3) Installation of modules
Once this is done, I usually install the needed/desired main modules, i.e., CRM, Sales, Inventory, Invoicing, etc. Here, you should keep in mind that „less is more.“ In other words, even if many modules seem to make sense when you read their descriptions and can confirm in your mind that there is a need for them in your business, you should proceed according to your priorities. Because modules may be easy to install, but un-installing them is quite a different matter. Keep in mind that modules expand the data structure, and this expansion will remain even after removal.
There is another, equally important fact: whether you have worked with a previous system or with no system, the daily tasks will require re-organization. This should be done slowly and gradually, not all at once.
You should, therefore, consider the following points during installation:
a) Modules that are usually grouped together
Almost all modules can be combined freely, of course. However, there are some “natural” module groups, depending on the industry.
The first group includes the classic „ERP Modules“: Sales, Inventory, Purchase, Invoicing, and Accounting. Here, the communication capabilities (internally or externally, via e-mail or message) and activity planning (re-submissions and follow-ups) basically have already been implemented by Odoo. Therefore, they do not presuppose a CRM Module, as is common practice with some other systems.
Remember that we are already in this classic constellation once goods start being moved.
If we deal with a manufacturer (excluding software producers), Manufacturing is added to the conventional modules.
The segments predominantly used by service companies or software producers form the second group of modules. They include Project (project management) and Timesheets (time tracking).
Employees (Human Resources)
The last group is formed by all modules involved in HR; in other words, employee management. Together with timesheet management, these are installed as dependencies, so that the expense ratios for the evaluation of individual time sheets may be lodged in the respective employee’s file. But the group of HR Modules is considerably more extensive and also includes timesheets, vacation management, recruiting as well as contract management.
However, these modules are listed to 90% under priority 2.
b) Modules that (can) manage on their own
There are also modules with few, if any, dependencies that can be treated as self-contained units. Occasionally, they even act as a sort of door opener to introduce Odoo.
This is why I do not merely want to list them without a few words of explanation.
This is a kind of pre-qualification of inquiries, starting with the query for info@ addresses, qualification, re-submissions, enhancement, lead mining, and sales team management. Here, Odoo is easily on par with other systems such as Pipedrive, Hubspot, SugarCRM and certainly also with SalesForce.do
Ticketing might have been a better name for this module, since it is used, more often than not, for just that purpose. But it is actually quite versatile, offering various possible applications, even one for returns management. Because all these aspects share the same procedural context: you receive an external ticket and have to be able to evaluate and process it as well as track its progress, status and any communication involved with it.
Using a configuration option, you may even activate the assigned timesheet. But keep in mind here that there is more to it than you might think, because checking this particular box automatically installs the modules Time Sheet and Employees at the same time. And if you do that more often than for at least one team, you will get even more than you expected. Because there is one thing that you also have to know: times are booked against a project’s cost centers, which are part of Finances. So, even if you do not use this interconnection to its full depth and keep forgetting about its actual configuration, remember: small cause, like a check in a box, significant impact.
So let’s look at a positive example for the consequences of such a check in a box: it leads to being able to use this module as a somewhat “trimmed-down project management.”
And while we’re at it, let’s take a little side trip and try to answer the following questions:
– So, what is the difference?
– When do I use Project Management and when the Helpdesk Module?
Projects are, in fact, interfaces between sales and finances. Let us say someone is planning and calculating a project. Once the order is placed, the project is created in the system, immediately generating a cost center. The order items relevant for the project are generated as tasks for further planning within the project and linked with the individual order items. This way, planning may be reconciled with the actual status at any time. Of course, both time and cost postings end up in the project cost center. It only works this way, however, if the creation of products/articles is well thought out.
By contrast, Sales are not included in Helpdesk, which is why it is able to make do without a Master inventory and thus with a considerably lower dependency, regardless of timesheets. On the other hand, however, it is not able to provide in-depth financial analyses, except for an evaluation of the recorded working hours per employee or team and the associated costs.
Introduced with Odoo 11, the Document Management Module is relatively new within the Odoo ecosystem. Still, it is slowly growing out of its infancy and, after a general revision of the module, has taken a decisive step forward with Odoo 13.
In any case, although being still relatively new in the overall concept, this module has found a meaningful and useful implementation even without DMS. The critical factor has been the interaction between purchasing and accounts payable, as well as the fact that document storage has always existed at the core of the system. Providing documents with workflows has been a rather infrequent request, and if it came up, an alternative solution always presented itself.
Keeping that in mind, this module can certainly be used for „classic applications.” Let us take a look at a small selection (and I am sure that I need not mention that these elements could be easily implemented with the Odoo DMS Module):
– Purchase invoice
The most classic case is probably the process around purchase invoices. Each such document, whether delivered by e-mail or by post, is sent to a DMS. There, it will be validated, if necessary pre-assigned and forwarded for approval. Once the document has been processed, it will end up in Accounting as a purchase invoice receipt.
A contract document is to be drafted. It contains multiple paragraphs that have to be approved by different persons. Or maybe the text is finalized already, but one last signature is missing. In any case, it is possible to define a signature field and ask the respective person, whether internal or external, to sign. This signature may then be inserted in the final PDF.
– Project documents
It is also possible, of course, to use this module as a central file for project documents. This has already been possible in previous Odoo versions via Projects or Tasks. Release processes, however, have now become much easier, since they can now be integrated as well, much like the signature process or the release of purchase invoices described above.
– Product documents
Similar to projects, documents can also be set up and established for products and internal approval, to organize the development of technical records via workflows.
This module can also be used as a completely independent unit and does not differ too much from other, comparable products. Its significant added value derives from its use of „dynamic filters“ that allow access to all data sources within Odoo. This ability makes it very easy to filter „all customers that have sent an inquiry, received both a quotation, an order confirmation, and an invoice and have paid it,” in combination with the customer profile. This feature is not even remotely feasible in specialized solutions or best-of-breed applications.
The use of widgets that can be created via drag & drop helps to develop mail templates and to design campaigns. Their success may be tracked and evaluated via KPIs.
The most important fact to remember with all these modules is that there are, of course, a lot of specialized applications. Odoo’s main advantage is its „dormant potential.“ The system may be extended and upgraded to a fully integrated platform at almost any time.
c) Modules to be used with caution
Some modules should be used with caution, as we described in a separate blog (https://openfellas.com/de/2018/10/module-unter-der-openfellas-lupe/) some time ago.
Let’s have a look at the current status in Odoo 13:
For some completely incomprehensible reason, the “account_cancel” module has been transferred to the Accounting Module. On the positive side, there is now also an option called „Lock Posted Entries with Hash“ within the journal configuration that allows hiding this function.
Unfortunately, this lock is not active when a new journal is created. This problem is easily amended, however: switch to developer mode, create a new journal, check the box next to the option mentioned above and save. Then click on the beetle symbol (in the top menu bar in Developer Mode) and select „Set Defaults.“ The display will show a drop-down list featuring „Lock Posted Entries with Hash = true.“ Activating the option „All users“ will ensure that all accounting entries are locked regardless of which user created the journal (see ScreenShot for setting the default value).
The separation of purchasing and sales units is an additional configuration also in Odoo 13. This module should only be activated if it is really necessary. The mapping of the sales and purchase units may also be realized textually via the sales or product description per supplier.
Similar to „account_cancel“, this functionality is no longer kept separate, but has been integrated into the core. In contrast to “account_cancel, however, this has already happened a few Odoo versions ago. Since Odoo 11, you can see a paper clip icon as part of the Chatterbox, which allows you to view all attachments or add new ones. Attachments are displayed as symbols. At the top right corner of each symbol, you will find an X which may be used to remove an attachment. It is debatable whether it is necessary to be able to remove documents once they have been uploaded. But it is absolutely certain that this function is definitely not appropriate for invoices.
To solve this problem, I only know about 2 potential solutions:
1) Users are instructed not to remove any document
2) The option is removed via customization