ABC Inventory Review—Is It Worth It?


If you’re looking to streamline your supply chain and minimize stockouts on a budget, ABC Inventory may be a good option. But it comes with some hefty drawbacks too.

Best for Distribution
3.5 out of overall
Free software download
Unlimited records
Multiple warehouse support
An outdated interface

When it comes to free inventory software, ABC Inventory offers some of the best value. Unlike other free options, the software doesn’t put a cap on the number of stock items, sales, purchase orders, or warehouses.

There is a catch, though. In our experience, ABC Inventory is a bit of a dinosaur. While the platform can certainly keep up with other inventory control software in terms of raw power, it unfortunately hasn’t been scaled up to match the abilities and speed of modern operating systems.

To get more details on ABC Inventory, what it does well, and where it falls short, read our full review below.

ABC Inventory (the brand) vs. ABC inventory (the method)

In this article, we’re reviewing the inventory management software ABC Inventory. For more information on ABC inventory analysis and categorization, we recommend checking out this guide.

ABC Inventory is best for distribution on a budget

ABC Inventory software offers two big perks: it’s free, and it offers unlimited items and warehouses.

That’s good news for distributors on a budget, since you can enjoy free inventory control software that’s robust enough to handle complicated shipping needs, warehousing, and supply chain models—not to mention high volumes of products.

Unlike many inventory management options, ABC Inventory also allows you to track inventory by location. That helps significantly in your inventory planning, since you can easily assess the number of products in stock within each warehouse and direct sales to whichever warehouse has the most stock availability.

ABC Inventory pros and cons

Strengths
  • Free software download
  • Unlimited records
  • Multiple-warehouse support
  • Kitting support
Weaknesses
  • An outdated interface
  • Single-user local software
  • PC support only (no mobile or iOS devices)
  • Next to no customer support
  • No integrations

ABC Inventory pros

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ABC Inventory is completely free—no up-front fees, no monthly payments, and no upgrade expenses. That automatically gives it a leg up over many of the other inventory management platforms on the market.

And we know what you’re thinking: What’s the catch? Usually, free inventory software comes with a cap on the number of orders you can accept or the number of items you can track. But ABC Inventory actually allows unlimited stock entries, so you can keep tabs on as many items as you need to.

ABC Inventory also offers support for businesses with multiple warehouses, as well as kitting* functionality—both features that many full-cost providers don’t offer.

On the whole, ABC Inventory offers great value considering that it’s free.

*Kitting: selling multiple items as part of a single unit (like a beginner’s set of dance apparel, for example)

ABC Inventory cons

The biggest drawback we found with ABC Inventory is its interface. The software was clearly designed to match other programs in the Windows XP operating system. Unfortunately, Windows XP became obsolete years ago, and ABC Inventory hasn’t kept up with the times.

Another issue? ABC Inventory software supports only a single user on a single PC. Large enterprises with multiple inventory managers will find this particularly challenging, as you’ll have to relay all stock information through a single point of contact who can enter that data into your system. And if your business runs on iOS or mobile devices . . . well, ABC Inventory’s probably not for you.

ABC inventory also doesn’t offer much in the way of customer support. It’s basically just a free software you can download from an outdated-looking website. There are a couple of user manuals, a forum, and some basic contact info you can try. But you won’t find any high-tech customer support chat features with this option.

And other inventory options (even free ones) allow you to connect your inventory software with your accounting and point-of-sale systems. This makes essential business tasks (like calculating your cost of goods sold or your gross margin) a lot easier. But ABC Inventory definitely doesn’t play nice with others. In fact, the service offers absolutely no integrations whatsoever.

ABC Inventory plans and pricing

Who doesn’t love free things? We certainly do. And the good news here is ABC Inventory is completely free. End of sentence. The platform doesn’t hold back its best features for customers who upgrade their plans. There are no plans. You simply download the ABC Inventory software and start entering your stock items and calculating customer demand. Easy peasy.

Key features of ABC Inventory

ABC Inventory offers a lot of functionality under all that Windows XP-style navigation. Here are a few of the highlights.

Inventory management

ABC Inventory offers tons more features than other free software options. In fact, its inventory management options are about on par with what you’d get from a paid inventory management solution. Your software includes some basic features:

  • Low stock notifications
  • Inventory master list with unit details and filters
  • Automatic assignment of serial and lot numbers
  • Inventory categories
  • Multiple currencies
  • Warehouse and stock location movement logs
  • Inventory reports

These features help you keep tabs on your inventory levels, regulate your safety stock, and monitor when items fall below their reorder point.

In addition, ABC Inventory offers robust options for calculating your inventory costs. You can use the first in, first out (FIFO) method, the last in, first out (LIFO) method, and even average inventory costing to determine your cost of goods sold—giving you the flexibility to manage your cost allocation in a way that makes the most sense for your business.

Sales and shipping

As we already mentioned, ABC Inventory allows you to manage your inventory across multiple warehouses—a feature that’s often not available with paid inventory management systems, let alone free platforms.

In addition, ABC Inventory can help you complete many of your business’s major shipping and sales tasks:

  • Automate invoices for shipping and handling
  • Print pick and pack lists in multiple formats
  • Scan stock tags using a barcode scanner
  • Process orders with multiple “ship to” locations
  • Set payment terms for sales and purchase orders
  • Automatically generate purchase orders (and price quotations) based on historical data
  • Maintain a supplier database
  • Automatically generate backorders on oversold stock

These features make it a breeze to manage your supply chain, which is why we recommend ABC Inventory so highly for distributors on a budget. But if you’re a retailer shipping directly to your clients, these shipping options can still help you maximize customer satisfaction by ensuring orders get sent out promptly and accurately.

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Asset management

ABC Inventory software also stands out when it comes to non-retail inventory features. For instance, the platform can help you track inventory leasing instead of just sales. It can also help you create barcode tags and labels for non-sellable items (like the computers your employees use) so you can keep tabs on all your company’s assets.

What’s more, ABC Inventory can handle tracking for both tangible assets (like computers) and intangible assets (like your IT specialist’s work hours). The platform even offers asset-to-asset allocation and repair tracking, so you can easily allocate your IT specialist’s time to a repair and log that repair on the computer’s item log.

We also like that ABC Inventory offers complex inventory analysis to help you track your assets’ value over time. Features like usage counters (which track the number of times an item gets used), energy consumption counters (for tracking energy usage by each of your assets), and depreciation comparison reports help you estimate how much your assets are actually worth after wear and tear.

All this makes ABC Inventory a great inventory management solution for businesses that need IT asset tracking.

Manufacturing

If you’re a manufacturer, ABC Inventory has features for you too.

ABC Inventory software can generate advanced parts and labor quotations, and it automatically calculates the cost of assembly for the items you decide to make. That saves you an extra step down the line and helps you analyze each production run to ensure maximum efficiency while also meeting customer demand.

The platform also offers automatic parts consumption, meaning any components or raw materials used to create products for your customers are automatically deducted from your overall inventory counts.

ABC Inventory management software also allows you to create complex bills of materials (BOMs) with up to 20 levels—perfect for manufacturers making complex products with nested components and raw materials.

Integrations

In many ways, ABC Inventory software is ahead of the curve compared to many other free inventory management options. But it lags behind when it comes to integrations.

In fact, ABC Inventory offers no software integrations at all. Zero. Zilch. None.

The result? Business owners don’t get to enjoy one of the best parts of inventory management software: automatic stock depletion and accounting. Since your ABC Inventory software can’t integrate with your point-of-sale system, you’ll have to manually enter each sale into your inventory system to show that those inventory items are no longer available. And since your inventory software can’t communicate with your accounting solution, you don’t get automatic cost of goods sold calculations.

In other words, ABC Inventory’s lack of integration options means more work for you—and potentially lower inventory accuracy since you have to manually enter inventory events in multiple places.

Customer support

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As we said before, ABC Inventory’s customer service options are pretty sparse.

The company that created ABC Inventory (Almyta Systems) provides a series of user manuals on its website, which are certainly helpful when you’re just getting started with ABC’s inventory software. But many users have complained that this documentation just doesn’t offer enough help for common issues outside of setup.1

If you run into more complex inventory management problems, you won’t find any helpful tutorials, customer service reps, or webinars. Instead, there’s a forum, where you and other users can post questions and answers to common issues.

Have a problem your fellow ABC Inventory users can’t answer? You can attempt to contact Almyta Systems via their email address or phone number.

ABC Inventory FAQ

What is ABC inventory control?

ABC inventory control is a system in which you group your inventory items into three groups based on their importance. A-level items are considered to be important to your organization, B-level items are of intermediate importance, and C-level items only marginally matter to your business.

Classifying your stock based on this system allows you to easily identify the costs and risks that make the most sense for your business. For example, you may decide to order extra A-level items even though you’ll face higher holding costs because you know the product’s super-high profit margin will make up for your increased costs.

Be aware, though, that ABC inventory control is not the same thing as ABC Inventory management software (which simply shares its name with this inventory control method). It’s confusing, we know.

IS ABC Inventory worth trying?

If you’re on a budget and need an inventory management system that can help you track your stock and keep up with demand, ABC Inventory is a good choice. While it’s not our favorite free inventory software, it certainly deserves a place in the conversation. And since it doesn’t cost anything, there’s no pressure to stick with ABC Inventory if it’s not a good fit for your business.

The takeaway

ABC Inventory checks many of the boxes when it comes to quality inventory management. It can help you keep tabs on your inventory levels and manage stock across multiple warehouses, and it’s absolutely free to use. It can even help you track your inventory value on items your employees use to maintain your business.

However, there’s a bit of truth to the maxim, “You get what you pay for.” While it offers lots of powerful features, ABC Inventory is definitely clunky and outdated—making it difficult to actually get the most out of the platform.

In general, we recommend using ABC Inventory if you’re running a shipping and distribution business without a budget for better inventory management. But we’d also recommend upgrading to a more user-friendly option as soon as you’re able to afford it.

Thinking about upgrading to a more modern inventory software? We’ve got you covered. First stop: our review of the top inventory management platforms.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don’t guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Sources

  1. CNET, “ABC Inventory Software