Updated 7/30/18: We’ve added another option—Canvus—to the list, bringing the total number of free and open source inventory management solutions up to six.
Effectively managing your inventory can often be the difference between making the sale and losing it to a competitor. If you don’t know what you have or where it is, you’re going to have a tough time selling it.
Managing inventory well is also the difference between running an efficient operation and leaking money at an alarming rate.
Small business owners who don’t do a good job of managing inventory pay an extra 30% in costs compared to companies operating at optimal inventory levels.
Good inventory management software can fix this by optimizing how much stock you have on hand and keeping you up-to-date on what you need to order so you don’t run out. You must find a software solution that fits your company within the next few months or you’ll lose hundreds or even thousands of dollars in revenue that you could have saved otherwise.
Luckily, you don’t have to go broke just keeping an eye on your product. There are free products out there that can help you manage your inventory and won’t cost your business a cent.
The best free and open source inventory management software systems
Shortlisting free and open source inventory management software systems is tricky since there aren’t many of them. I’ve created this comprehensive list of six inventory management software options that offer a version that is free or open source. I’ve also checked it against Software Advice’s FrontRunners to make sure no solutions were left out.
Below are six free or open source inventory management offerings for small businesses, presented in alphabetical order.
ABC Inventory is the child of Almyta Control System. It’s a free package for a single user, allowing you to manage multiple warehouses, serial numbers, warranties, and a host of other inventory-related data.
This free version is really designed to be run on one computer, since multiple workstations can’t sync the same data.
ABC Inventory’s inventory management dashboard (Source)
As with almost all free options, you’re on your own for technical support—though there are some forums to give you a hand if things get tough.
ABC is geared specifically toward smaller companies that don’t need all the bells and whistles that come with a bigger system.
Canvus is inventory management software specifically geared toward small businesses. Its inventory management system is called Stockpile, and it offers users the ability to take returns, record sales and damaged goods, and track inventory turnover.
Stockpile’s “manage manufacturers” dashboard (Source)
Stockpile is completely free to use, and you can have unlimited users, locations, and items.
The company says they plan to add features such as customer management modules, barcode scanning, and other capabilities. Those features likely would be made available for purchase. Stockpile may introduce advertising at some point as well, the company says.
Delivrd is a cloud-based inventory management and order fulfillment solution that just launched its first official release at the end of 2016.
The company offers two plans—free, and $50 per month. The free plan covers one location and 25 SKUs and is a great option for businesses that have a narrow focus, such as online retailers and specialty product retailers.
Delivrd’s open orders list (Source)
If you’re using WooCommerce or Shopify, Delivrd can integrate directly with them, making life a whole lot easier on the back end. If you use another eCommerce platform, you’ll have to work through some manual data transfer to make it all work.
Delivrd also supports barcoding, pick and pack, and some financial reporting. At the paid level, you get access to more locations and products, as well as getting some PO and sales management tools.
InFlow is inventory management software focused on small and midsize businesses. The company has been growing since 2007 and now claims over 750,000 users.
InFlow has a free option that limits you to 100 products and customers and to a baker’s dozen reports. You also miss out on some advanced user features and inventory management options.
inFlow’s inventory dashboard (Source)
The free version has no expiration, though, and small businesses will be well served by the small set of options. Default features include barcoding, different accounting methods, and automatic data backup, among others.
Once you outgrow the free version, inFlow can be upgraded for a one-time, $399 payment. That will unlock unlimited products and customers, more reports, and advanced features such as customized invoices and order forms. Paying customers also get a year of support.
We’ve talked about Odoo here before, but that’s because there’s a lot to like.
The online version of Odoo is free for up to two people. If you download the open source version and host it yourself, Odoo is free for unlimited users, though you’ll have to support it yourself.
Odoo’s sales dashboard (Source)
Odoo is designed as an ERP, but thanks to the software’s add-on app layout, you can make it as large or small as your business requires. For inventory management, you’ll want to take advantage of at least the warehouse management system and perhaps the purchase or point-of-sale system.
Since it’s an ERP, all of your data will be combined on the back end, so purchases can flow into inventory and accounting.
Odoo online is a great option for a small business, while larger businesses can get a lot out of the full-featured software.
RightControl Lite provides inventory management for ten product lines. It also comes with invoice and receipt generation tools, geared toward the small business or self-employed individual.
Apart from a limitation on product lines, the Lite version offers all the features of its bigger siblings in the RightControl line.
RightControl Lite’s main dashboard (Source)
Users can set automatic reorder reminders when stock gets low, print labels for stock, and integrate with a barcode system.
If you have to manage more than the ten products or want more users, growing businesses can upgrade to RightContol Solo, Pro, or Workgroup for about $1.50, $7.50, or $30 per month in U.S. dollars (the company’s rates are given in British Pounds). Each comes with an increase in the number of products that can be managed.
It’s time to make a decision
All of these systems can manage most small business inventory requirements, with many offering flexibility to move up to more features and capability as your company grows.
Looking for Inventory Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Inventory Management software solutions.