multiple locations / sub locations, customer orders, advanced workflow, email invoicing, bar code scanning, and much more. Here are some tutorial videos, check them out if you want.
4. ABC Inventory
ABC inventory is a great option for a business that needs a simpler, yet fully functional inventory system. It is a free, open source inventory management product that is focused for small and mid-sized businesses. It is a starter package for the Almyta Control System, which is the upgraded version of the software. But if you are looking for an absolutely free inventory solution, ABC inventory may be your best bet. There is no limit to database records, products tracked, or number of work stations that it can be installed on. Features include purchase orders for inventory and fixed assets, auto-generated P.O.’s based on historical data, quick pricing and payment. Manage orders, assets, inventory while viewing helpful reports. ABC inventory has a ton of online resources, including examples to show the process of creating a demo company. See the Getting Started demo here. They also have a very helpful forum that is full helpful content and helpful people.
We also wrote a full article on full open source point of sale options. Check it out if you are interested.
Openbravo is fantastic, interactive web-based business application development company. They have products that support retail, distribution, manufacturing and more. Their ERP solution is focused around agility; helping companies view, react, and adjust as quickly and efficiently as possible. This product is much more than just open source inventory management. Features included in Openbravo will help you win customers against global competition, expand into new regions, accelerate new product introduction, meet legal and fiscal reporting requirements. This may be the priciest out of the top five in this article, but after reading other reviews and visiting their website, I am pretty sure they take the cake for the overall best product. I guess it is just up to you to decide if you need their features or if another product will work for your business. We wrote a detailed review of Openbravo that you can read here.
There are a ton of inventory software packages out on the market today. Some are outdated. Some are outrageously expense. But there are also a ton of high quality open source inventory management solutions available at affordable prices (or even for free). I hope that this article helps you start your quest for the best software for your business.
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