Managing inventory can be challenging. The most efficient and effective way to do so is by implementing inventory management software. But what if you’re a business that’s just starting out and you’re working within a very limited budget? Are you stuck keeping track of items coming and going using manual means or via an antiquated system, like Excel? The good news is there are a number of free or open source inventory management programs that you might be able to leverage. Here are five of them, in no particular order.
inflow – This platform offers a streamlined business system that covers everything from full inventory management and barcoding to invoicing, sales and purchase orders and even a number of accounting tools. There are three different versions available. The free one covers up to 100 customers and features many of the basic options that a smaller or just-starting-out business might need. Upgrades are available for a nominal one-time fee.
Carta – This program helps businesses track both sales and purchases of items. When a sale is completed, both inventory and financials are automatically updated. Shipping, invoicing, payments sent and received call all be accessed at a glance. Carta also features the ability for teams, customers and vendors to work on orders in the cloud in real-time, eliminating the need for email. It’s a cloud version of inFlow that offers a free basic version as well as a number of paid options.
RightControl – RightControl is a barcode reading inventory management system that features a robust suite of stock control and sales tools perfect for businesses of any size or industry. Their “lite” version is completely free and covers just about every angle of inventory management, from barcode scanning to purchase orders and invoicing to returns management and more. More advanced features are available with a monthly subscription to one of their bigger plans.
ABC Inventory – This is a free extension of the more robust Almyta Control System Software. ABC Inventory software is designed for small and mid-sized businesses. There is no limit on number of records in the database and no limit on a number of workstations it can be installed on. This MRP II application has been designed to handle every aspect of inventory management, providing the ability to track each step in the inventory life cycle from the time a purchase order is created to the moment a product is shipped. Upgrade to the full platform is available for a one-time fee.
Odoo – If you’re comfortable using an open source platform, Odoo provides a really robust tool for integrating and streamlining existing applications. It also covers a much broader range of business needs. In addition to its inventory management features, Odoo also allows users to create websites, manage HR activities, improve marketing and boost sales. This product is available to start with a free trial, but requires a subscription to continue. Multiple pricing models are available.
Managing inventory effectively is an integral part of successfully running a business. Unfortunately, doing so on a tight budget makes this task much more challenging. These free or open source options provide the opportunity to overcome this hurdle and streamline operations without financial limitations.