Inventory Management System for ECommerce - A Deep Dive into InvenTree

Cost effective solution to effortlessly manage ecommerce inventory and optimize operations

Inventory

Emergence of open source solutions for inventory management in ecommerce

Inventory management plays a pivotal role in the growth and success of any growing business. Enterprises are increasingly delving into the world of open source solutions to tackle their inventory management needs. Embracing open source solutions offers a pathway towards expansion and adaptability without imposing significant financial strain. By leveraging these solutions, businesses can navigate the complexities of inventory management with agility and precision, empowering them to scale operations, optimize resources, and meet evolving market demands effectively. From tracking stock levels to streamlining procurement processes, open source solutions provide a cost-effective and flexible framework to enhance operational efficiency and drive sustained growth in the competitive ecommerce arena. We have discussed this in detail in our blog titled The rise of open-source solutions in ecommerce cost optimization. We will now be exploring one such open source inventory management software called InvenTree. As businesses seek innovative solutions to streamline their operations, InvenTree emerges as a powerful tool poised to revolutionize the way we manage inventory.

Introducing InvenTree

With its robust features and user-friendly interface, InvenTree offers a comprehensive solution for businesses of all sizes, empowering them to effectively track stock levels, streamline procurement processes, and optimize warehouse operations. Open-source nature of InvenTree not only ensures affordability but also fosters a collaborative community-driven approach to software development. This means businesses can benefit from ongoing enhancements and contributions from a global network of developers, ensuring that the software remains cutting-edge and adaptable to evolving industry trends. We will now uncover its features and functionalities, from inventory tracking to purchase order and sales order management. Join us as we delve deeper into the world of open-source inventory management with InvenTree, unlocking new possibilities for efficiency, scalability, and growth.

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Installation and requirements for InvenTree

In our previous blog titled Ecommerce Inventory Management Made Efficient: Leveraging Open Source Solutions, we detailed the prerequisites for establishing an open-source platform like InvenTree. Here, we will reiterate the key highlights for clarity. The initial step in implementing an inventory management software involves assessing the hardware and infrastructure prerequisites. This encompasses evaluating server capabilities, storage capacity, network bandwidth, and any additional hardware components needed to support the software efficiently. Depending on the operational scale and anticipated workload, businesses may consider adopting cloud-based hosting solutions, necessitating a virtual machine for software deployment. Open-source inventory management software typically accommodates various operating systems, such as Linux, Windows, and macOS. Businesses should ensure compatibility with their existing IT infrastructure and select an operating system aligning with their preferences and technical proficiency. Furthermore, a robust database management system forms the foundation of an inventory management system, offering a structured framework for organizing and storing data. DBMS solutions like MySQL and PostgreSQL provide potent relational database capabilities, enabling businesses to manage extensive datasets encompassing product information, inventory levels, supplier details, customer records, and transaction history. With this setup in place, businesses can leverage open-source inventory management software for enhanced flexibility and scalability, facilitating streamlined operations.

InvenTree Workflow

Buy

For a customer order, the initial step involves compiling a list of required components and checking part availability. New components are added to the system with supplier or manufacturer, details followed by a purchase order. Existing parts undergo a stock check before purchase order placement.

Build

For assembly products, a build order is created to allocate required parts. During the build order creation phase, a real-time assessment of current stock statuses facilitates informed purchase order decisions. Once parts are delivered, assembly begins.

Sell

After an order is finalized, the sales order procedure begins, involving the handling of delivery and shipping details for the customer as per the customer information database. In case the customer is not satisfied, a return order is processed and customer is refunded.

Prominent features of InvenTree

Parts

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As we are aware, parts are the building blocks of any item in stock. For instance, in businesses that assemble components, each part is like a puzzle piece. When they come together, they create the final product. The initial stage of constructing your inventory within the software involves organizing and generating parts.

With InvenTree, you can establish, categorize, and attribute various characteristics to each part. Categories may encompass multiple parts or subcategories, comprising smaller components. These parts are structured within hierarchical categories, facilitating organization and filtration based on their functions.

Parts may possess a range of attributes, including but not limited to:

  • Virtual: Not physically tangible, existing in a digital or conceptual form.
  • Assembly: Comprising subparts within its structure.
  • Component: Forming an integral part of an assembly or larger system
  • Trackable: Assigned special identifiers for monitoring and traceability purposes.
  • Saleable: Eligible for sale to customers.
  • Purchaseable: Available for procurement from external suppliers.

Buy : Purchase orders

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In the course of business operations, essential components and materials are often sourced from external suppliers or manufacturers. These parts play a pivotal role in the production process, serving as integral elements in the creation of products or services. Whether it's raw materials, specialized components, or finished goods, the procurement of these parts forms a crucial aspect of supply chain management. By collaborating with reliable suppliers and manufacturers, businesses ensure the consistent availability of quality parts, thereby facilitating smooth operations and meeting customer demands effectively. In this segment, we'll explore the process of creating purchase orders for parts.

As depicted in the following image, the purchase order form awaits completion, requiring details about the parts to be procured. When generating a purchase order, several essential details are gathered to ensure accuracy and efficiency in the procurement process. These include a unique reference number assigned to the part, comprehensive supplier information specifying the source from which the part will be ordered, the designated currency for transactional purposes, the anticipated delivery date to facilitate timely receipt of the part, and the particulars of the individual responsible for initiating and overseeing the purchase order. By meticulously capturing these details, businesses can streamline their procurement operations, maintain clear communication with suppliers, and uphold accountability throughout the purchasing process.

Sell - Sales Orders

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InvenTree's sales order management functionality plays a pivotal role in efficiently tracking and managing the conversion of stock items or inventory into externally sold items. Sales orders serve as the bridge between inventory management and customer fulfilment, providing a structured framework for processing and fulfilling customer requests. At its core, the system facilitates the creation, tracking, and fulfilment of sales orders from inception to delivery. When a customer places an order, whether through an online platform, direct sales channels, or other means, the sales order module enables users to capture all relevant details, including the items ordered, quantities, pricing, delivery preferences, and customer information. Simultaneously, the sales order serves as a reference point for order fulfilment operations. Warehouse staff can access the sales order details to pick, pack, and ship the ordered items efficiently. Integration with inventory management and logistics systems further streamlines this process by providing real-time visibility into stock levels, warehouse operations, and shipment tracking. As the sales order progresses through various stages, from processing to fulfilment to delivery, the system maintains a comprehensive audit trail, documenting each step of the order lifecycle. This visibility enables stakeholders to monitor order status, track progress, and identify any bottlenecks or issues that may arise during fulfilment.

Creating a sales order in InvenTree is a simple process through a form with essential fields like customer name, sales order reference number, target date, customer reference, project code, and currency. These fields ensure accurate order processing and tracking. Once filled, the form serves as a comprehensive record for subsequent processing and fulfilment. In summary, InvenTree sales order management functionality enables organizations to seamlessly convert inventory into revenue-generating sales, optimize order fulfilment processes, and enhance customer satisfaction through timely and accurate order delivery.

Company information

InvenTree facilitates efficient management of supplier, manufacturer, and customer data through a comprehensive database system. This platform empowers businesses to streamline procurement processes and maintain strong customer relationships by centralizing key information and automating repetitive tasks.

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Supplier and Manufacturer Database: InvenTree provides a structured framework for recording detailed information about suppliers and manufacturers. Users can input essential data such as company name, contact details, location, lead times, quality certifications, and performance metrics. By maintaining this centralized database, businesses can easily track and manage their relationships with suppliers and manufacturers, simplifying the procurement process and eliminating the need to repeatedly enter supplier details when placing orders.

Customer Management: Similarly, InvenTree offers robust features for managing customer information. Users can create profiles for each customer, capturing important details such as name, description, email address, preferred currency, point of contact, and website. This comprehensive customer database enables businesses to track sales orders, monitor customer interactions, and tailor their services to meet customer needs effectively.

Data Collection Form: The platform streamlines the data collection process through a user-friendly form. This form includes fields for entering relevant information about suppliers, manufacturers, or customers, ensuring completeness and accuracy. Users can specify the type of company (customer, supplier, or manufacturer) and provide necessary details accordingly. Additionally, the form allows users to choose preferred currency, designate a point of contact, and include additional notes or descriptions as needed.

By leveraging the data collected in these forms, businesses can make informed decisions, optimize supply chain operations, and enhance customer satisfaction. With a centralized database and intuitive data collection process, InvenTree empowers organizations to streamline their workflows, strengthen supplier and customer relationships, and drive overall efficiency and success.

Build - Create an assembly for a part

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A Build Order is a fundamental tool within InvenTree, serving as a blueprint for creating new stock items through the assembly of component parts. At its core, a Build Order orchestrates the manufacturing process according to a predefined Bill of Materials (BOM), ensuring the efficient utilization of resources and the accurate production of finished goods. The bill of material outlines the list of component parts required to construct a particular assembly. This comprehensive document specifies the quantity of each component needed, along with any specific instructions or specifications. The BOM serves as a roadmap for the assembly process, guiding production teams in sourcing and assembling the necessary parts. The BOM consists of individual parts designated as Components, which are the building blocks used to assemble the final product. These components may be raw materials, subassemblies, or other finished parts that are sourced from inventory or external suppliers. By defining the relationship between assemblies and components, the BOM facilitates accurate inventory management and production planning.

To create a build order within InvenTree, users begin by filling out a form that captures essential details crucial for orchestrating the manufacturing process. This form serves as a blueprint for the production team, guiding them through the assembly of component parts to create finished goods. Key fields include the build order reference, which provides a unique identifier for tracking purposes, and the part details, including a description and the quantity required for assembly. Additionally, users specify the project to which the build order belongs. The location of the build is also noted, facilitating efficient resource allocation and logistics planning. Build priority ensures that production schedules are optimized, while designating a person responsible for overseeing the build order ensures accountability and effective communication within the production team. By systematically filling out this form, businesses can initiate and manage build orders with precision, ensuring the timely and accurate production of goods according to specifications.

Return - return your orders

InvenTree Return Orders feature provides a seamless process for handling returned stock items, whether due to defects, customer dissatisfaction, or other reasons. This functionality enables businesses to efficiently manage the return process, ensuring that returned items are appropriately handled and inventory levels are accurately maintained. When a customer requests to return a purchased item, whether for repair, replacement, or refund, users can initiate a Return Order within InvenTree. This action triggers a structured workflow designed to guide users through the return process, from authorization to resolution.

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The Return Order form captures essential details about the returned items, including the original sales order reference, customer details, currency, contact information, description detailing the reason for the return, target date, and any relevant notes or comments. By documenting this information, businesses gain visibility into the reasons for returns, enabling them to identify trends, address underlying issues, and improve product quality or customer satisfaction.

Summary

In conclusion, InvenTree stands as a comprehensive solution for businesses seeking to optimize their inventory management and streamline operational workflows. With its robust features and intuitive interface, InvenTree empowers organizations to efficiently track and manage suppliers, manufacturers, customers, and inventory items. From creating sales orders and managing procurement processes to orchestrating build orders and handling returns, InvenTree offers a seamless end-to-end solution tailored to meet the diverse needs of modern businesses. By leveraging InvenTree, businesses can enhance efficiency, improve accuracy, and ultimately drive success in today's dynamic marketplace.

Shop-Jets provides comprehensive services encompassing setup, customization, and ongoing support tailored specifically for integrating InvenTree with your ecommerce platform. Our team ensures seamless integration and optimization of InvenTree to align with the unique requirements and functionalities of your ecommerce ecosystem. Whether it's configuring settings, adapting features, or resolving technical issues, Shop-Jets delivers personalized assistance to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of your inventory management system.

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