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What is anyInventory Hosting?

anyInventory is a customizable inventory management system for the Web. The software offers a more dynamic method of tracking than a simple spreadsheet tool, and is applicable for products within retail and manufacturing.

About anyInventory

Inventory management software streamlines the process of product tracking to help avoid overstock and shortages. For a long time, electronic spreadsheets were the preferred storage for inventory data, but software like anyInventory offers much greater functionality, and less room for human error. No matter what kind of product you make or sell, anyInventory can improve your inventory management. Better yet, it can help you control and reduce costs by slashing the amount of cash tied up in inventory.

Originally released in June of 2004, all of the major updates occurred in just a year span following. The base project is flexible enough that it can still be used today, but any system support will require hiring a specialist.

How it works

Like many inventory management applications, anyInventory uses a barcode system to track your products. This also helps the system alert users when a certain product is running low, and needs to be reordered. Alerts for other defined conditions are also available, along with the ability to set alerts to expire.

Users may add categories and subcategories, define fields, upload files, and enjoy an advanced search functionality. AnyInventory is available in English, Spanish, French, and German, and may be translated into any other language. The programming language is PHP Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP). Oracle databases are supported.

Features of anyInventory

At the time of release and for many years after, the features of anyInventory have been extremely versatile and ahead of their time.

  • Ability to store images with a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) for the thumbnails of product images.
  • Data & description editor is What You See is What You Get (WYSIWYG).
  • File management, create, edit, delete items from a visual interface
  • Label sheets can be generated in a format which is ready to print with specified dimensions.
  • An abstract data layer for using Oracle DB in addition to PearDB
  • Language support for English, Spanish, French and German
  • Alert System - calendar reminders can be setup to inform the user of inventory related events.
  • Inventory entry includes auto-increment field fore keeping track of an individual unique id for every inventory item.
  • User defined unique categories, subcategories, custom fields, file uploads and advanced search.

While many of these features can be found in modern inventory platforms or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, at the time of release, anyInventory was one of the most sophisticated inventory management platforms available. As an open source product, it's use became even more lucrative for businesses and projects.

Hosting & Installation

Most hosts have the minimum requirements to install the anyInventory application. You'll just have to ensure that your plan includes support for the necessary components (i.e., PHP and database management) which is very common. There may be some complications with compatibility using newer versions of PHP, but many web hosts will have support for older applications.

Modern Alternatives

Since this platform has not been updated since 2006, and developer support has dwindled since around 2008, this platform is not recommended unless your have a developer team which plans to modernize the whole thing. With that being clear, there are many different open source alternatives available today:

  • OpenBravo - a leading open source ERP platform with excellent location tracking for individual items (showing the location history of an item in-transit)
  • vtiger - a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) which handles both the inventory and sales system. With built in price-books, sales quotes, purchase orders and invoicing, vtiger is an excellent tool for customer oriented inventories.
  • PartKeepr - a niche tracking tool for keeping track of specialty components, with a focus on inventory of electronic parts.

As noticed, modern inventory systems can fall under the category of ERP, or CRM, but sometimes it can have features of both, or of none at all. Inventory systems are simply so common that they can be found in almost any format and on almost any technology platform. There are also a large number of tutorials available for the rare case where a custom system needs to be created.

Now, while open source tools can be extremely cost effective and infinitely customizable, there are also many proprietary systems and software as a service (SaaS) offerings - which handle inventory without the need to configure or install the platform yourself.

  • NetSuite - a cloud run service for inventory with full payment and fulfillment pipeline. Used by over 20,000 organizations
  • Zoho CRM - focused on customer relations and lead generation for small business, with affordable rates and free technical support.
  • Quickbooks Inventory - built into the Quickbooks online ecosystem, this platform can work closely with Intuit Quickbooks accounting and invoicing tools.
  • Microsof Dynamics ERP - a very comprehensive ERP system with every feature imaginable. Many third party vendors customize Dynamics ERP to work specifically for a particular industry.

Making a decision about which inventory platform to use should be carefully weighted against the direct needs of the project to which the system will be used. Will your business need e-retail features? Will it be focused on selling wholesale to other businesses? Is shipping integration going to be important?

Picking an older platform like anyInventory could be a good way to understand the basics of inventory management, but for any production ready business cases, selecting an alternative with strong community support is recommended.

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