best inventory management for small business

Best Inventory Management Systems for Small Businesses

Yash Jha
Yash Jha
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

When you're just starting your business, Excel can be your go-to inventory management system. It's cheap and easy to customize. However, if it is not documented well enough, you might run into problems down the line.

This is why, for your growing business, it’s important to move towards a more robust and standardized way of tracking things. To make your decision simpler, we have created an exhaustive list of the best inventory management systems for small businesses.

Let’s have a look at them.

What is an Inventory Management System?

Inventory refers to the goods or materials that your business holds for sale or use in production. And to keep track of that inventory, you need inventory management systems.

Inventory management is the process of overseeing and controlling your inventory from purchase to sale, ensuring optimal stock levels and minimizing costs. To automate and streamline this process, we use tools called inventory management systems.

It's a combination of software, hardware, and processes that work together to help you efficiently track, manage, and analyze your inventory. There are various types of inventory management systems, including:

  1. Perpetual Inventory System: Perpetual inventory system continuously updates inventory records in real-time as transactions occur.
  2. Periodic Inventory System: With periodic inventory systems, inventory levels are updated periodically, typically through physical counts.
  3. Barcode Inventory System: Barcode inventory control system uses barcode scanners to track inventory movements and update records automatically.
  4. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Inventory System: In RFID inventory system, RFID tags are used to track inventory in real-time, providing accurate and up-to-date information.
  5. Cloud-based Inventory System: These systems store inventory data on remote servers, allowing access from anywhere with an internet connection.

Top 10 inventory management systems for small businesses

All of the inventory management systems listed include the essential features required for effective inventory management. Here are the most preferred inventory management systems for small businesses:

1. Deskera

Deskera is a cloud-based ERP with integrated inventory management system that helps businesses track their stock, orders, and deliveries. It offers features like real-time inventory tracking, order management, and financial reporting. Deskera is easy to use and can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. It’s one of the best inventory management software for small businesses.

deskera inventory management for small business

Here’s what you can expect from Deskera:

  • Cloud-based inventory management software accessible from anywhere
  • Real-time inventory tracking
  • Order management and financial reporting
  • Inventory optimization to maintain optimal stock levels
  • User-friendly interface for easy navigation
  • Comprehensive solution for inventory and financial management

Deskera offers you a comprehensive solution for small businesses, combining inventory management with financial reporting. Its cloud-based platform and user-friendly interface make it accessible and easy to navigate. Real-time tracking and optimization features help maintain optimal stock levels. Best inventory management software for businesses that are just starting out.

2. Odoo

Odoo is an all-in-one business management software that includes inventory management features. It allows businesses to track their inventory levels, set up automated reordering, and manage their suppliers. Odoo also offers other features like accounting, CRM, and e-commerce.

inventory management for small business

Here’s what you can expect from Odoo:

  • All-in-one business management software
  • Automated reordering to prevent stockouts
  • Integration with accounting, CRM, and e-commerce modules
  • Open-source platform allowing customization
  • Inventory tracking and supplier management
  • Versatile solution for various business needs

Odoo provides a versatile all-in-one solution for small businesses, integrating inventory management with other essential modules like accounting and CRM. Its open-source platform allows for customization to suit specific business needs. One common thing that users report is the lack of better customer support.

3. Fishbowl

Fishbowl is an inventory management system designed for small to medium-sized businesses. It offers features like barcode scanning, asset tracking, and inventory forecasting. Fishbowl integrates with QuickBooks and other accounting software to streamline financial reporting.

inventory management for small business

Here’s what you can expect from Fishbowl:

  • Barcode scanning for easy inventory tracking
  • Asset tracking for high-value items
  • Integration with QuickBooks for financial reporting
  • Inventory forecasting to predict future needs
  • Designed for small to medium-sized businesses
  • Robust features for efficient inventory management

Fishbowl is a robust inventory management system designed for small to medium-sized businesses. Its barcode scanning and asset tracking features streamline inventory processes. But some users report there are certain modules that don’t function correctly.

4. Katana

Katana is a cloud based inventory management system for small businesses, especially manufacturers. It offers features like production planning, material requirements planning (MRP), and shop floor control. Katana helps manufacturers optimize their production processes and reduce waste.

inventory management for small business

Here’s what you can expect from Katana:

  • Specialized software for manufacturers
  • Production planning and material requirements planning (MRP)
  • Shop floor control to optimize production processes
  • Visual interface for tracking order progress
  • Helps reduce waste and improve efficiency
  • Ideal for manufacturing businesses

Katana is an ideal solution for small manufacturing businesses. It offers specialized features like production planning, MRP, and shop floor control. The visual interface makes it easy to track order progress. But it's expensive and laggy as users suggest. The lag is acceptable but becomes noticeable when you are using it for hours per day.

5. Veeqo

Veeqo is an inventory management system designed for e-commerce businesses. It offers features like multi-channel selling, warehouse inventory management system, and shipping integration. Veeqo helps e-commerce businesses streamline their operations and fulfill orders faster.

inventory management for small business

Here’s what you can expect from Veeqo:

  • Multi-channel selling capabilities for e-commerce
  • Warehouse management and inventory tracking
  • Shipping integration for faster order fulfillment
  • Manages inventory across multiple online marketplaces
  • Streamlines e-commerce operations
  • Designed for e-commerce businesses

Veeqo is tailored for small e-commerce businesses, offering multi-channel selling capabilities and warehouse management features. Its shipping integration streamlines order fulfillment. But there are numerous bugs, including integration issues, glitches when uploading manual orders, non-functional templates, and failures in sending shipping confirmations.

6. Cin7

Cin7 is a cloud-based inventory management system that offers features like real-time inventory tracking, order management, and multi-channel selling. It integrates with popular e-commerce platforms like Shopify and Amazon to help businesses manage their online sales.

inventory management for small business

Here’s what you can expect from Cin7:

  • Real-time inventory tracking across multiple locations
  • Virtual Warehouse feature for managing inventory
  • Integration with e-commerce platforms like Shopify
  • Order management and multi-channel selling
  • Cloud-based software for accessibility
  • Suitable for businesses with multiple warehouses

Cin7 is suitable for small businesses with multiple warehouses. Its real-time inventory tracking and Virtual Warehouse feature simplify managing inventory across locations. But users report some specific issue like the backorder system fails to resync when assembly orders for items are completed and shipped. You have to manually do that.

7. Zoho

Zoho Inventory is a cloud-based inventory management system that offers features like order management, warehouse management, and inventory optimization. It integrates with other Zoho apps like Zoho CRM and Zoho Books to provide a complete business management solution.

inventory management for small business

Here’s what you can expect from Zoho Inventory:

  • Part of the Zoho suite of business apps
  • Inventory optimization for data-driven decisions
  • Integration with Zoho CRM for customer management
  • Order management and warehouse management
  • Cloud-based software for easy access
  • Ideal for businesses using other Zoho products

Zoho Inventory is a solid choice for small businesses already using other Zoho apps. It offers inventory optimization features for data-driven decision-making. But if you’re a growing business with lots of moving parts, you’ll have to invest in another one.

8. Sortly

Sortly is a simple and easy-to-use inventory management software designed for small businesses. It offers features like barcode scanning, custom fields, and visual inventory tracking. Sortly helps businesses keep track of their inventory and assets without the need for complex software.

inventory management for small business

Here’s what you can expect from Sortly:

  • Visual inventory tracking with photos
  • Custom fields for tracking specific item attributes
  • Barcode scanning for quick inventory updates
  • Simple and intuitive user interface
  • Designed for small businesses
  • Unique visual approach to inventory management

Sortly is a simple and intuitive inventory management solution for small businesses. Its visual approach, with features like custom fields and barcode scanning, makes tracking inventory easy. But users report limited integrations as well as slow loading times all over the UI.

How to Choose an Inventory Management System

Most inventory tools can only handle products that are sold unchanged to the customer.

For example, if you buy a thousand cans of Pepsi and sell 850 of them, these tools can track that well. But if you buy a thousand ground beef patties and a thousand buns, then sell a thousand hamburgers, the tools fail. They don't deduct one patty and one bun for each hamburger made and sold.

The key issue is the need for tracking raw materials, not just resold items.

Now with so many options available, paid and free inventory management software, standalone and integrated inventory management software, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Here are some key criteria to consider when making your choice.

  • Assess your business needs, including inventory size, operational complexity, and growth plans
  • Evaluate key features such as real-time tracking, barcode scanning, automatic reordering, and reporting capabilities
  • Ensure the system is user-friendly with an intuitive interface for easy adoption by your team
  • Look for seamless integration with your existing business software, such as accounting, e-commerce, and point-of-sale systems. ERPs are great for this.
  • Consider the level of customer support provided by the vendor for smooth implementation, training, and troubleshooting
  • Compare pricing and assess potential ROI in terms of time savings, improved accuracy, and increased efficiency

Deskera for Small Business Inventory Management Solutions

For growing businesses, managing inventory can be a real challenge. Stockouts, overstocking, and wasted time on manual tasks can hold you back.

But with Deskera ERP, you can overcome these challenges. Its integrated small business inventory management system helps you take control of your inventory and you can grow your business with confidence.

Here's how Deskera can help you:

  • Real-time inventory tracking
  • Automated reorder points
  • Barcode scanning
  • Inventory reports
  • Multi-warehouse management
  • Batch and expiry tracking
  • Accurate Inventory valuation
  • Integration with other modules

With Deskera, you'll have all the tools you need to optimize your inventory management and take your business to new heights. For this reason, our users regard us as the best inventory management system for small businesses.

So why wait? Schedule a call with us today and start managing your inventory like the pro businesses!

Conclusion

Choosing the right inventory management system is crucial for small businesses looking to streamline operations and scale effectively.

While Excel may suffice initially, growing businesses benefit from more robust solutions that offer real-time tracking, automation, and integration capabilities.

The options presented here cater to various needs, from cloud-based ERP systems like Deskera to specialized solutions for manufacturers or e-commerce businesses.

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