3 free and open source SCM software tools

3 open source software tools for supply chain management

Posted 14 May 2016 by 

Jason Baker (Red Hat)
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Supply chain management software tools
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If you manage a business which deals with physical goods, supply chain management is an important part of your business process. Whether you're running a tiny Etsy store with just a few customers, or a Fortune 500 manufacturer or retailer with thousands of products and millions of customers worldwide, it's important for you to have a close understanding of your inventory and the parts and raw materials you need to make your products.

Keeping track of physical items, suppliers, customers, and all of the many moving parts associated with each can greatly benefit from, and in some cases be totally dependent on specialized software to help you manage these workflows. In this article, we'll take a look at some free and open source software options for supply chain management, and some of the features of each.

Supply chain management goes a little further than just inventory management. It can help you keep track of the flow of goods, to reduce costs, and help plan scenarios in which the supply chain could change. It can help you to keep track of compliance issues, whether these fall under the umbrella of legal requirements, quality minimums, or social and environmental responsibility. It can help you plan the minimum supply to keep on hand, and make smart decisions about order quantities and delivery times.

Because of their nature, a good deal of supply chain management software is bundled with other similar software, such as customer relationship managers and enterprise resource planning tools. So when making a decision about what tool is best for your organization, you may wish to consider integration with other tools as a part of your decision making criteria.

Apache OFBiz

Apache OFBiz is actually a suite of related tools for helping you manage a variety of business processes. While it can manage a variety of related issues like catalogs, e-commerce sites, accounting, and point of sale, its primary supply chain functions focus on warehouse management, fulfillment, order, and manufacturing management. It is very customizable, but the flip side of that is that it requires a good deal of careful planning to set up and integrate with your existing processes, and is probably the best fit for a medium to large scale operation. The project's functionality is built across three layers: presentation, business, and data, making it a scalable solution, but again, a complex one.

The source code of Apache OFBiz can be found in the project's repository here. Apache OFBiz is written in Java and is licensed under an Apache 2.0 license.


OpenBoxes is a supply chain management and inventory control project, primarily and originally designed for keeping track of pharmaceuticals in a healthcare environment, but it can be modified to track any type of stock and the flows associated with it. It has tools for demand forecasting based on historical order quantities, tracking of stock, support of multiple facilities, expiration date tracking, kiosk support, and many other features which make it ideal for healthcare situations but which could also be useful for other industries.

Available under an Eclipse Public License, OpenBoxes is written primarily in Groovy and its source code can be browsed on GitHub.


The last tool in our supply chain management roundup is Odoo, which you might recognize from our previous top ERP projects article. In fact, a full ERP may be good fit for you, depending on your needs. Odoo's supply chain management tools mostly revolve around inventory and purchase management, and connectivity with e-commerce and point of sale, but it can also connect to other tools like frePPLe for open source production planning.

Odoo is available both as a software as a service solution, as well as an open source community edition. The open source edition is released under an LGPL version 3, and the source is available on GitHub. Odoo is primarily written in Python.

There are, of course, other open source tools which can provide help with supply chain management. Know of a good one that we left off here? Let us know in the comments below.

This article was originally posted on January 14, 2016 and last updated May 14, 2016.


Missy Schmidt

Check out North American-based http://xtuple.com/

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John Fandl

Frepple is an incredible planning and forecasting solution - using it to replace Logility for forecasting and demand planning at a multi-billion $ company. Worked with Frepple to enhance the core DRP process - great people to work with - founder Johan De Taeye is an amazing talent. Not just about saving money on overpriced Logility annual maintenance- the solution, which we integrated with their Openbravo ERP, eliminates manual spreadsheet-based steps in the inventory planning and procurement processes.

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Thanks alot for starting your comparison of Open Source Supply Chain Tools. I would like to suggest the following ones too. The first one is ADempiere ERP https://github.com/adempiere/adempiere - a Community driven Open Source ERP Software which has sophisticated SCM functionalities (Warehouse Management, Distribution, Product Planning, Manufacturing, Costing, Accounting). The second one is metasfresh https://github.com/metasfresh/metasfresh - a Distribution of ADempiere which extends the already exitisting SCM functionalities with Handling Unit Management, Tracking an Retraceability, Picking and Transportation Management. Both projects can be found on GitHub.

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Jason is passionate about using technology to make the world more open, from software development to bringing sunlight to local governments. He is particularly interested in data visualization/analysis, DIY/maker culture, simulations/modeling, geospatial technologies, and cloud computing, especially OpenStack. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.