Author Topic: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba  (Read 3186 times)

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Offline loki42Topic starter

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Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« on: February 19, 2023, 09:49:14 pm »
I'm trying to manage inventory for my small manufacturing business better.  I want something that tells me where stock is,  how much I've got left,  minimum stock levels for reorder,  how many units I can make with given stock. Should be all barcode driven and as quick and easy to set up as possible.  Only really looking at stuff I can self host and open source. I'm keen to get data out of my pick and place line and other machines so that I can see real time how many parts are on a feeder and where the next reel is. 

I'm looking at inventree,  odoo and a few others. Has anyone got a recommendation?  Maintenance scheduling would be handy too but I'm okay if that's in a separate system. 
 

Offline law

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2023, 10:44:54 pm »
Hiya,

I'm using Inventree. It is not too bad. It is open source and is being actively developed.
Inventree supports barcodes, but I do not have a barcode reader, so am not currently using it. I aim to use barcodes, but I can't comment on how well it works.
It supports all this:
> I want something that tells me where stock is,  how much I've got left,  minimum stock levels for reorder,  how many units I can make with given stock
except, I can't confirm the minimum stock levels for reorder - you will have to confirm this yourself.

I'm self hosting on a spare machine using the Docker image method. I had no prior experience with Docker, but it was reasonably straight forward to setup. (I'm using OpenMediaVault which has Docker support).
My only gripe is with this method is that while the database files sit nicely at a location external to the Docker image, the Docker image's internal user permissions are different to what the share location has.
This makes it difficult to back up, as I need to reset the permissions each time I back up. There must be a nicer way to do this, but I haven't spent the time yet to investigate.

I'm reasonably happy with Inventree. Being a smallish open source project, my only only concern is that it gets abandoned later on down the track.

Before settling on Inventree I checked out partkeepr. I think the original dev abandoned the project. It was picked up by others, but....
I also looked at Partbox and Bomist, but they were closed source and cloud based. Bomist's cheaper version did not support internal part numbers.
In terms of ERPs, I had a quick look at odoo and tryton. Both were open source, Tryton was free (I think). Both were reasonably complex. I didn't want that level of complexity just yet - I just needed something to manage my parts.

Hope that is useful.
 

Offline loki42Topic starter

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2023, 10:02:36 am »
Software abandonment is why I want to avoid anything that isn't open source and run on my own gear. At least if it's open source you can always make any changes yourself. Good to hear Inventree is usable. I've just been looking into camx and secs gem to pull part usage from the machines and it looks easy enough. 

Odoo looks way too hard for me.  I tried to do so some basic inventory stuff with it and gave up.
 

Offline Psi

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2023, 10:52:26 am »
I went through this and decide to write my own app + sql db to do exactly what I wanted.  Invoices/Purchases/stock, and it tracks how much money should be in my two bank accounts given sales/purchases etc..

It was a fair bit of work but it's nice now, as I can add bits and simplify my workflow/procedures.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2023, 10:56:45 am by Psi »
Greek letter 'Psi' (not Pounds per Square Inch)
 

Offline loki42Topic starter

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2023, 12:50:23 pm »
Most of my inventory is on my pick and place machines so I need a neat way to know if there is 10000 caps left on a reel or 500. I'm also keen to know which shelf parts are on and warn me automatically. 
 

Offline SMTech

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2023, 04:07:15 pm »
I think what you are after is often called an MES system, so you could look at Qcadoo..
By their very nature these systems are complex, so they take some time to setup and you have build in your data in the right order as it is highly relational. Of course there is a reason why these systems are often 50% bespoke and incredibly expensive. This means you need to make do with what is out there with some custom bits bolted on by you,  &/or adjust your processes to fit those that are inevitably hardwired into how the software thinks you should be doing it.
Last time I put some serious work into looking at something better/more affordable/flexible than the commercial one we currently use, I think I drew a blank. The options were wither immature, essentially dead, or all the manufacturing specific modules were not open source and incredibly expensive. There are some big name open MRP/CRM type programs that can do all sorts of extra things like you describe but they look fiddly to use and are often quite complex to setup too.

There are so many things you or a platform designer might want to put into such a program, which means they can be called lots of things, do things you don't want, not do things you do etc etc. Our current system does stock, invoicing, despatch & basic accounting, but it is pretty shit at day to day inventory or planning as it doesn't really understand work in progress or have any dashboards or reports to show trends. It will most likely get replaced by Xero with manuonline, or a similar 2 part combo.

I hadn't seen/noticed Inventree before, that seems quite nice for a focused and functional application.
 

Offline loki42Topic starter

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2023, 09:21:20 pm »
I currently using xero and shipstation both of which are varying levels of fine and annoying but I'm not really looking into an all in one thing.  Happy to eventually integrate things if it makes sense or they just exist separately. I've also looked at Tryton such looks much nicer for my needs than Odoo and I'll have a look at qcadoo.
 

Offline Psi

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2023, 09:46:32 pm »
My main motivation for writing one was that I hate software as a service
Greek letter 'Psi' (not Pounds per Square Inch)
 
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Offline Mangozac

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2023, 12:21:38 am »
I went through this and decide to write my own app + sql db to do exactly what I wanted.  Invoices/Purchases/stock, and it tracks how much money should be in my two bank accounts given sales/purchases etc..

It was a fair bit of work but it's nice now, as I can add bits and simplify my workflow/procedures.
I did the same. It's great to be able to add any idea the team come up with to improve workflows. The system is a beast now!
 

Offline sinewave

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2023, 01:57:56 am »
I use BOMIST, not opensource but very happy with it and quite cheap.
 

Offline loki42Topic starter

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2023, 04:41:13 am »
I went through this and decide to write my own app + sql db to do exactly what I wanted.  Invoices/Purchases/stock, and it tracks how much money should be in my two bank accounts given sales/purchases etc..

It was a fair bit of work but it's nice now, as I can add bits and simplify my workflow/procedures.
I did the same. It's great to be able to add any idea the team come up with to improve workflows. The system is a beast now!

Have you added any integration with your machinery?  I'm looking at secs gem and camx. My machines support both.  Secs gem is very... 80s? Where as camx is very late 90s enterprise where everything was an xml schema.  Currently trying to work out which one is nicer to deal with.  Basically just want part usage so I can have easy visibility of parts and if the machine reports it out can account for miss picks, parts that vision rejects etc.
Do you do validation, like scanning on to a specific feeder?  I'm thinking of enabling that and integrating with the erp so I can be sure I put the right identical 0402 resistor reels with very similar part number on the right feeder. 
 

Offline Mangozac

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2023, 09:53:57 pm »
Have you added any integration with your machinery?  I'm looking at secs gem and camx. My machines support both.  Secs gem is very... 80s? Where as camx is very late 90s enterprise where everything was an xml schema.  Currently trying to work out which one is nicer to deal with.  Basically just want part usage so I can have easy visibility of parts and if the machine reports it out can account for miss picks, parts that vision rejects etc.
Do you do validation, like scanning on to a specific feeder?  I'm thinking of enabling that and integrating with the erp so I can be sure I put the right identical 0402 resistor reels with very similar part number on the right feeder.
No, our YG series machines don't have the onboard inventory management. We just do that in MySQL and deal with correcting for attrition yearly at stocktake time. Realistically for low to medium volume production like we do it's not particularly relevant to know with that level of resolution. The cost/effort->reward ratio isn't there.

No, no electronic validation. All reels coming in are given an internal part code. We have a double check of the reels loaded (part code, part number and location) prior to commencing the production run, plus a functional test of the first board out. I believe Yamaha did have support for this for YG series machines as they do have a barcode scanner option.
 

Offline loki42Topic starter

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2023, 10:37:58 am »
I think I'll attempt to use camx for most of the line.  Secs gem looks a bit intense... having it automated is pretty important to me as I'm mostly worried about running out of a reel of something I don't have another reel of. A recent experience...
 

Offline Mangozac

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2023, 10:03:17 pm »
having it automated is pretty important to me as I'm mostly worried about running out of a reel of something I don't have another reel of. A recent experience...
Sure, but you don't need the machine to keep a tight eye on attrition for that. Any kind of inventory management will do. For passives I don't know anybody who doesn't order an additional safety buffer (and the common ones like 10k and 0.1uF you should have a stack of spare reels in stock). For other parts (which we will always order some extras too) if you've lost some then they are most likely in the machine's dump container, so they can be grabbed out and placed by hand if you're a couple short at the end.

I know that machines can do inventory management but as I said before unless you're a high volume manufacturer I can't see the advantage for the effort involved.
 
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Offline loki42Topic starter

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2023, 12:02:23 pm »
Visibility easily is mostly what I want if it's just a few minutes coding.  Parsing a bit of xml from the machines isn't hard and it'll tell me usage and mispicks etc.  Also gives me info on line utilisation easily so I can work out bottlenecks.  Eventually it would be handy if I get the metal working,  testing and packing stuff all reporting some basic metrics. My main worry is for parts which cost a lot,  have long lead times or are a bit weird. I always keep the same parts on the machine,  never change feeders so I'd have to count somewhere,  even if it's at the stencil printer or oven reporting board numbers. My air compressor is Ethernet connected too so getting data for oh I've got an air leak somewhere because air usage for this workload just shot up... might be handy.  Traceability is also something I'd like for tracking reliability.
 

Offline loki42Topic starter

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2023, 09:10:18 pm »
Little update on this,  I've made my conveyors connected to the network with a little single board computer thing monitoring (and controlling) smema signals. MPM  Stencil printer is connected up via camx.  There was a few fiddly bits navigating windows 2000 networking / file sharing on the pick and place machines and I have finished getting gem / camx working there. I'm not running all the invoicing in inventree, it pushes purchase orders to xero. Xero api was an arse to use authentication wise but got it working now.  Shipments are generated with shipstation but I'm going to swap that out for Karrio.  Shipstation added a charge per shipment and it easily costs a few 100 a month for not a lot of value for us.

I'm still thinking of doing some process stuff in odoo or tryton, mostly maintenance planning.  Maybe eventually process steps for stuff I don't do as often.
 
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Offline karpouzi9

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2023, 04:24:23 am »
thanks for the update  8)
 

Offline Mangozac

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2023, 06:12:29 am »
Our of interest Loki, would you mind telling us what market segment you're in? Based on the time and investments you're making I had assumed it was high value contract manufacturing but the use of shipping APIs would point towards retail items.
 

Offline loki42Topic starter

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2023, 10:01:06 am »
We make musical instruments. So all our lines are only for our products so we can optimise for that.  None of the reels ever leave the machines between product change overs.  Lots of the stuff I'm trying to do around validation / traceability is to avoid human error and so I can see trends in reliability / rework with process changes. I'm not planning any other major capital investments for a while apart from maybe a cnc turret punch...
 
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Offline loki42Topic starter

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2023, 09:08:23 am »
Update: I've improved the pick and place integration by tailing some of the log files and sending messages via mqtt. The camx stuff wasn't actually working properly from the mpm, not sure why. The feeders and reels are barcoded so moving stuff between them is pretty quick with a scanner.  I haven't integrated the PTH stuff in yet,  that's coming next then shipping.  Got some tsc printers which are great compared the zebras we used. There's a few things that are a little confusing in inventree but so far generally liking it. I need to work out how to specify to a build order when it's allocating to pull from the feeders first. 
 

Offline Mangozac

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2023, 07:49:17 am »
What issues did you have with the Zebra printers? Ours are faultless.
 

Offline loki42Topic starter

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2023, 11:15:25 am »
The tsc printers are much faster,  much better print quality,  way easier driver wise and sometimes the zebras would just decide not to work until we restarted. The tsc is really easy to setup over Ethernet or usb.  It's easier to swap reels on too. Direct or transfer on the same printer. Pretty good price too. I've got a te310 and just bought a te210. One is printing shipping labels and the other inventree qr codes and serial numbers. 

I needed to add some code to inventree in the allocation section because it didn't let you pull for specific locations first and I wanted stuff to allocate from the reels until a reels was empty. 
 

Offline 1276-2449-1-ND

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #22 on: April 18, 2023, 11:27:37 pm »
I used a plain ol' database (LibreOffice Base) for my system. Took no time to set up, can be changed easily if you don't like something, looks great, works across networks.
 

Offline gedass2000

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2023, 08:04:03 pm »
We use ERPNext

I'm trying to manage inventory for my small manufacturing business better.  I want something that tells me where stock is,  how much I've got left,  minimum stock levels for reorder,  how many units I can make with given stock. Should be all barcode driven and as quick and easy to set up as possible.  Only really looking at stuff I can self host and open source. I'm keen to get data out of my pick and place line and other machines so that I can see real time how many parts are on a feeder and where the next reel is. 

I'm looking at inventree,  odoo and a few others. Has anyone got a recommendation?  Maintenance scheduling would be handy too but I'm okay if that's in a separate system.
 

Offline Rat_Patrol

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Re: Recommended erp / inventory system for pcba
« Reply #24 on: May 06, 2023, 06:18:56 pm »
I used a plain ol' database (LibreOffice Base) for my system. Took no time to set up, can be changed easily if you don't like something, looks great, works across networks.

We make all our own stuff, same stuff over and over, so we just use an Excel spreadsheet with some formulas. Easy peasy. Match component PNs when they are swapped out of the machine, log that reel out of inventory on Excel. Excel tells me how many boards I can make with inventory on hand. We don't count what is in the machines on inventory, that is our buffer.
 


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