ERP software provides many advantages when properly deployed, helping businesses streamline their everyday operations and develop better strategies. The most-used systems are also costly.
Smaller businesses may not have the funds for top tier ERP solutions. Luckily, you also have access to many open source solutions.
Free ERP software may lack some of the features found in high-priced systems. However, these solutions still provide an integrated system for everything from finances to supply chain management.
Here are the best free ERP systems:
ERPNext is one of the most used open-source ERP solutions, thanks to its user-friendly interface. The software is intended for small-sized to medium-sized businesses. It features a simple layout consisting of various apps to handle different functions, such as:
- Human resources
The software provides solutions for a wide range of industries, such as manufacturing, retail, education, healthcare, and agriculture. You can access accounting tools, payroll management features, and asset management tracking. It also provides a framework for setting up an online marketplace.
This is a pay-as-you-go application, with a basic set of functions for standard users. While the core features are free, extra services and options cost more. For example, if you want to add support or need hosting for the ERP software, ERPNext has paid plans.
Overall, ERPNext provides a great user experience but may lack the features needed for large organizations. However, small businesses should find it easy to implement and use.
Dolibarr ERP offers a wide range of features, comparable to some of the best paid ERP solutions. It is available on all platforms, including cloud services.
The core features cover almost every area of business management for the typical organization, including:
- Product and stock
- Finance and billing
It also provides integration with a variety of SaaS products, including email clients and accounting software.
The developers behind Dolibarr frequently update the software. It continues to stand out as a full-featured ERP solution. If it does not contain specific features or functionality that you require, Dolibarr offers access to hundreds of add-ons and plugins.
While the software itself is free to use, the add-ons and plugins are not free. However, most of the extras are reasonably priced.
The only drawback is the complexity of integrating the software. Without a dedicated IT team, small business owners may struggle to implement Dolibarr ERP.
OpenBravo offers web-based and cloud-based ERP solutions for mid-sized companies, with several different releases to choose from. OpenBravo Community is the free version of the software and includes fewer features compared to the premium releases.
Even with fewer features, OpenBravo Community Edition still provides support for core business processes, including sales, manufacturing, finances, procurement, and MRP.
As with many of the free ERP systems, OpenBravo offers a large selection of paid extensions. However, you need to upgrade to one of the commercial editions to access the add-ons.
iDempiere includes many features found on other free ERP systems. Many of these solutions are based on Compiere, which was one of the first open-source ERP projects. iDempiere was developed as a fork of ADempiere, which was a fork of the open-source edition of Compiere.
iDempiere has won many awards and honors from the IT community, thanks to its accessibility. You can use this software on almost any device, including smartphones and tablets. It also includes more functionality for supply chain management (SCM) processes compared to some of the other choices.
Odoo gives users access to business tools for almost any business process. In fact, you can browse over 10,000 apps for the platform.
As with a few of the other options, Odoo offers a paid version and a free version of its software. The free version has limited features, but still covers most areas of the typical business. You can find tools for accounting, tracking tasks, CRM, sales, HR, and inventory management.
With the free version, you can either self-host the source code or use the cloud service offered through Odoo. The cloud service only allows up to 50 users per account, while self-hosted software provides greater customization.
The interface is easy to navigate, and the software scales easily, thanks to the variety of apps.
Apache OFBiz includes a suite of business tools that you can customize based on your specific needs. It is intended for mid sized to large organizations, with code written in Java for easier integration with existing IT services.
OFBiz allows you to select the modules that you want to use. Some of the options include CRM, accounting, human resources, manufacturing, inventory management, and eCommerce.
The modules are limited compared to some of the other open-source ERP systems. However, Apache OFBiz is one of the easiest solutions to install, implement, and use. The installation process takes seconds, and it integrates with many popular products.
Tips for Selecting the Best Free ERP System
While the systems discussed may cover your specific needs, finding the right solution is important for successfully implementing the software.
To select the right open source ERP software, pay attention to the following:
- User interface
- Deployment options
- Core features
- Total cost
Compare the user interfaces to find an option that you and your staff can easily navigate. You should also explore the deployment options. Options include cloud-based ERP systems and self-hosted software. The cloud-based options typically require a monthly fee, but the software remains free.
While open source ERP systems are free to use, you need to pay for additional features or modules. The software may come with a stripped-down set of features, requiring you to pay extra to manage specific business processes.
No matter which software you choose, do not implement it without creating a thorough deployment plan. Determine how the software will impact daily procedures and processes at the departmental level, and work with supervisors and managers to properly implement the software.