I am looking for a web-based sales order system.
December 20, 2006 11:42 AM   Subscribe

We currently use a very broken system that is barely chugging along. Its server based. Due to our business, we would like to find a web-based system that does all the usual stuff- vendors, customers, inventory, shipping, receiving, etc. It doesn't need accounting as we do that separately. Ideally it would allow us to hook a shopping cart software into it later so that orders placed by our seales people or via the online store would dump into the same order bucket for processing. I am not looking for an ecommerce shopping cart. I am looking for a sales order system.
posted by Chuck Cheeze to Computers & Internet (15 answers total)
oscommerce is an open source platform for doing online stores. It can probably be adapted towards offline sales as well.
posted by delmoi at 12:20 PM on December 20, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks but I know OSC well and its a shopping cart. I don't want a shopping cart.
posted by Chuck Cheeze at 12:27 PM on December 20, 2006

Heh. Delmoi, what he's looking for is more of a CRM or Professional Services Automation tool.

Chuck, try SugarCRM or try googling Professional Services Automation. As an alternative, consider hiring a programmer to write one for you.
posted by SpecialK at 12:27 PM on December 20, 2006

Be warned, OSCommerce is pretty gnarly under the hood, so if you're going to end up doing anything like serious changes to it it might be cheaper in the long run to just find someone to start from scratch.

Yes, this is bitter experience talking, how did you know?
posted by Skorgu at 12:28 PM on December 20, 2006

Response by poster: Don't worry I know OSC well- we aren't using it but I have. Its not something that I will pursue for this project.

Thanks SpecialK but we don't need a CRM. We need more of an ERP system- sales orders, inventory, invoicing, etc. But no accounting.
posted by Chuck Cheeze at 12:44 PM on December 20, 2006

Response by poster: To clarify- our company doesn't have sales people that sell with estimates and negatiations or anything- we sell auto parts, so when someone calls to order, we place the order. We don't need any CRM stuff like activities, reminders to call back in 6 months or anything like that. We need inventory, products, customers, sales orders, etc.
posted by Chuck Cheeze at 1:07 PM on December 20, 2006

Whatever you do, do not use SAP. Six years later our ERP implementation still doesn't work right, has no get well date and looks like it may never meet our needs. Caveat emptor.
posted by fixedgear at 1:19 PM on December 20, 2006


It does accounting too, but I think all the modules are optional - you can pick and choose what you want.
posted by GuyZero at 1:31 PM on December 20, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks guys. NetSuite is a CRM based app. Not what we need. I guess also I should say that cost is an issue. My boss would love to find that $599 off the shelf system that I know probably exists but is more pain than not. A few thousand would be the max. Otherwise I am building this thing on my own. Which would be OK but I have alot of other stuff to do.
posted by Chuck Cheeze at 1:35 PM on December 20, 2006

The best Web based ERP systems have General Ledger as their core, because the Inventory Management functions most customers for such products need and want are so intimately tied up with cost accounting functions that there is little demand for systems without integrated accounting functionality. So, something like mySAP ERP Operations, while being primarily Web based, and available even as an application service over the Web, is going to want SAP financials to support its Inventory and Logistics functionality. And frankly, in the U.S., since Sarbane-Oxley and the well publicized problems with Enron/ArthurAndersen, etc., there is a general feeling that good corporate governance involves insuring that financial systems are both integrated into business functions by recognized vendors, and embody FASB rules closely. So, the kind of custom coding business that being responsible for writing interfaces between accounting packages and inventory packages represents, is just something that fewer and fewer software development houses want a piece of, due to professional liability concerns. So that's the reasoning behind similar offerings from Oracle/J.D. Edwards, Netsuite, IBS, and about 1500 other ERP systems providers, whose products are all built around core General Ledger functionality.

So, there's all that to consider in shopping for your dream solution. The good news is that dumping General Ledger/AP/AR functions from one package to another is probably the easiest part of a systems migration process, if the chart of accounts is sensible, and any sub-units and consolidation functions are already working properly. The biggest challenge is usually stripping accounting rule logic that drives consolidations and related interface functions. But it is still generally many, many times easier to do this, than to write and test all the interfaces that have to work properly to drive a full function inventory package in a real-time ERP system expected to do things like perpetual inventory, multiple cost methods, standard costing, and manufacturing and logistics support.

Still, there are some companies who started developing stand alone inventory/distribution systems back in the '80's, that wrapped around popular accounting packages. They might be a place to start. You might look at American Business Systems for a more modular approach to systems development. But be aware that you live and die by operations discipline in this kind of an environment. You typically see these systems running on scheduled batch operations kinds of platforms, and there's no pretense that accounting is an "on line" function. So, if you later need to add higher order data analysis functions, or operate second and third warehouse locations, scaling up is going to be very tough. Still, for a single warehouse operation, with a need only for basic periodic accounting functions, this may be the kind of system that works for you.
posted by paulsc at 1:49 PM on December 20, 2006

On a very similar topic, does anyone know of a system meant for more of an importing environment, not necessarily manufacturing. For instance, I am looking for an online system that can create similar paperwork to that which Chuck Cheeze is looking for in manufacturing (packing lists, invoices, purchase orders, etc...) but do not need to manage inventory.

Ideally, this system would also include some sort of task management and would allow for shipment tracking.
posted by escher at 5:57 PM on December 20, 2006

Escher - Nope, don't know of any system like that... what kind of shipment tracking do you need, though? Just a UPS api or something stiffer that does EDI with major shippers?
posted by SpecialK at 6:41 PM on December 20, 2006

I worked as a order fulfillment associate (okay, so I just grabbed stuff off the shelf or stuffed packages) and they used Great Plains, which seemed to work really well. I can't recall if the interface was web-based, but I'm sure they'd have made a web interface by now.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:25 PM on December 20, 2006

SpecialK - We don't need any online sort of tracking. This is more like "project tracking" (if I have to give a name to it). Ijust want to be able to manually enter in the shipping dates and port/door arrival dates of our containers. Then, these dates would trigger tasks to certain individuals that actions needs to be taken. (i.e. When the container arrives at the customer's door, a task would be sent to someone internally to send the customer an invoice.)

Deathalicious - Does Great Plains allow for document and task creation, as well as order tracking (like I described above)?
posted by escher at 11:54 AM on December 21, 2006

I wrote a web based program to handle order entry, customer comments, billing. Once the sales staff entered the order and the CC was approved it would pop in a browser in the shipping departement, if they double click the order it gets a UPS tracking number and prints the packslip. It is built on SQL database and uses AJAX/ASP to populate the browser(fast). It handles credit cards and echecks on the fly. All of this was done because entering each order into Quick Books dragged our accounting system to its knees, now we only have a daily entry for total sales and the customer details reside in the DB. When I wrote this I didn't know others had the same difficulty in order handling as I had in the direct response business. The software works but I have not sold it commercially as I built it for myself but if you need a solution you can look at it and see if it is close to what you need. It currently handles over 12,000 orders a month and does recurrent billing. I am not looking to sell this to you, if you try it and it works for you than that means it will work for others and the possibility of bringing it into commercial use viable. In the mean time it may solve your problem for free.
posted by Tpaspace at 12:41 PM on January 24, 2007

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