Is ERPNext suitable for company delivering technologies of buildings - CCTV/alarms/electro?

Hi all,
I’m new here and at first, I’d like to thank you for a really great system, with a lot of work behind it. I’m looking for ERP for our company for a pretty long time, I have tried a lot of systems, and I believe that ERPNext will be my final choice in this search. To be honest, I’m already decided for ERPNext. I think that it is such flexible and customizable, that I will be able to make it to do things the way I need, with kind help of the community here.

Now I’m already testing ERPnext, I’m trying to set up the system the way we will use it in real production. I guess I’m pretty deep in it, have studied manuals, videos and discussions here, have set up basics, but there are still some details I need to explain.

Maybe I should ask before starting testing, but better later than never… the most important question is, if ERPnext is suitable for our business? We are company delivering security alarms and CCTV cameras. Our workflow is simple – we buy material (cameras, cables etc) and use it to implemet CCTV or alarm system in various buildings. We need stock mgmt, CRM, purchase/sales mgmt and the most important thing for us, project mgmt (budgeting, costing, time/material tracking). Thus another important question is, if project mgmt as implemented here is suitable also for our business or if it is mainly focused to consultancy and developement projects? Our projects contains both material and services/installation works, and we need to track both of them…

Is there a company in similar business (electro, construction), who has succesfully implemented ERPNext to confirm us, that we are going the right way, and maybe to share some experience?

Thanks a lot in advance, more specific questions will come soon :slight_smile:
Martin

Please chech the following link:

Thank you for a fast reply. I already have seen this video before, it is useful to show basic project mgmt principles and some other areas, but it is focused to manage sw development projects. We have different kind of projects, in our projects there are both material and services items. Shortly, we need to manage both material issued to project from stock and work of people. We are not sales shop, we are not manufacturers, we are not developers, we are something between…
And my question was, if there is anybody who use ERPNext similar way as I described above. I don’t think that our business is a unique, I believe there must be a lot of companies using ERPNext this way, and this is why I asked this question… to make me sure we will be able to set it up for our needs.

If we succeed, we could write a use case for this, I strongly believe it would help a lot of people in similar business, who are not sure if is it suitable for them and how difficult will be implementation.

Use the Project module. Pass all purchases and time sheets through it. You would know exactly how much you spent versus the project value.

We are into ELV as well. We use the Project module for large jobs.

Thank you @Muzzy , I’m glad to see someone from our field here. We can’t pass purchases directly to the project, as we usually don’t have separate purchase orders/invoices for every project. We often buy material for several projects at once or buy material to stock. Thus we use for our projects material from stock and we need to put material costs to project from material requests/issues, what is I think also possible.
But we have some problems with combination of material and services, system creates ie tasks for material items from sales order or material requests for service items, how do you deal with this?

Hi @Muzzy, may I one more ask you for help? You are my last chance :slight_smile:
You are in the same business area as we are and you said, that you use Projects module for large projects. I was already decided for ERPNext, but after two weeks of examinations and testing I’m almost to give it up. There are no guides for our use case and also asking here didn’t bring me any responses.

May I ask you, what procedure do you use to put materials from stock to projects? This is the most important issue I’m facing to now. I tried to describe whole the procedure I’m using here https://discuss.erpnext.com/t/project-workflow-for-company-using-both-services-material-with-tracking-time-material-consumption/42747
But I didn’t get any response, as nobody probably use ERPNext for the such projects like our companies. Thanks a lot…

Hello,

Just replied to the thread you mentioned. But I’d like to suggest talking with a local service provider who can guide you through identifying possible customizations and make recommendations with regards to your use case.

Regards,

Hera

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Hi @littlehera,
thank you for a response, I will look at that thread immediately. I will be very happy if I could talk to some local service provider, I have already tried to found some, but there is no one here in our country. If I would get deeper knowledge how the things work in ERPNext, maybe I will set up a local service provider, as I come from ERP business :slight_smile:

Thank you again,
Martin

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@martin42 yes, we been providing security companies into CCTV, ANPR Cameras etc in the Middle east with erpnext as a solution for the past 3 years.

Hi @vivek,
thank you for you response. You know our business, could you please provide me with basic info, what sales and project workflow did that companies use? I’m interested mostly in stock mgmt, material flow mgmt and project cost/revenue tracking. What were their requirements in this area? Was there any significant amount of features that has to be coded or did you achieve most of the functionality just by setting it up without “touching the code” ? I’m asking before final decision, as I would like to be 100% sure that ERPNext will give us what we need, with reasonable amount of customization works. All the implementation works will be up to us, as we don’t have any service partner near by.

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@martin42

We did touch the code, but that was to tailor very specifically certain requirements of the business, but you should be able to cover most of the requirements without touching the code & by using workflows and email alerts to create different processes involved.

There are many ways to handle it within erpnext, but everything would depend on how you itemize your services & hardware.

BOM can be used to create the costing , hardware & service requirements for each order and will depend on the design of the solution your engineer will be making.

Ones a BOM is done a margin can be added & quoted to your client

A sales order can be made to confirm the customer purchase

A project can be created upon collection of advance

Tasks can be created and assigned to engineers. Important documentation can be collected like site permissions, certifications, licenses etc and attached to the project

Timesheets can be added by your engineers

Stock entries with mini BOM can be made incase of items needing to be combined to track precise cost.

Purchase orders against project if certain items arent in inventory

Delivery note followed by installation notes can be created for the same project

If you are providing ppm Maintainance module can be used

If you are providing support, issue module + maintainance visit form can be used.

Stock entry can manage things like RMA

Serial nos to track warranty gurentee of installed items

Pretty much all business process to my knowledge can be covered.

Where are you based at? Erpnext is a very simple product & remote support is always an effective option if you need professional help.

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@vivek

Thank you a lot for your response, it is really helpful.

I don’t know, if I understand correctly that itemization, but basic items of our projects are components like cameras, network components, electrical devices, distribution boxes, cables etc. From them we create final solution, we don’t have any semi-products and every solution is different. Services we itemize only to the basic types of operations, as are security systems instalation, cctv installations, cable tracks preparation, distribution boxes installation etc.

I was examining variant to use BOMs just shortly, as I thought that it is not the right way to manage workflow of projects we have, and also some posts here confirmed it to me. I will try to describe our business process to explain why I think so:

If we have qualified opportunity, we start to prepare quotation. It takes pretty long time, as such quotation can have hundreds of items like cables, cameras, network components, electronic components and so on. Quotation is usually several times changes as a result of negotiation with the customer. If we succeed, we create sales order from that quotation and subsequently project from the sales order.

Now starts process of implementation – delivering material items and providing installation works. We need to track material issue from stock (it is issued several times to several engineers, as project can take months or even more than year in some cases). There can be also changes during implementation, to be honest, it is pretty often situation. (I wanted to do it the way I described here, but I encountered problems what I also described there.). We also track working time with timesheets, but this area is from my point of view clear in ERPNext.

If I go with BOMs, that if I understood correctly, we should create opportunity, quotation and sales order the way I described above. Then we should create BOM for exactly that configuration, what is in the sales order. It means to create Item called for example „CCTV and Security solution for somebody“, which will be „manufactured“ from all the components in sales order, so we have to re-enter it aslo to BOM. Then create project, enter it to BOM, then create production order and start production. If I have several phases, I will probably need to use Multi level BOMs. And if there are any changes, I will need to modify BOMs and also sales orders to keep them synced, because sales order is not linked with BOM, but it should contain the same components as BOM. And this BOM is not reusable, will be used only once, as every solution is different.

This looks a bit complicated… and I have to say once again that I didn’t test BOMs a much, because I thought, that BOMs are for manufacturing companies, which we are not. But if there is clear, smooth and logical way to use BOMs for projects like ours, there is no reason to don’t go this way…

We are from Czech republic, we tried to found some support here, but there is no one near by.

I think a lot of service providers can give you remote assistance regardless of what country they’re from. :slight_smile:

Some providers work with international clients and may be able to assist with your use case.

@martin42
BOM can be used in stock entry(manufacturing) - it doesn’t need to go through production purpose. For eg a cctv solution might be a combination of cables,sim card, accessories, the cctv itself. This can be put into a BOM & via stock entry made into a single item.

In your line of business you guys have a design document from which you guys formulate a pricing for the sale some call it BOQ , some BOM. Either you can make a new DOCTYPE for BOQ or just use BOM.
We write custom code to explode the BOM in quotation, BOM helps to formulate a cost, the design engineer builds the solution in BOM giving him the cost price which then further can be used in quotation.

BOMs can be reusable via duplication.You can duplicate the design of a similar project and change minor aspects.

But in your country if all items are shown to the client, perhaps BOM might not be required. Additional fields in quotation to capture cost for each line item could be used to formulate budget and sale in one document itself.

My point is erpnext is very flexible & you could persue the way you like it.

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hi @martin42 We do not have complicated process. If we have items in stock then we make material request on Project. Or we make PO from supplier. We use time sheets to track employee time. Cables charged at per meter, other accessories are taken as lot pricing (baluns, plugs). As long as you do not manufacture the Project module can be handy.

BOM would not solve your problem. From a Sales Order make a Project. If you enter right information it will give you gross profit plus track status of each task.

Hi @Muzzy,
your process looks very similar to ours, I also think our process is not very complicated in real. May I ask some more questions?

So your material workflow is Material Request from Sales Order, then Material Issue (if on Stock) or Purchase that goes directly to the project, without any Work-In-Progress warehouse, and then Invoice?

Do you use Delivery Notes? If so, how do you solve problem described here ?

Do you use Cost Centers, or you are happy with analysis shown on project views - Costs and Billing?

Did you do any customization or you only did set up and run?

Hello Dear.
It can be anyway you want.
Just make sure in the Item table in any form. You will find Project Field. When you enter the project in which you will use that item then it will reflect in the project cost.
If you see Project Costing and Billing section. You will find all the cost related to this project ( Total Sales Invoice cost(if any addition Invoice is raised on behalf of this project, Total Purchase Cost (if any Purchase Invoice is raised against this project, Total Material Cost (If any Items are used from the stock using stock issued to the project).
Hope this help. If you would like a professional consultancy then feel free to contact me or @Muzzy

Hi @vivek,
what do you think about variant that @Muzzy recommends?
But I will try also BOM variant you described here, anyway.
So you use BOM just to hide all the items to the customer?
To understand it corectly, you recommend to create BOM at first, before creating Quotation. Then you possibly explode it to Quotation, if you want to show the items?
It depends, sometimes we have to show our customer all the items, it is that Bill of Quantities that you also mentioned. Especially for bigger projects for construction companies it is a must.

Additional fields in quotation to capture cost for each line item could be used to formulate budget and sale in one document itself.

What did you mean by this? I should see costs of the project via items purchase prices in project view, is it right? But maybe I didn’t understand it correctly, as I found this issue, when in project view - estimated cost field is displayed sales amount

I definitely agree that erpnext looks very flexible, and I still believe that there must be a way to achieve our goal and set it up to fulfill our needs, only thing I need is to get deeper into it and understand, how does it work.