Solution Provider Brings Wireless ERP to SMB Market

By Pedro Pereira  |  Print this article Print


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Solution provider Yellow Dog made use of OpenMFG technology to develop ERP that fits the SMB market.

Enterprise Resource Planning software traditionally has found a home in large organizations, but a solution provider in Vancouver is helping to change that by bringing a wireless, open-source ERP application to small and midsize businesses.

The provider, YellowDog Consulting Inc., developed the application for use in handheld devices utilized by warehouse workers to ship and track packages. The devices capture information about each package and, in true ERP fashion, transmit it in real-time to backend systems for inventory updates.

ERP technology integrates into one platform the systems of separate departments in an organization, including order processing, payroll, purchasing and shipping.

Yellow Dog's application is built on the open-source backbone of technology from ERP vendor OpenMFG, of Norfolk, Va. It's believed to be the first open-source ERP application for handhelds in the SMB market.

"Currently, the application supports outbound shipments and inbound receipts," said Norman Jekubik, president of Yellow Dog, in business for about eight years. "We have one client that is using the software at this point."

Jekubik said the client, a frozen-foods company, is using the application in beta. He plans to market the software jointly with OpenMFG to other customers later this year.

OpenMFG CEO Ned Lilly said his company had numerous requests over the years for the technology that Yellow Dog developed.

"We've had very strong interest from at least a half-dozen of our existing clients," he said. "It's a real need in the marketplace and we're delighted that Norm [Jekubik] and his team were able to bring this to market and put the resources together to do it."

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More than 60 clients currently use OpenMFG technology, Lilly said.

Jekubik said he expects the application to hit home with manufacturing clients that have to move a lot of packages on a daily basis.

Typically, he said, the software is replacing pen and paper. While large companies have employed handheld technology in warehouses and shipping centers for years, he said, the technology hasn't filtered into the resource-strapped SMB space. Yellow Dog's application, he said, makes ERP accessible to this market at a reasonable cost.

Yellow Dog partnered with OpenMFG about two years ago, deciding to go the open-source route instead of partnering with one of the more well-known ERP vendors, which use proprietary source code.

"I wanted to get tied in with a vendor that had a bit of a different vision from what the major players had," Jekubik said.

In business for a few years, OpenMFG has developed manufacturing-focused ERP solutions with an interface to Windows, Mac OS and Unix operating systems. Even though the company takes an open-source approach, it charges for the use of its technology.

The company makes the code available to partners and integrates changes to the software made by partners into the overall solution, Lilly said.

By bringing the open-source and ERP worlds together, he said, OpenMFG has found a way to increase its footprint in the market. "The intersection of those two worlds is pretty new," he said.

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