We are starting a small plastic goods manufacturing company which will start with 2 molding equipment and a small warehouse (around 7 employees to start, growing to potentially 22 if we run full time). Our process will include bringing in different types of raw material for storage and processing, producing either standard products or customized (with customer logo extruded), then final goods will be stored for shipping or delivery. Excess produced material will be regrind and mixed in with raw materials.
So basically we will need a system that enables tracking and management of raw material, equipment and their maintenance schedule, customer orders (and customization), a decent MRP, management of final products, and some aspects of quality control (will need to conduct some tests for each batch), and the financials. This will be our first exposure to ERP in such an environment.
With that in mind, and given our size:
is ERPnext a suitable system to consider for our needs, or would you suggest alternatives (especially given the limited availability of technical resources to oversee implementation). I hear of Odoo, as well as Plex, Fishbowl and at the high end Dynamics but not sure how they’d compare.
Also, is it best to start with an ERP from the get go, or to have some manual (Excel or SharePoint based) processes in place to streamline the work flow until we grow to a certain size?
is there good documentation available on the associated ERP business/ops workflow for me to look at?
to get into all this, what resources would you recommend I get acquainted with, and what deployment patch would you recommend (self host, or some well established web host, etc).
finally (and this is out of curiousity), as we will be primarily using office 365 business premium, can data out of erpnext be integrated with SharePoint, PowerBI, or other O365 tools?
Yes, ERPNext would be best suited for all your needs. Buying/Selling, Inventory Management, Manufacturing (Production Planning), Accounting, Quality Control
You will need a Project Champion who has good knowledge of your business process. Functional knowledge of your business process and some knowledge of how ERP in general works is more important than Technical Knowledge.
You will need a Project Champion regardless of whether you choose to implement it yourself of choose to work with a Partner/Service Provider.
Odoo is not truly open-source now. Not heard of Plex or Fishbowl. Dynamics would be very expensive for something to begin with.
Sooner is better according to me. For a few reasons
You will not have any legacy data to worry about
Using a streamlined system from the beginning will train the team members to be streamlined and organised
Cost of ERPNext is not prohibitive
Documentation is available on the web, you have the Discuss forum as well to help you out for basic questions.
Start with a Trial version and play around with ERPNext, that is the best way to get acquainted and learn. Refer to the documentation and videos available online
I would recommend ERPNext hosted instance, that way you do not have to worry about Server or Application Maintenance .
Why integrate with any other source if you can do most things on ERPNext, use their Reporting and Chart function for BI. Backups are included in ERPNext Cloud hosting. Don’t see the need to integrate with anything else
Disclaimer: I am an Implementation Partner for ERPNext
I haven’t heard of xTuple but on their Github repo, there are only 39 contributors where as ERPNext has 265 contributors, number of contributors may not be the only point to be compared but gives you a fair idea of its adoption. Also tried to setup xTuple out of curiosity, looks like it is not fully Opensource and free to use.