Odoo Implementation Automated Processes And Reduced Overheads For A Solar Energy Company

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Client Overview
A solar energy firm needed to consolidate its siloed operations and required a robust ERP solution to do that. Founded in 2006, the client offers architectural solar products and services that are easily integrated to maximize power generation, visual appeal, and the long-term durability of any project. As a technology partner, we finalized Odoo because this ERP solution brings cost-effective modules, handles a large number of integrations, and is built on an open-source development model. Once deployed, the Odoo-based new ERP system helped the client centralize and automate its processes and reduce process-related overheads.
Business Needs
Most of the departments in the company were very fragmented. Most of the departments were running on their separate applications. Sales department were using different CRM; Inventory and purchase had their own excel sheets and were reporting to the management using excel sheet. Finance and HR were separately using their own customized software's respectively. Manufacturing department were without synergy with Sales and Purchase, and were typically working based on the weekly plans and were interacting with inventory department through excel sheets. Also, the company used customized software for transportation purpose.

As the organization started to take large steps of growth, it realized that departments with the fragmented applications were not able to provide the required visibility to effectively manage the business. Too many different applications were running the different departments, and these applications were not integrated with each other. This was leading to huge problems in data integrity, and inaccuracies in accounting information, as well as sales, material and profitability analysis.

Business processes earlier were dependent on manual work, which throttled the business's expansion and growth capabilities. By taking initiatives to embed digital into its DNA, the client aimed to meet a variety of business needs such as:

  • Fine-tuning the existing business processes
  • Accelerating decision-making processes
  • Minimizing reporting time
  • Reducing manual workloads
  • Driving cost-takeout initiative
Strategy & Solution
The client went through number of ERP platforms. Oddo ERP was chosen taking below factors into consideration:

  • Number of Integrations: There were individual software solutions that were working, but were not talking to each other. Oddo was chosen as with Oddo client felt that integrations are easy and less painful.
  • Cost Effective and modular solution: Oddo was chosen as it was able to address all of organisation business needs in a single, cost-effective and modular solution: There was no extra work required to get different technology cooperating
  • Open-source development model: Odoo allowed client to leverage largest ecosystem of fully integrated business apps.

Implementation Timelines: Based on T&M engagement, the timelines of 24 months was proposed and project got implemented in 24 months even after quite a few changes in the scope. Timeline for the project phases is as below:

  • Blue-printing, Odoo implementation -3 months
  • Functional configuration for all modules involved - 14 months
  • Customization of transactions and reports - 6 months
  • End-user training - 1 month

Team Effort: 12 person
  • Project Manager: One project manager with project management specialisation along with technical and functional expertise on Oddo.
  • Functional Consultant: 6
  • Technical Consultant: 3
  • Data Migration: 2

Because Odoo is ready "out of the box" application, User Interface and frontend development were reduced to configuring XML files of web forms and some minor HTML. Some of the highlights of the rehashed front-end are mentioned below.

  • Checked whether the UI is following front-end best practices
  • Made sure the interface is smooth to navigate without getting jittery
  • Ensured the use of modern web technologies to minimize load times

Our team of technical consultants used Python for building a robust backend on the Odoo framework. Reason Flexsin choose the Python as the strength of Python is : technical consultant could specialize in business logic programming instead of a technical aspect, as was required to develop an integrated ERP system for client. With Python as the development language, consultants were able to focus on solving business problems, instead of being trapped in technical difficulties of the language. PostgreSQL was used as the database to make sure every detail about business processes and users was stored securely and managed effectively. PostgreSQL was chosen as Its functionality not only helped the technical consultants but it gave client administrators complete flexibility to help protect their data integrity and provide such database environment in which client can easily manage own data without taking data size into consideration. Using PostgreSQL client was able to define his own data types.

Development Process:
As with any ERP implementation Flexsin started by analyzing functional correspondence of Odoo with client requirements. Entire objective of this exercise was to understand what business apps provided by Odoo can be used from start and where customization or additional development will be needed. All the business processes were divided into below development efforts categories:

  • Customization
  • Additional Development
  • Software integration with different standalone applications
  • Designing of reports
  • Training and Data migration

Taking above into consideration: the process of Odoo customization was divided into 3 parts: Configuring and training, Integration development, and data migration.

Once Implementation covered major steps to correspond company standard business processes, employees were given training of basics of interface and functionality.

Data migration was the complex exercise as there were lot of duplicates of products and customers, which were removed. There was mismatch in units of measure which caused valuation difference between stock, sales, and purchase. We had strong risk management strategy in place and hence we were able to figure out all the potential problems quickly resolve them.

Business Outcomes
As the engagement progressed, the client had a robust ERP model that was implemented on the Odoo framework. Seeing the swift completion of deadlines, the client extended the engagement with two years of ongoing support. We continue to extend maintenance and support to the client as and when the client raises the ticket over Azure DevOps. Once the Odoo implementation was completed successfully, the client reaped the following benefits.

  • Automated business processes and made them more streamlined
  • Integrated siloed processes where information was stored in separate islands earlier
  • Accelerated the business's decision-making capabilities
  • Improved workforce productivity by 20 percent on a weekly basis
  • Made employee reporting a less time-consuming task
  • Minimized process-specific overheads by 45 percent every month

Client's Speak
The ERP redesign and implementation were time-sensitive. However, the team at Flexsin was very friendly, professional, and responsive. Despite the project's size and nature, we were expecting a lot of strategic compromises to be made in due course. However, the team of Odoo experts at Flexsin ensured that we were able to overcome all these hurdles effectively. Good job!

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