Inventory Control Systems

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Updated Post: https://www.theitcave.com/post/389

I typically don’t do product endorsements on my blog, but in this case, it’s a bit different. At work, I am responsible for inventory management whether it’s toner stock or spare computers. I also have this issue where I have inventory split between locations. Knowing what is where is difficult to track at times and sometimes it’s a crapshoot to figure out where it is – sometimes it’s at an office that is further away from me or I have to check several areas first. Yeah, it’s never fun. It ends up in wasted gas, wasted time, and wasted money.

One of the major common issues we have is monitoring toner stock for the machines in our main office. As a mortgage company, we use a lot of toner – a lot of toner. We use so much that I call the stuff black gold. But I digress. Our major issue, as I was saying, is monitoring backstock. Our supplier lets us order two toners per machine at a time. So we carry a lot of toner for our copy machines plus we also carry toner for our other printers.

To manage all of this inventory, I needed to find a product that was first off free. I don’t like getting approval to buy software and then you get hammered by sales calls… some of these guys do anything to make a sale and it’s crazy. Second, open source. I love open source software because it means I can take it and work with it. If there’s a feature that doesn’t work right, I can tinker with it. Or maybe there’s a feature that doesn’t work right for us. Again, I can take it and change it around or remove it completely. Third, it needs to work within our existing infrastructure – preferably Linux over Windows (call me crazy – we’re a Microsoft shop and we have a ton of Windows servers, but I’ll take an Apache server over an IIS server which requires licensing).

So through lots of Googling and lots of searching my favorite source for software, SourceForge, I finally was pointed in the right direction to the perfect software package: Tracmor. Tracmor is open source, however they also offer a SaaS solution if you’d prefer your inventory hosted off-site. You can download the code from the Tracmor Google Project site. Unfortunately, I can’t share our screenshots but you can see the demo screenshots on the Tracmor site.

Overall, Tracmor has been wonderful and great! We can easily track inventory that moves or needs to be checked in and out such as our Sprint mobile hotspots. We can easily see what and how much toner we have in stock and where it is. We can also see what computers are available for staff and where they’re located. The software was extremely easy to install into a shared Linux Apache server as the only requirements are MySQL and PHP5. If you need to have inventory control, my vote is for Tracmor.

Overall score: 8/10

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