Open ERP for Logistics
Insights and thought leadership in Open ERP

The Key to Multi-Company Logistics Solutions: Odoo Open ERP

The key to continued logistics success is effective Purchase, Sales & Warehouse Management. Open ERP’s Purchase, Sales and Warehouse features are flexible and highly developed to assist you in managing all aspects of logistics, also in a multi-company environment.

Open ERP can build a new breed of business applications, more modular, more customer-friendly, fully web-based, which others cannot due to the heritage of their legacy systems.

Open ERP is a comprehensive suite of business applications including Sales, CRM, Project management, Warehouse management, Manufacturing, Financial management, and Human Resources, just to name a few. More than 1000 Open ERP modules are available from the Open ERP Apps market place.

Open ERP allows you to set up advanced push and pull rules to manage complex routes in your warehouses. Purchase proposals and sales forecasts can easily be created from Open ERP. In a few clicks, your sales person can transfer necessary information to the customer about the current and virtual stock. Accountants can have real-time stock valuation for all or selected products.

Chapter 7: Multi-Company Environment

7.1 Logistics in a Multi-Company Environment

7.1.1 Configuration

Let us start by configuring the different components we need. In the next sections, we will define:

  • Companies’ structure
    • Companies
    • Charts of Accounts

  • Users, suppliers and customers
  • Product
    • Product definition
    • Push and pull flows
    • Storage

User Group

Go to Administration > Users > Users and add the Useability / Multi Companies group to your user, to be able to use Open ERP in a multi-company environment.

Companies Structure

Companies

Three companies have to be defined. One mother company (Open ERP) and two children (Open ERP Belgium and Open ERP France).

On the one hand, the two child companies will be used to support the flow of goods. On the other hand, the mother company will be used to aggregate the different information from Open ERP France and Open ERP Belgium.

Figure 7.2: Companies Structure

User Group

To view the companies’ structure, you have to add the group Usability/Multi Companies to your user.

Here are the different configurations for the mother and the child companies (for the child companies, do not forget to add a parent company):

Figure 7.3: Companies Configuration

Charts of Accounts

For each company, you have to define an accounting setting. To do this, go to the Accounting > Configuration > Financial Accounting > New Company Financial Setting.

Figure 7.4: Creating Charts of Accounts

Accounting Plan

Each of your companies can have its own specific Chart of Accounts.

Users, Suppliers & Customers

The users are used to log in to the system and to give the appropriate access rights to each person. This concept is different from the employee who is created through the Human Resources module.

Each company needs a user to manage the different operations to complete the flow. You can create one user for each company, but do not forget to select the appropriate company in the Contact section of the User form after have added the company in the Companies tab.

Figure 7.5: Defining Users part 1

Figure 7.6: Defining Users part 2

In addition to the user, the companies need suppliers and customers. For Open ERP France, you can define one customer who will order the product that will be defined later, and for Open ERP Belgium, you can define one supplier who will deliver the product to the company.

The customers and suppliers go in the same object called Partners which can be classified in three ways: customer, supplier and customer and supplier. This has the advantage that you have to update address data only once.

Customer: log in with the user of Open ERP France, then go to Sales > Address Book > Customers

Product

Definition

Now that we have defined the different actors, we can define our product that will be stored in Belgium and proposed to sell in France. Go to Sales > Products > Products and create a new product with the following specifications:

In the Suppliers tab, you can select the supplier defined above. In the tab Logistical Flows,

Figure 7.7: Defining Customers part 1

Figure 7.8: Defining Customers part 2

Supplier: log in with the user of Open ERP Belgium, then go to Purchases > Address Book > Suppliers

Figure 7.9: Defining Suppliers part 1

Figure 7.10: Defining Suppliers part 2

Figure 7.11: Defining Products

We will define the different flows in order to share the different objects between the companies. To order the product in Belgium from a sales order made in France, we will define a Pull flow.

Flows

In our process, we have to create a pull flow, because the process begins with a need from OpenERP France. OpenERP France needs some products ordered by the customers.

The flow will go through our two child companies. The starting point is OpenERP Belgium that will supply OpenERP France that will supply the goods to the customer.

We can draw the process like this: Customer <– [OpenERP France] <– [OpenERP Belgium] <–Supplier

Figure 7.12: Pull Flow Definition

Managing the Storage

In our configuration, we have to define the way in which we will store the products.

The stock will be managed by OpenERP Belgium that will share the products with the other companies. OpenERP France will manage the sales part for these products.

OpenERP France will “transfer” the sales order to OpenERP Belgium that will ship the goods to the customer.

By default, OpenERP creates some locations and warehouses for the first company. As a consequence, we have to create the other warehouses and locations for our child companies. We will start by creating the warehouses, then we will define specific locations and we will finish by setting up the of shops.

Warehouses

In OpenERP, a warehouse represents your places of physical stock. A warehouse can be structured into several locations at multiple levels.

We have to create three new warehouses. One for OpenERP, one for OpenERP Belgium and one for OpenERP France.

Figure 7.13: Warehouses

Go to Warehouse > Configuration > Warehouse Management > Warehouses and create the different warehouses according to the parameters shown in picture Warehouse Parameters.

Figure 7.14: Warehouse Parameters

Locations

Locations are used to manage all types of storage places, such as at the customer and production counterparts.

In order to store products, we will create one location for the two child companies. It will support the flow of goods between those companies.

Figure 7.15: Locations

Go to Warehouse > Configuration > Warehouse Management > Locations and create the different locations with the parameters defined in the picture Location Parameters.

Figure 7.16: Location Parameters

Shops

Open ERP France needs a shop. The objective of this shop is to allow Open ERP France to receive orders from customers and then send it to Open ERP Belgium for the delivery of the products.

Go to Sales > Configuration > Sales > Shop to define a shop for Open ERP France.

7.1.1 Process: Sales and Purchases

At this point, we have defined everything that we need, we can now execute the process. The following example will be structured as follows:

First, we will make a sales order for one unit of our product (Basic PC) in the company Open ERP France for the customer NotSoTiny. Then this will be sent to the company Open ERP Belgium that stocks the Basic PCs. An order of one unit will be sent to Open ERP Belgium from Open ERP France. Open ERP will purchase the product from its supplier (in this case, Dell Belgium). Second, Open ERP France will have to invoice the delivered quantities sent by Open ERP Belgium to NotSoTiny.

Sales Order

At this point, you have to log in with a user of Open ERP France in order to make a Sales Order coming from a customer of this company.

Figure 7.18: Defining a Sales Order

You should not forget to set the correct parameters in the second tab Other Information to select the good shipping and picking policies. Here we select the Invoice From the Picking as Shipping Policy.

Confirm the Sales Order, then run the Scheduler (Warehouses > Schedulers > Compute Schedulers) and run the Procurement from each company (Open ERP France, Open ERP and Open ERP Belgium).

At this time, a Purchase Order and a Delivery Order have been generated. The Purchase Order is in the Request For Quotation state and you have to convert it into a Purchase Order to confirm the purchase. The Delivery Order is in Not Available state because you have to buy the products before delivery.

Once the purchase order has been confirmed and the reception is completed, we can process the delivery order.

Figure 7.19: Purchase Order

Delivery Order

Once the delivery order is processed, the products are sent to the customer and we can invoice the order from OpenERP France on the delivered quantities.

The delivery order will be processed from OpenERP Belgium. OpenERP Belgium is the company that manages the stock of products. This company is responsible for the delivery of the products to the final customers. However, the invoicing process will be handled by OpenERP France, because it is the company that received the order from the customer.

Figure 7.20: Deliver the Products

From the user of Open ERP France, we can create the invoice for the order (Sales > Invoicing > Lines to Invoice), then pass the invoice from the Draft state to the Open state. To finalize the invoicing process, you have to go to Accounting > Customers > Customers Invoices to execute the payment process.

Figure 7.21: Create the Invoice

Figure 7.22: Validate the Invoice

(End of Chapter 7)

USA Odoo Solutions and Top 10 Benefits

There is a way to turn the complexity of multi-company logistics into a simple, integrated process.

The complex logistics in multi-company environments require best practices for operational efficiency, which is why Odoo Open ERP is critical for both processes and performance. USA Odoo, a division of Open Source Integrators, delivers the logistics integration that helps company’s deploy and drive new insights, profitability, and flexibility to reach a company’s full destiny as a market leader.

Odoo Open Source ERP solutions from USA Odoo are scalable to streamline a company’s contract, custom, and real-time manufacturing, along with international outsourcing, and get what’s needed, when it’s needed, in the simplest way. Through Open Source Integrators, USA Odoo creates more efficient planning and forecasting leads to better ordering, which in turn equals better logistics for your business.

Our highly skilled ERP experts configure, build, train and maintain world-class direct-to-consumer systems.

Top 10 benefits to USA Odoo for Logistics:

  1. Enables lean supply chain management via pull systems
  2. Provides advanced visibility across the entire chain for profitability and sustainability
  3. Includes build-in inventory management, transportation management, as well as communication with end-customer
  4. Allows management and monitoring of the various processes and stages
  5. Tightly integrated procurement integration with purchasing, sales orders, accounting, manufacturing, and warehousing
  6. Management of serial number and lot tracing throughout the entire system
  7. Supports the manufacturing module based on lean principles (work order and work centers and Kanban system)
  8. Enables visibility and management of detailed stock moves from purchasing through delivery
  9. Provides transportation-related metrics including average inbound and outbound transportation cost and cost per shipment
  10. Build-in sales analysis tools for forecasting and revenue projections as well as variance detection

About USA Odoo

As a top Odoo open source software integrator in the US, USA Odoo provides enterprise Odoo integration customers with a unique combination of open source business process consulting and turnkey implementation. As an Odoo Gold partner, we help your enterprise synchronize and integrate manufacturing as well as e-commerce, including the aggregation of processes and decentralized and/or independent systems. Our veteran team of Odoo ERP consultants works hands on with your team to help drive your ability to connect your organization end to end with accounting, customer, and big-data-driven centricity.

USA Odoo was created to provide Odoo-powered open source accounting, CRM, e-commerce platform, and logistic integration including real-time big data and business process improvements leading the way. Our Odoo open source software consultants work personally with each of our clients to analyze the challenges facing their operations, unleash the power of their data, and achieve their specific competitive advantage and ROI business goals.

For greater insight into the power of Open ERP, read the entirety of “Integrate your Logistic Processes with Open ERP: Efficient Warehouse Management with Sales and Purchases integration.”

We invite you to continue exploring the pages of USA Odoo and Open Source Integrators to see what we mean about “Open Source Done Right” and how we can help your company scale with harmony.

About the Authors

Fabien Pickaers is CEO and Founder of Odoo SA, the world’s #1 business apps suite.

Els Van Vossel is the owner of Foxy Consulting bvba and works as a functional ERP consultant and a technical communicator.

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