Free/Open-source ERP Software For Managing Inventory, Project Builds

Does anyone use an ERP software to manage their projects?

Personally I’m interested in managing my inventory of electronics parts + BOMs, as well as tracking all built units with e.g. build notes, calibration/test results, repair logs (PLM).

My ideal workflow (which I may have to build slowly/some day), would be uploading a Digikey order, existing inventory gets incremented. Then when building a project, it will decrement all the relevant parts (and/or tell me what I need to order). Ideally it would also store e.g. DXF/STL files so I know what things I also need to build. Barcode scanning/printing support is a definite nice-to-have.

In all my design software I would just reference the ERP part ID, and can e.g. make changes to suppliers/pricing info without having to update project files.

So far I’ve looked at the following 3 open-source choices (having a free core/community edition, at least. I would be most comfortable with a lightweight self-hosted version rather than a cloud/SaaS):

ERPNext: /
Python, GPLv3. Fully open-source.

Tryton: /
Python, GPLv3. Fully open-source.

Odoo /
Python, LGPLv3. Has self-hosted open-source community edition (but features such as barcodes, and product upgrades, are proprietary + paid).

I’m super curious about what everyone else is using, how your workflow is organized, and any other suggestions you may have!


Suggestions from Slack conversation on #random-projectry thread:

Courtesy of @mike:
Proprietary, Cloud/SaaS.

Courtesy of @rsim (his custom software!):
Javascript, MIT. Fully open-source.

Courtesy of @jarrett:
Proprietary, Cloud/SaaS.


I reviewed all the options that I had found at one point:

But since then, I’ve stuck with @rsim’s HardInventory, because I’m pretty into the Google Sheets backend for when I don’t actually feel like dealing with a front end, and it’s simple enough


I ended up going with Tryton:


  • Open-source (and always has been, no premium or proprietary features), self-hosted. GPL as a license isn’t too bad although I personally prefer the MIT license (such as HardInventory uses). Eliminates Shotgun, PartsBox, and Odoo.
  • Supports postgresql, which I am already using. Eliminates ERPNext.
  • ERPNext (my second choice) seemed a bit unpolished, perhaps because it is from non-English speakers, but it still impacted my experience.
  • Tryton has a clear module/plugin system, and a scripting API. I added a barcode plugin and it worked.
  • Has a multi-platform desktop client app
  • The “GNU Health” project is based on it and extends it for FOSS hospital management, and I support the intent and scale of that project and their choices for building it on Tryton.


  • Doesn’t have a iOS / Android app.
  • No integration with e.g. Digikey, Mouser.
  • Quite a lot of initial setup – it started with almost nothing and you need to add the modules you want, then configure the details (basic Business/Employee/Accounting info just to start, but may be useful later)

I can share the infrastructure / setup details with anyone who is interested.

And now, I’ve got a barcode scanner and boxes of old digikey parts to go through!


This looks interesting, too:

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I need to get started with one of these. I’ve used ERPNext for a couple years for the CRM aspects, but have switched over to a free plan on Hubspot which is working well. ERPNext was very unpolished and I didn’t even get to trying out the inventory/manufacturing aspects of it.

My needs:

  • Track inventory of parts from Digikey, AE/TaoBao, and other suppliers (everything from electronics to pipe fittings to hose to acrylic sheet)
  • Track the location of the inventory. My stuff is spread out between my home shop, my office, and VHS. Unfortunately it’s incredibly common for a critical component to be at the wrong place when I’m trying to build something.
  • Track inventory of subassemblies. I want to be able to create an internal work order to create QTY:6 of a given subassembly, and have the system know it’s BOM and debit the inventory of all inputs required, and credit the inventory of the subassembly.
  • Include the working files and assembly instructions (photos, etc.) to make each subassembly.

It looks like Tryton could do all this, but the demo looks far too complicated. Like I would have to spend some time disabling the many features I don’t want to use.

@paulreimer it sounds like you’re up to speed with it. Could I convince you to meet up with me for a beer and a config-a-thon?