A free inventory management software that works well is difficult to find and use.
All software cannot be like ProfitBooks, which offers powerful and 100% free inventory management and is also easy to use.
In this article, we discuss how inventory management works, and what free inventory management software you should use as a small business owner.
How Inventory Management Works
In simple words, inventory management refers to the process of ordering, storing, and using a company’s inventory. These include the management of raw materials, components, and finished products, as well as the warehousing and processing of such items.
A company’s inventory is one of its most valuable assets. Be it retail, manufacturing, food service, and other inventory-intensive sectors, a company’s inputs, and finished products are the core of its business.
A shortage of inventory when and where it’s needed can be extremely detrimental.
At the same time, inventory can be thought of as a liability. A large inventory carries the risk of spoilage, theft, damage, or shifts in demand.
Inventory must be insured, and if it is not sold in time it may have to be disposed of at clearance pricesor simply destroyed. Read more on how surplus stock can be managed so that you don’t incur losses.
Anyway, for the above reasons, inventory management is important for businesses of any size. Knowing when to restock certain items, what amounts to purchase or produce, what price to payas well as when to sell and at what pricecan easily become complex decisions.
Small businesses often keep track of stock manually and determine the reorder points and quantities using Excel formulas. This is often hectic and cumbersome.
Thankfully, technology has transformed inventory management systems for both online and offline retailers. Now retailers can sell more, grow faster, and run smarter.
Many businesses are now using free inventory management software to stay up in the game and scale their business.
Free Inventory management software makes accessing and updating a business’ stock possible from any location at any time using smartphones and tablets.
Many apps also include features like customer-facing product catalogs and processing sales; supplier and customer data management; order entry, editing, and tracking; as well as direct integrations with other physical and digital tools.
If you want to learn more, read our in-depth article on Inventory management.
Benefits of using software for inventory management
Simplified inventory management
The biggest benefit to using free inventory management software is that it makes the process of managing your inventory a whole lot easier, saving you time and money.
With supply and demand changing throughout the year and your stock levels continuously fluctuating, inventory management software helps to avoid the risk of human error by automating your key business processes.
Reduced risk of overselling
Overselling is a major challenge for online sellers, often resulting in loss of control, disappointed customers, and in some instances, being suspended from marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay.
That said, it is a selling challenge that is preventable by using the software. An inventory management software synchronizes your orders and inventory across each of your online marketplaces and eCommerce platforms.
This ensures that your stock levels are adjusted each time you make a sale.
By streamlining your inventory management processes, you not only stand to eliminate the inventory costs associated with human error, but you can also benefit from further cost savings
Well to start with, it can improve your chances of shortening your supplier lead time through better supplier management relationships.
It also allows you to reduce excess and obsolete stock, not to mention the subsequent costs incurred, by establishing your par levels and calculating your safety stock.
Perhaps the biggest cost saving comes from automation. Poor inventory management can cause significant revenue losses, driven by avoidable errors including stock-outs and overstocks.
Want to know more effective ways to save yourself from losses? Check out our article on various inventory management techniques that you can use to cut losses.
Avoidance of stock-outs and excess stock
When it comes to managing your inventory, trying to maintain the right balance is a challenging task. After all, too little stock can lead to a stock-out, unhappy customers, and potential loss of sales.
On the other hand, having excess stock, can take up valuable warehouse space and incur unnecessary charges. Either way, you look at it, it comes at a cost to your business.
Fortunately, with free inventory management software, you can track low stock levels and identify the re-order points for each product, in turn avoiding the occurrence of stock-outs.
The ability to make more profitable business decisions
Effective free inventory management software can provide invaluable sales data, allowing for more data-driven business decisions.
As an example, with a more informed understanding of supply and demand, you can go some way to forecast sales trends, giving you a more competitive edge.
With access to reporting features and inventory metrics, many inventory management systems equip you with the tools needed to make strategic decisions.
But, why choose free software?
If you’re not sure which inventory management software to use then you should consider available free options, so you don’t have to commit to something you may find difficult to use.
Free inventory management software will get you used to using various features so you have a better idea of what you’re doing, and what you need. Moreover, it will help you at least get started!
It is such a good idea to have something in place and organized at the start of your business for managing your inventory, and if you have to change later you can usually export the data into whichever program you decide to switch to!
Also, it doesnt cost you anything. This provides the ROI justification to implement it. Second, it helps you improve the customer experience you have to offer.
The free software automatically tracks your inventory and alerts you in case of a shortage. With this automation, you can significantly reduce the chances of order cancellation.
A free inventory management solution will trigger business growth in two ways: you save on software costs and reduce revenue losses due to canceled orders.
Let’s have a look at the top 10 free inventory management software:
1. Odoo – Free Inventory Management Software
Odoo’s free inventory management software comes with a free downloadable version.
Its modern interface allows you to control and monitor your incoming orders, manufacturing orders, scrap products, pack products, receipts, and much more easily and quickly without any complications
Odoo Inventory is fully integrated with manufacturing, purchase, and sales and thus keeps every function on the same page.
The software allows you to automatically schedule all your orders based on your sales order request. It has various features like a mobile dashboard, advanced routing facility, and smart scheduling.
It gets expensive if you are planning to purchase multiple Odoo apps. One single standalone Odoo app is not sufficient to use.
2. Zoho Inventory
Zoho Inventory’s free version is perfect for small and growing businesses. It is a complete inventory control system that helps with creating sale strategies, managing reorder points, generating insightful reports, and much more.
With Zoho, Inventory status is automatically updated across all sales channels. Also, can track transfer orders using a specific batch or serial number. The key feature is its dashboard that gives you a quick view of sales order status- pending, invoiced, delivered.
The lack of BOM (Bill of Material) functionality is a huge disadvantage of this free inventory software. Companies are forced to use a more time-consuming functionality instead of this feature.
Also, there are issues in syncing real-time data when you are managing e-commerce orders.
ZhenHub is a cloud-based logistics and inventory management solution for small and midsize businesses (SMBs). Its free version offers inventory tracking, shipment tracking, and warehouse management.
ZhenHub’s USP is its shipping management functionality that integrates with multiple shipping solutions such as DHL and FedEx. It lets you schedule, manage, and track orders from these providers.
ZhenHub charges both sender and receiver fees for international transfers, which can make billing costly. It can sometimes take time for the shipping status to sync up with the shipper’s account.
Inflow is another ideal free inventory management software to keep your business running. It saves your time given to paperwork, helps in accurately meeting your customer’s requirements, and generates insightful reports.
It has a cloud-based as well as on-premise free inventory management system. All their plans include unlimited customers, warehouses, orders, and products. There is easy navigation because of the simple user interface.
There are a lot of differences between the functionalities of on-premise and cloud-based solutions.
5. Ornavi – Free Inventory Management Software
Ornavi combines a lot of business management processes, monitoring, and HR practices in a single hub from where users can also maintain inventory and purchase control.
The system offers simple, yet powerful stock management capabilities, such as importing suppliers’ price lists, rapid quote generation, and multiple units for monitoring and management (boxes, metrics, etc.).
A separate part of this system is dedicated to purchasing orders, where you get a clear view of your minimal stock levels, store manufacturer information, auto-generate orders for shortfalls, and record both lists and prices for each item.
It doesn’t give a comprehensive overview of tasks.
PartKeepr is an open-source free inventory management software application developed to help companies reorder items in their stock, and always have a clear overview of the products they have for disposal.
With a blazing-fast search function and a variety of part data parameters being tracked, PartKeepr is a master of its skill, helping companies streamline relationships with distributors, and keeping their customers satisfied.
Parker requires some technical expertise to operate.
RightControl offers you full control over your stock and inventory.
This inventory management software product is ideal for centralized warehouse management and is perfect for freelance and small-biz service providers.
But it can also be tailored to cater to larger enterprises due to its unlimited size ventures and functionality.
Some of its features include a modern and simplified system that puts in place accurate invoice management, constant stock level monitoring, order management, barcode scanning, and enterprise-level reporting mechanisms for you to enhance stock control.
Users can play around with it all they want, but with one catch: With the free version, all stock data is removed when the program is closed.
Make sure you’re aware of this before you enter your inventory, or you may end up wasting a whole lot of time.
Delivered is a free inventory management software cloud solution, ideal for everyone from small online retailers to large E-commerce businesses. This software allows users to track and control both regular and damaged inventories.
Whenever you create a new customer order in Delivrd, a check is performed to ensure that you have enough available stock to fulfill your custom order.
Another unique feature of the Delivrd Inventory management system is that it allows one to control even the packaging materials.
It is not that powerful and doesn’t have advanced features
Stockpile Inventory is ideal for small businesses and individual users. It is simple and makes online inventory management efficient, easy, and quick. The software is a big time-saver.
Users, locations, and managed products are not limited. It has various features like an easy-to-use interface, a tiered access model to manage multiple locations at the same time, and excellent technical support.
Some users consider the wait time for money transfers from account to bank a bit too long.
10. Profitbooks – 100% FREE Inventory Management Software
ProfitBooks is the easiest-to-use free inventory management software on this list!
ProfitBooks offers endless advantages to using its free inventory management software solution. We’ve mentioned their top features and pros below.
- Simplify Purchase Workflow: Create Purchase Orders and email them to your vendors with one click. You can allocate the inventory to desired warehouses at the time of recording purchase.
- Stock Control & Adjustments: Record stock transfer between warehouses, stock wastage, raw material consumption, and production of finished goods – from a super simple interface of this free inventory management software.
- Maintain Product Batches: Organise products in different batches and specify batch numbers, manufacturing dates, and expiry dates. This helps a lot if you are a manufacturer or deal with perishable goods.
- Create Multiple Users: You can add multiple users and even assign them specific roles. For example, an employee with an ‘inventory manager’ role can only access the inventory function.
- Maintain Multiple Warehouses: Create multiple warehouses to store inventory. You can even call them Store, Location, or Godown as per your business needs.
- Support Multiple Currencies: ProfitBooks Trade supports all the major currencies. You even get a report that shows gain or loss due to currency fluctuation.
ProfitBooks’s cloud-based inventory management system automates your unique workflows and accelerates purchase requisitions.
You can convert Purchase Orders to Purchases in one click. The system connects with accounts payable, cash management, and inventory, so you don’t have to enter the same information twice.
Cons: The mobile application of ProfitBooks’ free inventory management software can be improved, as the UI is not at par with the easy-to-use software on a desktop or PC.
In conclusion, finding effective and free inventory management software can be a challenging task. However, not all inventory software is created equal, and ProfitBooks stands out as a powerful, user-friendly, and 100% free inventory management software solution.
While there are many inventory management software options available, we’ve highlighted the top 10 free choices, with ProfitBooks standing out as a standout solution. It streamlines purchase workflows, offers robust stock control, and supports multiple currencies.
Choosing free inventory management software is a wise move, allowing you to get acquainted with various features, improve the customer experience, and reduce the chances of order cancellations.