Today I finished a workshop about Enterprise middleware including a whole letter soup like ERP, CRM, BPM, and MRP. The event was lenghty, it took place in the middle of a series of conferences and workshops including others like videogame development etc.
The Enterpise solution workshop was part of the full course that I have built for private offerings. The course take into account the implementation and overview of an array of enterprise solutions that are under an open source license. The solutions include software like OpenERP, OpenBravo, WebERP, and other solutions like SugarCRM and ProcessMaker.
The workshop was originally planned to have the simulation of a full company interacting between departments where the participant will be part of a department of this virtual company and will execute process such as Sales Orders, Manufacturing orders and finally supply chain.
Unfortunately several issues like lack of prepareness due to an last minute turnout made me believe just canceling the Workshop. This made me not do the homework needed for the excercises. Then a high level of tiny tasks acumulated to be a bit pressured, setting the virtual machine to make it able for the local PCs to access the data through the network. There also needed to improvise while some of the tasks like adding the users to the system needed to take place.
Eventually we decided to slowly give some tasks while the workshop really became a conference. As I went on explaining what is the concept of ERP, how to look at it and compare it with many of the real examples. The sad story of internal developed processes where programmers virtually developed a monster of an application that is both new and obsolete and is not well documented, and not compatible with what the next developer might think of it. Eventually becoming a frankenstein applications or on more coloquial terms, a kludge.
Fortunately I was able to put enough theory that even if the assistants didn’t get to play with the application as originally intended. They manage to do the following tasks:
- Login the system
- Access all the ERP modules
- Raise a purchase order
- Check the visualization graph
- Identify anomalities in the orders
One of the common hickups some users experience was they werent able to finalize the purchase. This because they needed aditional requisites to go to the final stage of the sales flow. Another hickup was correctly selecting the costumer with the category of the request. This mean that as they fill out the sales order, the product belonged to the wrong category.
However they were able to print the order into a PDF making it good enough for the nature of the excercise. One second hickup wasn’t able to find how to mark the order as Recieved. Hopefully I will get more assistance as I investigate the nature of the process.
After the excercise was done we saw the graph change dramatically not only in the ammount of orders but also on the graph and the impact on the MRP (Manufacturing Resource Planning), obviously demanding more supplies to procurement which needed to approved. The sudden increase lead to display an impressive graph based on the different category of products making it interesting to find why other products was so high than the rest.
Here it led us to view a ridiculous number that has skyrocket the ammount of money needed for such purchase. Eventually we found an order for many thousands of Ice cream which was funny and insightful since it allow us to look for the responsible of such purchase and get to recognized the power of having processes that can be easily audited.
The next day I was able to move on from OpenERP to other ERP systems like WebERP which was a much simpler ERP to understand as well as OpenBravo which was on the opposite side of the spectrum a way more complete software.
During the session we got to spend time between the diverse applications and be able to compare them. Unfortunately for us WebERP wasn’t as easy to view thanks for the college proxy or the demo was broken at the moment.
I also showed a youtube video about the story of OpenBravo as a case study to see how companies get builted and how it can be done in open source.
In the end the assistants of the conference got what they came for and more. I most say is not bad for a first version of the project and also give me a better view how to conduct these activities. I also got to recieve my activity and people seemed to have enjoyed the conference.
More pictures from the workshop and the event in general include the following: