Here is a quick list of things that I would like… I realize that some (most?) of this is possible using manual methods, but it would be nice to have some more intelligence built in.
I’d like to be able to create either a Project or a Production Order directly from the Sales Order. Once submitted, under the “Make” button, you could select Project or Production Order. Project would be used for Service items, like Engineering, and Production Order would be used for Items, Products, etc.
The Sales Order (maybe starting with Quote) should be selectable as fixed or not. This would allow us to do fixed cost Projects/Production or Time/Material Projects/Production Orders. (Lots on this in Project, below)
The flow would look something like:
Sales Order -> Project -> Invoice -> etc
Sales Order -> Production Order -> Material Things, Time Keeping -> Invoice.
This would tie in with the above suggestion and pull in the details of a Sales Order.
Sales Order amount = Estimated Cost
Sales Order Lines = Tasks
Fixed/Non-fixed = billable Time Logs or not/how Costing and Billing is handled
Next is time logs. It would be REALLY nice to be able to simply clock in/clock out of Projects/Tasks. Time Logs are usefully for corrections, additions, etc but they can’t be used in real-time. This could be a simple button on the top of the Project, that would create a start/stop time for that project for that user. The catch is Activity Type would have to entered so the system knows what rate to complete at, maybe just a simple pop-up selection?
Creating Invoices right from Projects or Tasks would be great too:
Project -> Task -> Invoice
That would allow us to Invoice customers when Tasks/Milestones were completed. This could also be tied back into the Costing/Billing area of the Project which could use some more intelligence/analysis capability.
-For a fixed price Project, Estimated Cost from the Sales Order, or manually entered, should be pushed into “Total Billing Amount.”
-Total Billing amount on non fixed cost projects should include Total Labor Billing Amount, Total Purchase Cost, Total Expense Claims, and Total Manufacturing Costs. These extra amounts should also have a markup figure.
-“Total Purchase Cost” should also be able to come from Purchase Order, Instead of just Purchase Invoice
-I’d like to have “Total Manufacturing Amount” to account for Production Orders that are created and completed against a Project. We do this all the time! this would also be added to “Total Billing Amount.” and/or added into margin calculations
-“Amount Invoiced” and “Amount Paid” would be helpful to have right there to see how much of the project has been billed and paid. “Real-Time Profit/Loss” would be a great field to have as well, which would be an easy look at the health of a project. This would come from Total Billing Amount and Amount Invoiced
That would make Project a home-run for us, and likely many other Engineering and Engineer-to-order companies!
Again, it would be awesome to have a simple Clock In/ Clock Out method for creating time logs. Again, just a simple button on top of the Task to create a start/stop time for that user. Activity Type could be set by a Task property, or by a pop-up type entry.
Creating an Invoice straight from a Task would be really nice. Like above this could be used to track real time profit and loss for a project. Also, an option to automatically create an Invoice when a Task is completed would be awesome! - This could be done for a Project as well.
Production/ Production Order
This module is a bit clunky, but overall it works decent. The one major issue I’ve found is that if an Item is manufactured there is no catch if “Quality Inspection Required” is active. This seems to only actually require the inspection record for Purchase Reciept. I think the best place to put another catch is in the Delivery Note. If a product is on a Delivery Note and has not completed its required quality inspection, the Delivery Note should be rejected.
The next thing is I would like an option to set “Standard Operation Cost” at the Operation level instead of relying on Workstation. The issue here is that I need to assign Workstation upfront, before I really know where the operation is going to be completed. So what I did was create Workstations that matched 1 to 1 with operations and thought I was in the clear… until I needed to create two Time Logs at the same time for the same operation. Workstation cost for things like Rent, Power, etc could be added to the Standard Operation cost, or have Standard Operation Cost could be overruled by Workstation if applicable.
Serial Numbers are another thing that could use some work. Simply - I’d like to be able to auto create serial numbers for manufactured numbers by basically using the Production Order number as the “series.” So my serial numbers would end up being something like: 12340001, where 1234 is the Production Order, and 0001 is the sequential number within that order. Batch could even be added in: 1234XX0001, where XX would be the batch number. This would allow an easy way to tell where products came from. I’ve been doing this for years with another company and it is soooo nice!
I would also like to build some financial intelligence into Production Order. If the Quote was fixed then the cost of the Production Order could be calculated along the lines of how the Project I proposed is… It’s fairly cost with “Planned Operation Cost” and “Total Operation Cost” but I think that could be improved a bit, with fixed cost vs non fixed cost. It would be nice, again to make a Delivery Order, and Invoice based on “Total Operation Cost” with a markup… I need to think about this some more before making solid recommendations.
I would also like to see a Quality/Inspection option added to any Operation, so an inspection record could be make right at an Operation during a Production Order process.
I think if that stuff could get ironed out ERPNext would be one of the most intelligent systems out there for actually processing Projects and Manufacturing efforts. I just wish I had more time to learn the coding end of the system and pitch in myself.
This is an edit:
I would also like a simple way to process payroll for employees that are paid hourly. This should be pretty straight forward using Time Logs from Projects and Manufacturing. I haven’t looked into specifics so I don’t have exact recommendations but right now I have to manually pull Time Logs for each employee and process outside of ERPNext then go back in and do a JV… it’s a pain.
What would be great is to generate a time card based on pay period, assign to managers for approval, then back to HR for processing, and onto Accounting for distribution to employees or payroll company.