webERP Tutorials

Available webERP tutorials:

#1. Installing webERP

Install webERP on Apache 2.4 and MariaDb 10.0.

#2. Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) using webERP

Create parts, identify vendor, configure unit-of-measure, create bill-of-materials.

#3. Purchasing using webERP

Issue purchase order, receive stock, make payment.

#4. Manufacturing using webERP

Create work order, receive output goods, close work order.

#5. Managing projects using WebERP

(a work in process) Presents manufacturing and contract-based options for managing projects using webERP, and how to configure webERP to the manufacturing option, strategy, but does not describe a complete solution.

 

Additional topics may include the following. Please voice your support for these or other topics using the comment form.

#1. Using Timesheets with webERP

Walk-through of timesheet process from user perspective to entering time spent on tasks, supervisor perspective to reviewing and approve subordinate timesheets, and management perspective to analyze labor use. 

#2. Stabilizing webERP

Presents a controlled continuous integration strategy for accepting new code from the project team, integrating with internal custom code, and releasing for use internally. 

#3. Purchasing from a BOM using webERP

Order from an arbitrary level of a product BOM tree.

#4. Managing Controlled Stock using webERP

Maintain lot or OEM serial number for incoming raw material. Assigning a lot or serial number internally during manufacturing. Manufacturing using controlled raw materials. Managing controlled stock. Selling controlled stock.

#5. CRM using webERP

Basic level of integration with SuiteCRM, similar to webERP Wiki integration for document and knowledge capture.

#5. Using webERP as an IIoT Backend

IIoT devices can create transactions or record resource use (or supply) in webERP as part of a larger business process.

 

Web-Based Timesheets for Project Management

What is project management? What it isn’t is a carefully crafted Gantt chart made to support a Project Charter and then forgotten about.

A cornerstone of effective project management is to understand how much effort has been expended and what tasks have been accomplished, and then to use that information to guide completion of the project and to publish status reports that can be trusted. Project management is a closed loop, one popular model is the PDCA (Plan Do Check Act) cycle.

Check refers not only to the expected output, but also to the process – whether resources are being consumed as expected, whether risks remain acceptable, if schedule and cost-to-complete forecasts are still reasonable and in budget, etc.

For small enterprises, collecting information on effort typically means timesheets. Project infrastructure can sometimes be leveraged for metrics, such as a software bug tracker or a sprint planning tool, but this generally requires a large number of datapoints before being accurate enough for project management purposes. For SMEs with relatively few team members on a project, the ubiquitous timesheet will be the simplest and least intrusive method of collecting project effort metrics. Since many organizations require timesheets anyway for financial accountability, the additional work to also collect information useful project management need not be significant if done in the right way.

I’m working on a series of blog posts on SME product development project management, and researched the state of open source timesheet applications for use in a strawman based on a Swift Construction Company product development project. You’ll find out later which application I selected, but until then here the potential candidates I found.

]project-open[

]project-open[ is a fully featured portfolio project management suite. However, unfortunately with great power also comes significant complexity and in brief use I was unable to create a simple project and submit a timesheet. Commercial support is available, and the project co-founder walked me through some impressive basic functionality in a personal webinar.

ProjeQtOr

ProjeQtOr is a fully featured project management suite with a twist – with ProjeQtOr you  also get “all the tools that will ease to ensure conformity to any Quality Management System, effortlessly and without any extra too”. This approach has a lot of merit. Issues are issues whether they relate to a product in production or the execution of a project task, and investigating a non-conformance is just as much a project as is development of a new product or upgrading IT infrastructure.

qdPM

I used qdPM for several months to record effort for a personal project. qdPM is a freemium-type product, and the community version is licensed using the Open Source license. It is a professional grade product.

To me, qdPM seemed to suit product support more than project management, and includes top-level menu items for Tickets, Discussions, and Software Versions. Entering time spent on a task is done by creating a comment, and traditional project management such as cost vs time are not readily available.

timeEdition

timeEdition appears best suited for a single individual to track their personal project time, rather than actual project management. Although it appears to be commercial proprietary software from the website, I found a source code on Sourceforge using an open source license (see timeEdition Sourceforge project).

TimeTracker

TimeTracker lives up to its claim of being a simple, easy to use, open source, web-based time tracking application. After experimenting with it for a while, my only complaints are that tasks are not inherently project-specific, which could make task management overwhelming if you have a large number of projects, each with a large number of tasks. However, projects specify which tasks they include, so the task list is still manageable from a user’s perspective. 

TimeTrex

TimeTrex has a flashy website, but at heart is a traditional time-card system for scheduling and tracking task-based employees, not managing projects. You can download TimeTrex Community v9.1.3 from the TimeTrex project on Sourceforge if you don’t want to provide your email address using the TimeTrex website.

Additional Applications

I found another of other applications as well, but for one reason or another I didn’t have the opportunity to investigate further, or on cursory glance they didn’t seem suitable (remember, my original goal was a simple easy to use timesheet, not necessarily project management).

Watch for the start of my posts on project management to learn which application I selected for a Swift Construction Company strawman.

Cheers!

Install SuiteCRM on FreeBSD

SuiteCRM is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) web application, used by a company to store and organize information relating to customers and potential customers in a shared trusted environment. A CRM application may be stand-alone, or may integrate with other enterprise applications, such as an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system (CRM may also be a module within an ERP system).

SuiteCRM was created by forking Sugar CE v6.5. The company SugarCRM provided several editions of Sugar CRM,  including the open-source Sugar CE and several proprietary-licensed commercial editions. When SugarCRM announced in 2013 that new features would no longer be included in Sugar CE, SalesAgility, a UK-based CRM consultancy with expertise developing client solutions using Sugar CE, created SuiteCRM based on the Sugar CE v6.5 codebase. The first release of SuiteCRM was v7.0 in October 2013, and since then SuiteCRM has become an award winning world leading CRM application.

Setup

I will be installing SuiteCRM v7.7.9 on FreeBSD 10.3-RELEASE, using Apache 2.4 and MariaDb 10.0.

  • Download a SuiteCRM zip distribution archive and extract to /usr/local/www/suitecrm-7.7.9
  • Change owner of the SuiteCRM directory tree to www:www
  • Create a soft link from /usr/local/www/suitecrm to /usr/local/www/suitecrm-7.7.9
  • Configure Apache virtual host suitecrm.dalescott.net
  • Create “suitecrm” database and database user with full permissions to the database.
  • Run installer (http://suitecrm.dalescott.net).

The first thing the installer does is to confirm your acceptance of the AGPL license used by SuiteCRM.

The installer then presents an overview of your system configuration, and identifies any issues preventing installation. In my case, I’m good to proceed.

Next, enter your database credentials and other configuration data.

  • Select install demo data.
  • Enter admin user password and email.
  • Accept default visible modules.
  • Enter SMTP server credentials required for SuiteCRM to send email.

The installer will setup the database and then let you login as the admin user.

The last setup item is to create a cron task used by SuiteCRM to run periodic internal tasks.

TODO show cron job

Login

Login using the admin user and password. After authentication the SuiteCRM dashboard will be displayed.

Install X2CRM on FreeBSD

X2CRM (also known as X2Engine) is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) web application, used by a company to store and organize information relating to customers and potential customers in a shared trusted environment. A CRM application may be stand-alone, or may integrate with other enterprise applications, such as an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system (CRM may also be a module within an ERP system).

I became aware of X2CRM after discovering erpBooks “Online Inventory Management” , reportedly forked from webERP and including CRM functionality based on X2Engine (aka X2CRM).

X2CRM was founded by John Roberts, who had previously co-founded SugarCRM. His goal was to develop a superior user interface using a new data model, and to use current web technologies, compared to the first generation of open-source web CRMs. Coincidently, X2CRM was developed using the PHP Yii OO RAD framework, which I had used for my Maestro project.

X2CRM also affirmed John’s faith in an open-source development and business model. X2Engine initially used a “Freemium” business model to support itself, and provided commercial Professional and Platinum versions. However, in April 2016, X2Engine announced it had achieved revenue self-sufficiency as a company, and it was now appropriate to release all premium features of the Platinum version as open-source in the then upcoming v6.0 release (fyi, I will be installing v6.5.2).

Setup

I will be installing X2CRM on FreeBSD 10.3-RELEASE, using Apache 2.4 and MariaDb 10.0.

  • Download a X2CRM zip distribution archive and extract to e.g. /usr/local/www/x2crm-6.5.2.
  • Create a soft link from /usr/local/www/crm to /usr/local/www/x2crm-6.5.2
  • Configure Apache virtual host crm.dalescott.net (the server directory root will be /usr/local/www/crm/x2engine)
  • Run installer (http://crm.dalescott.net/x2engine)

  • Set owner of X2CRM directory tree to www:www
  • Install package pecl-ssh2
  • Install package php56-filter
  • Set session.save_path in /usr/local/etc/php.ini to /tmp
  • Add path to mysql executables to the path used by the Apache daemon.
  • # mkdir -p /usr/local/etc/apache24/envvars.d/
    # echo 'export PATH=/bin:/sbin:/usr/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/local/sbin:' > /usr/local/etc/apache24/envvars.d/path.env
    # chmod 755 /usr/local/etc/apache24/envvars.d/path.env
    # service apache24 restart
  • Run installer again. Hurray! Requirements met! 

  • Create “x2engine” database and database user with full permissions to the database. Use these credentials in the install screen.
  • Check “Create sample data”.
  • Enter admin user password and email.
  • Accept default visible modules.
  • Create cron task. I selected “Create a cron task for X2CRM”, after which I was given the opportunity to select when to run the task, or simply hourly. I selected hourly, which resulted in creating a crontab file for user www (/var/cron/tabs/www). 
# DO NOT EDIT THIS FILE - edit the master and reinstall.
# (/usr/local/www/x2crm-6.5.2/x2engine/.crontab.tmp installed on Sun Mar 26 20:44:57 2017)
# (Cron version -- $FreeBSD: releng/10.3/usr.sbin/cron/crontab/crontab.c 293132 2016-01-04 03:20:41Z pfg $)

#<X2CRM>
@hourly curl http://crm.dalescott.net/index.php/api/x2cron &>/dev/null #@X2CRM@default#@X2CRM@Run delayed or recurring tasks within X2CRM
#</X2CRM>
  • Install!

Login

Login using the admin user and password. I have already logged in as admin and created a new user for myself.

Once authenticated, the X2CRM dashboard is presented. There’s a lot of information, and the bottom of the dashboard is the message feed.