ERPNext Customer Story: Getting started with an ERP
How ERPNext is helping our pharma startup get off the ground.
This last month has been quite productive for us not just in terms of using the ERP but also for us as we are getting ready to start production of our cosmetic products.
This was when we decided to look seriously at the website module and to be honest I was a little skeptical about having the website from the ERP. I thought maybe it may not serve our purpose entirely. As we explored the module I was pleasantly surprised at the functionality that it presents and how a startup like us can benefit from the same. Yes we have had to make some changes to the web layout and stuff but then I can see that its in the right direction as you pointed out that it needs to be optimised for various devices. Looking at various websites I can see that many are opting for a single column layout. I appreciate the fact that you explained the reasoning for the same and did not just try to justify the way the ERP works.
Our staff at the office are pretty ordinary people who work hard to make sure the administration of a company's affairs are carried out smoothly. They are not computer literate in the sense that they cannot manage everything on a computer. They have no training on the various office softwares but have learnt on the job and know the basics of what needs to be done. When we decided to shift from tally to erpnext it was huge task for them mentally as they were in a comfort zone with tally. They could manage with tally in their own way without getting intimidated. Initially we had like a handholding phase for about a week when we went live with erpnext. I showed them the various things they needed to know and then slowly asked them to start using the product. The data forms look more complex than tally but thats for obvious reasons. Once they came to terms with the fact that we are going ahead with the implementation they gave a serious shot to understand an ERP. The fact that within a week they were as comfortable with ERPNext as they were with tally speaks a lot about the ease of use of ERPNext.
A lot of ERPs basically do the same thing. ERPNext is pretty much the same. It helps in managing the resources of a company. The difference between ERPNext and others I feel is the ease with which you can get things done. Though a lot of products pitch this functionality very few actually deliver on the same. The product might have the capability to do a particular function but if its not easy to use its as good as not having the functionality. I have really appreciated the product when we decided to do the website because so many things can be done with a few clicks and you have a good professional looking website. The same applies to the other modules as well.
Being Open Source, free and easy to use can be used very well for marketing your product. A lot of people, me included, feel really harassed when we deal with companies pitching their softwares. Apart of the initial costs there is always a catch somewhere and then you end up spending something every year without actually getting any benefit from the same. I really like the fact that you guys are giving the product free of cost and are charging only for the services. It gives me a lot of peace as I don't have to bother about the installation, hardware etc.. Going ahead we are thinking of using ERPNext for one of our other companies as well. I cannot give you a time frame but we are surely giving it a serious thought. Since it is an older company we need to deal with some legacy issues. Once we are through with them I guess we can move ahead quickly.
As with all good things the challenge is in remaining true to your core self. Sometimes in this mad rush of life we tend to forget what actually made the product a success. I am saying this with our experience with cosmetics. We added products which our sales partners demanded without thinking too much into it and finally ended up being confused with what and who we were. We actually have had to stop production, scrap product lines and also change the brand name. We are again starting from where we had started earlier only that we will now take a slightly different path. I see that you guys are improving the product by leaps and bounds after introducing the regular updates model. So far it has been in line with what the product stands for. I just hope that you don't dilute your core product values as you go about improving the product and adding functionality. It would be one hell of a blow if that happens. I would like to end on this note and hope that its has given some food for thought without sounding preachy. Keep up the good work as your effort is definitely helping small companies in becoming organised in what is increasingly a chaotic world.
Mehul Mehta is an entrepreneur and the founder of Mehta Herbs, based in Coimbatore, India. He is an active user of ERPNext.