ERPNext Review – Is It The Best Open Source ERP?

ERPNext Logo

This is our detailed review of the open source ERP software called ERPNext. Not sure what any of that means? You can learn what ERP is here. Find out more about other Open Source ERPs here.

On with the ERPNext Review…

ERPnext is a python based open source ERP software package. The first official release was in 2008 and is made by an Indian based company called Frapee.

ERPnext is a generic ERP platform, which means it is designed in a modular way that it can cater to many different businesses.

There has been considerable enhancements made to the code base in recent years and it does not look to be slowing down any time soon!

Frappe Framework

ERPnext is built upon the Frappe framework, which is an opinionated, batteries included python server side framework.

ERPNext Framework - What does it mean question mark

Huh? Opinionated? Batteries included… What does that mean?

In plain English being opinionated means that the framework has strict ways that the code must be written. Having batteries induced means that most common requirement for building applications have already been developed.

Internationalisation

ERPNext has a strong support for over 80 languages. The system has a very robust translation system that allows for user contributed translations.

License

ERPNext is released under the GNU GPLv3 license.

What types of business is ERPNext for?

With a wide range of modules available almost any business can take advantage of ERPNext. However there are a number of businesses that are specifically catered for including:

  • Services
  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution
  • Retail and Wholesale
  • Agriculture
  • Education
  • Not for Profit
  • Healthcare
  • Hospitality

User Interface

There is a standard look and feel for all screens across all modules, which is nice and clean. Once you get used to it it is quite easy to use and navigate.

Is It Mobile Friendly?

All screens are mobile friendly and are easy to use on small mobile screens and works really well on tablets like the iPad.

There is an Android and IOS app available in app store. Functionality of the app is limited at present but there are plans for improvement.

Ease of Installation

Frappe has it’s own specific installation and configuration tools, called the bench. If you want to mange your own installation then you will need to get your head around the specifics of the framework but it’s fairly straight forward after that.

A production instance of ERPNext requires a number of components to operate:
– The Python process running bench
– A number of Redis instances for caching and realtime updates
– Mariadb database

Installation on a dedicated server is fairly straight forward if you follow the Hitchhikers Guide to Installing on Linux

Can ERPNext run in Docker?

There is an official docker image but at the time of writing it is not yet ready for use in production. There are a number of 3rd party Docker images that are production ready that you could use like this one.

Hosted Alternative

There is the option of having Frappe host your ERPnext installation. Prices start from USD$10 per user per month.

It is worth noting that the self hosted version includes all features. Other ERP solutions, like Odoo, restrict the features of the self hosted version and require you to purchase some of them separately.

Core Features of ERPNext

The list of features provided out of the box is incredibly long. The following list should give you an idea about what standard functionality is covered but keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list.

  • CRM
    • Sales Pipeline
    • Opportunity and Lead Management
    • Sales Stage Tracking
    • Email Campaigns
    • Email Synchronisation
  • Accounting
    • Chart of Accounts
    • Flexible Tax Rules (GST, VAT, etc)
    • Account Dimensions (for tracking project financials)
    • Double Entry Bookkeeping with access to journal
    • Quoting
    • Point of Sale Support
    • Sales Invoicing
    • Pricing Rules
    • Purchase Orders
    • Full suite of Accounting Reports
    • Multi-currency
  • Inventory
    • Warehouse management
    • Stock Items
    • Price Lists
    • Packing Slip
    • Stock Reconcilliation
    • Stock Level Reporting
  • Manufacturing
    • Bill of Material
    • Tracking of Work at each Workstation
    • Operation
    • Work Orders
    • Production Plans
    • Job Cards
    • Capacity Planning
    • Subcontracting
  • Project Management
    • Projects
    • Tasks
    • Project Templates
    • Customer Portal
    • Time Tracking
    • Project Reporting
    • Gantt Charts
    • Kanban Boards
  • Service Management
    • Issue Tracking
    • Warranty Claims
    • Maintenance Schedules
    • Service Level Agreements
  • HR
    • Attendance and Leave Tracking
    • Recruitment
    • Contract Management
    • Payroll
  • Asset Management
    • Purchases
    • Sales
    • Asset movements
    • Maintenance
  • Quality Management
    • Quality Goals
    • Quality Procedures
    • Reviews
    • Actions

Extensibility

In the Frappe world extensions are built as separate apps. These apps can rely on other Frappe apps, such as ERPNext.

There are a number of community developed extensions for ERPnext available, however there is no central repository for these and they may be hard to find.

It is worth noting that the core functionality of the system caters for so many businesses and processes that that extensions are not typically required. Most businesses would be able to meet their requirements with specific customisation of the existing suite.

Customising ERPNext

So how easy is it to customise the system?

Really, really easy to customise actually!

If you just want to create custom fields on existing screens then you can do this (if you have the right security privileges) by going to the screen you want to change and going to Menu -> Customize.

This will allow you to add new fields and adjust how the fields and forms are displayed on the screen.

In ERPNext each type of data is stored in an item called a document type. Adding a new document type to the system is also quite easy to do from within the system itself.

In most cases you should be able to achieve many customisations without the need of writing any code.

Coding

So what is the coding experience like? There are 2 types of scripts that can be created.

Front End and Back End

Front End scripts are written in Javascript and are used to customise things on the display side of things. For example if you want to calculate a field based on other inputs then this is where you would need to do this.

Back End scripts are written in Python and are called in the server side. Good examples of this are if you need to send a notification to a user in response to data being updated then you will want to do this using the backend scripts.

Programming either front end or backend scripts are quite easy with a simple API provided by the Frappe Framework. There is a really useful guide on the Frappe wiki called the developers cheatsheet.

Integration capabilities of ERPNext

There are many integrations supported out of the box. This includes:

  • Dropbox
  • Google Drive
  • Plaid
  • Shopify
  • WooCommerce
  • Amazon eCommerce
  • Google Integrations
    • Calendar
    • Contacts
    • Maps
  • Paypal
  • Razorpay
  • Gocardless
  • Stripe
  • Braintree
  • Exotel

Rest API

In addition to the existing integrations a full rest based API is available for every document type. This includes any custom fields and data types that you create.

Summary

ERPnext is an extremely well featured generic ERP solution that would be at home running most small businesses that I have worked with. On top of the standard functionality the industry specific modules really make ERPNext hard to beat.

The ease of customisation and integration capabilities mean that ERPNext can work well along side any other business applications you may already have.

We are so impressed with ERPNext that we have selected it as the ERP solution for running ITgeniq.

Get In Touch

Are you interested in learning more about how ERPNext could take your business to the next level? Get in touch with us using the form below and we would love to discuss it in detail with you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *