An inventory control system helps businesses maintain their inventory.
An inventory control system, also referred to as an inventory management system, is an application that helps a business manage its product or asset inventory. Open source programs are developed by a community of developers and often include features similar to commercial solutions. These systems usually are free to use, making them ideal for small businesses that want to save money on their operations budget.
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Open source inventory systems are free to modify as well as download. Some can be customized using plug-ins, or small pieces of code, that extend the system's functionality. Using this software option rather than hiring a programmer to create a customized inventory solution can save a business owner in costs. Most open source programs use other free, open-source technologies, as well, such as the Apache Web server and PHP scripts.
Support structure varies between open source inventory systems. Some applications may offer commercial support for a fee. Most projects have community-based support, though others may not offer any at all. Not all available systems are actively being developed, and some may cease development with little to no warning to current users.
Features for open source inventory systems can vary greatly. For example, some programs may include point-of-sale (POS) functions while others do not. When evaluating applications, ensure the one you choose has the features your business requires. Inventory projects that have an active support and development community are good choices, as these projects are more likely to have regular updates.
Asset-Tracker is a Web-based, open source inventory application that can track any type of physical asset and includes access control and the ability to filter and bookmark asset lists. Asset-Tracker requires a Web server with PHP and MySQL database support. It does not include a commercial support option. OCS Inventory Next Generation is a Web-based, open source inventory application designed to inventory IT assets such as computers, software and hardware. It offers community and commercial support. Vtiger CRM is an open source Customer Relations Manager (CRM) solution with inventory management capabilities. Vtiger can manage products, purchases, service orders and assets and integrates with other business features such as calendaring and email. Vtiger offers community-based and professional support.
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