I recently spoke to Rasmus Buskov, Managing Director at Penta Business Solutions, a seasoned professional in the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) industry in Vietnam.
TN: What is Penta Business Solutions?
RB: We are a team of experienced business consultants focused on providing affordable yet sophisticated open source ERP solutions, namely Openbravo, to businesses in Vietnam. One of our focus industries is medium size manufacturers, for example the textile industry.
TN: What are the advantages of open source ERP?
RB: In short, open source gives you access to the source code and you are free to use, change or distribute the software. With open source you are also not tied to a specific vendor and if you are not satisfied with the service you receive, you can go to a third party. Proprietary software is not that flexible and it does not allow you the same freedom. The open source community also attracts a large group of software developers that are always searching for challenges and looking to overcome technical difficulties. With open source you are part of a much bigger community, because you are not tied to restrictive licensing fees and there are no hidden costs. With proprietary software, normally half the cost of the ERP system is the license fee and the other half is the implementation cost.
TN: What advice would you give to a company when implementing an ERP system?
RB: It is important not to try to do too much. Manage scope creep and focus first on the basics when implementing an ERP system. Extreme customization is likely to land in trouble. It is also important to have a serious look at your business processes. For example, the basics would include knowing your inventory levels and having a clear understanding of the value and cost associated with them. It is also important to establish clear terms with your vendor and assign detailed responsibility. A successful implementation of an ERP system is normally also based on a good partnership with you service provider.
TN: What advice would you give companies when training staff with regards to ERP?
RB: I would focus on one-on-one training or small groups. From experience I can tell you, putting a large group of people in a training room just does not work.
TN: How has the ERP market changed the last 5 years?
RB: ERP has moved to the forefront and a lot of companies have implemented ERP or are seriously looking at ERP solutions. WTO entry has a lot to do with that, as local companies look to compete with foreign entries.