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ERP, in Access?

My application carries out works order processing for a specialist manufacturing market. I'm being asked more frequently if our product can be linked to or extended to more of a complete solution. (ERP). The requirement seems to be stock control, invoicing, delivery and that terrifying one, factory floor workflow. (Deciding which machines should carry out which processes and when). I imagine stock control also can be difficult not only knowing what is required, what is in stock but also goods that are expected to be delivered at some point in the future.

I have heard that some companies use Access to run their entire business administration. So is it something that you can buy or would it be a realistic challenge for me and Access to develop our own.
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DatabaseDek
Asked:
DatabaseDek
2 Solutions
 
Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE )Infotrakker SoftwareCommented:
I do a tremendous amount of work for a large ERP company who shall remain nameless. I work with their software, and with other ERP solutions, every day. They range from very simplistic (i.e. just invoicing, CRM stuff and inventory control) to full-fledged manufacturing support programs, which handle employees, job creation, demand control, work centers, shop flow, material planning, EDI, and so on.

The ones that are at the lower end of features could be done in Access, if the developer has a very good grasp of the details. The ones at the higher end of features - I'm not so sure. I cannot imagine an Access interface that would effectively show the full workflow on a shop floor, even for a small manufacturing concern, or that could show the scheduling features needed to run that small company. There's simply too much there, and the Access GUI doesn't really provide all the tools needed for that.

In short - before I built something like this in Access, I'd consider the time involved in this (an EXTREME amount) and also consider the market for something like this (most likely quite small). By the time most manufacturers have come to the point of requiring ERP/MRP software, they are well past the point of an Access-based solution. Most of them will have IT departments (in-house or outsourced) that will fight you tooth-and-nail over this.

There are some ERP solutions built in Access:

http://www.pedyn.com/access/

That was the first I found, but perhaps there are others. Seems I recall an open-source ERP system in Access, but cannot find that now ...
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Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)PresidentCommented:
There's also EZ MRP, which is fairly close to a full ERP package and you might be able to integrate to.

I know the original author, but he recently sold the product to someone else, so I'm not sure what opportunitys are there.

Developing a full scale ERP package can take years (I've done it).   As LSM said, your talking inventory planning and control, BOM's, capacity planning, forecasting, shop floor control, physical inventory, cycle counting, qualitity control, etc.  It's quite a job.

Jim.
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DatabaseDekAuthor Commented:
Thank you both.

Very enlightening and exactly what I needed.
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