Access 2003 in a 2021 World???



  • Greetings,

    I work at an organization that has been living with Access 2003 and ADP files running our business for far to long. I've been at the organization 10 years.

    The moment I walked in I said it needed to be upgraded. It is a two man IT shop, with me doing much of everything (systems, networking, help desk, web design, etc), and a developer who writes and modifies this Access 2003 system.

    When we migrated to Windows 8.1 years ago, the developer we had then said it would take 6 months and it was only temporary. He has come and gone and now we have a new guy for the last few years.

    The new guy is coding some area of it in .NET and making it web based. However, I feel it is taking too long, and way to much for one person to tackle. While putting us at risk if say tomorrow he left, or Microsoft decided to kill off 32-bit software support or something. I've already had to band aide to get running on Windows 10.

    Can anyone recommend ERP systems for manufacturing? As well as give me some general reasons why this is such a poor thing we are doing. I'm hoping to get some momentum and move us away from this strategy sooner than later.

    Thanks!



  • In a prior position we used JobBOSS. This was a sheetmetal manufacturer.

    The business spent quite a lot to where they needed it to be, hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    So this isn't a small change, but is very likely worth it.



  • I feel like this - We have dozens if not 100+ excel files used by the financial person... I don't understand why they aren't using something better...





  • @VoIP_n00b said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    https://erpnext.com/open-source-manufacturing-erp-software

    Have you used this or are just making a generic google search for an open source ERP? I've heard of this one, but haven't used it.

    To test and validate if something like this would work would require a large investment (any ERP move would in this case) and without really understanding the business processes wouldn't I recommend anything (far to many unknowns).

    My JobBOSS comment above is pointing out that getting an ERP to work the way the business needs is just that, it takes a lot of effort (and money) nothing off the shelf is going to work the way a business has operated for who knows how long.



  • @mmicha
    Kudos to you for trying to get this moving! It's the right thing to do.



  • FFS I have to agree with @DustinB3403 ...

    Of course all he did was Google something.



  • It depends on the size of the company.

    For a small company it might be easier to adjust the way they work, to the tools that are available.

    For a large company you'll either have your own custom side-systems or you put the same amount of money into customization of an off-the-shelf product.

    IMHO the easiest way forward, for the organization, is to have an new modern system developed that will replace the Access 2003.



  • @Pete-S said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    IMHO the easiest way forward, for the organization, is to have an new modern system developed that will replace the Access 2003.

    How can you possibly know though?

    Build an ERP custom to match the business, that seems insane. Start at nothing make a piece of software for just this one business.. ..

    Certainly there are better approaches (granted they all have benefits and downsides) but starting from ZERO is not where I would begin.



  • @DustinB3403 said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    @VoIP_n00b said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    https://erpnext.com/open-source-manufacturing-erp-software

    Have you used this or are just making a generic google search for an open source ERP? I've heard of this one, but haven't used it.

    To test and validate if something like this would work would require a large investment (any ERP move would in this case) and without really understanding the business processes wouldn't I recommend anything (far to many unknowns).

    My JobBOSS comment above is pointing out that getting an ERP to work the way the business needs is just that, it takes a lot of effort (and money) nothing off the shelf is going to work the way a business has operated for who knows how long.

    I've used it. It's not bad, and much better than the other open source alternatives I had used. It's been quite a while since I used it though.



  • @DustinB3403 said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    @Pete-S said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    IMHO the easiest way forward, for the organization, is to have an new modern system developed that will replace the Access 2003.

    How can you possibly know though?

    Build an ERP custom to match the business, that seems insane. Start at nothing make a piece of software for just this one business.. ..

    Certainly there are better approaches (granted they all have benefits and downsides) but starting from ZERO is not where I would begin.

    It depends what you use to build it. I built a workflow for a business with Drupal. If they need financial management that's a different story, but for things like serial number tracking, inventory, safety management, etc it isn't that bad. It definitely depends on what the business looks like.



  • @mmicha said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    Can anyone recommend ERP systems for manufacturing?

    Define ERP for manufacturing?

    I've not used anything previously mentioned.

    But I am familiar with our software in this space because our company has written stuff like this since 1987 or so. Obviously, not my skillset, but others in the company. The last thing we did in that space was for a corrugated steel pipe manufacturer.

    So, a better definition of what you want out of an ERP might help. Especially if it does not easily fit something without customization.



  • @DustinB3403 said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    @Pete-S said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    IMHO the easiest way forward, for the organization, is to have an new modern system developed that will replace the Access 2003.

    How can you possibly know though?

    Build an ERP custom to match the business, that seems insane. Start at nothing make a piece of software for just this one business.. ..

    Certainly there are better approaches (granted they all have benefits and downsides) but starting from ZERO is not where I would begin.

    Not build an ERP. Build the functions they need for the manufacturing side that they have in Access today.

    The reason I say it's easier is based on experience. Changing ERP is a much larger projects since it involves almost everyone in a company in one way or the other. The manufacturing part of the equation can often be split into loosely coupled systems/software.

    Large companies often have an array of different systems to handle the manufacturing from planning to execution to shipping and everything between. The ones I've seen doesn't use a "special" ERP system for manufacturing.



  • @mmicha said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    Can anyone recommend ERP systems for manufacturing? As well as give me some general reasons why this is such a poor thing we are doing. I'm hoping to get some momentum and move us away from this strategy sooner than later.

    Sure, lots of ERP for manufacturing. We manage a few. However if you are able to run on Access of any sort, I doubt you want an ERP. A real developer will be able to make something that meets your needs in no time. But a "real developer" will never accept an internal position with a little company doing this, you need to work with a firm or you will be guaranteed to repeat the mistakes of the past.

    And any developer who uses a single Microsoft technology in this process is either incompetent or out to rip you off. Using Access 2003 was a red flag when this started. That they hired someone who works in .NET now should be sounding the same alarm bells - unnecessary complexity and slow development and high cost to deploy for no reason, just to ensure his own job.



  • @Dashrender said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    I feel like this - We have dozens if not 100+ excel files used by the financial person... I don't understand why they aren't using something better...

    Ensures their job.



  • @Pete-S said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    IMHO the easiest way forward, for the organization, is to have an new modern system developed that will replace the Access 2003.

    This... I need to make a video on why buying an ERP is almost never the right answer. Almost every customer that we have that we manage an ERP for is sorry that they didn't spend the same (or less) money building something that they could control and customize. Buying an ERP is generally insanely expensive and crippling to a business and locks you in.

    @pchiodo has run creation of bespoke ERP previously for manufacturing.



  • @DustinB3403 said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    @Pete-S said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    IMHO the easiest way forward, for the organization, is to have an new modern system developed that will replace the Access 2003.

    How can you possibly know though?

    Build an ERP custom to match the business, that seems insane. Start at nothing make a piece of software for just this one business.. ..

    Certainly there are better approaches (granted they all have benefits and downsides) but starting from ZERO is not where I would begin.

    Actually, he's probably right. He should have said that likely it is the best way. But off the shelf ERP is good for almost no one. It sounds good, it never is. The problem is that starting from off the shelf ERP is often starting from a negative. So starting from zero is a godsend.



  • @Pete-S said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    The reason I say it's easier is based on experience. Changing ERP is a much larger projects since it involves almost everyone in a company in one way or the other. The manufacturing part of the equation can often be split into loosely coupled systems/software.

    Same here. Building an ERP in house is often quite a bit less work than getting an off the shelf ERP to work for you. Less work, lower cost, and you can fix the mistakes that bite you forever.

    Almost every off the shelf ERP requires lots and lots of hidden fees - What people often don't see is that you have to hire a developer(s) in both cases. But one costs extra because its awful and niche work that no one who is good is willing to do. And the other you have control to make sure you get what you want.

    With an ERP you are stuck updating with the vendor. Often you are stuck running Windows servers, expensive databases for no reason, all kinds of hidden software licensing fees. It can be 10-30% "dependency tax" hidden that you never see.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    @Pete-S said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    IMHO the easiest way forward, for the organization, is to have an new modern system developed that will replace the Access 2003.

    This... I need to make a video on why buying an ERP is almost never the right answer. Almost every customer that we have that we manage an ERP for is sorry that they didn't spend the same (or less) money building something that they could control and customize. Buying an ERP is generally insanely expensive and crippling to a business and locks you in.

    @pchiodo has run creation of bespoke ERP previously for manufacturing.

    damn - did you see the price per user per month for the open source one posted above ? $50/u/m... damn!



  • @Dashrender said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    @scottalanmiller said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    @Pete-S said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    IMHO the easiest way forward, for the organization, is to have an new modern system developed that will replace the Access 2003.

    This... I need to make a video on why buying an ERP is almost never the right answer. Almost every customer that we have that we manage an ERP for is sorry that they didn't spend the same (or less) money building something that they could control and customize. Buying an ERP is generally insanely expensive and crippling to a business and locks you in.

    @pchiodo has run creation of bespoke ERP previously for manufacturing.

    damn - did you see the price per user per month for the open source one posted above ? $50/u/m... damn!

    That's super cheap. The real enterprise stuff is way more.



  • @Pete-S said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    @Dashrender said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    @scottalanmiller said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    @Pete-S said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    IMHO the easiest way forward, for the organization, is to have an new modern system developed that will replace the Access 2003.

    This... I need to make a video on why buying an ERP is almost never the right answer. Almost every customer that we have that we manage an ERP for is sorry that they didn't spend the same (or less) money building something that they could control and customize. Buying an ERP is generally insanely expensive and crippling to a business and locks you in.

    @pchiodo has run creation of bespoke ERP previously for manufacturing.

    damn - did you see the price per user per month for the open source one posted above ? $50/u/m... damn!

    That's super cheap. The real enterprise stuff is way more.

    Yeah, if we applied calculus, by comparison $50 is "approaching free".



  • @Dashrender said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    damn - did you see the price per user per month for the open source one posted above ? $50/u/m... damn!

    I think you are a bit confused there. The price of the open source ERPNext is... FREE. Literally free. If you want them to host it for you, the hosting cost is $50/user. The software is free in both cases - whether you host it or you pay someone else to host it. It's only hosting and/or support that you might opt to pay for.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    @Dashrender said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    damn - did you see the price per user per month for the open source one posted above ? $50/u/m... damn!

    I think you are a bit confused there. The price of the open source ERPNext is... FREE. Literally free. If you want them to host it for you, the hosting cost is $50/user. The software is free in both cases - whether you host it or you pay someone else to host it. It's only hosting and/or support that you might opt to pay for.

    OK, yeah I get that... good point...



  • @scottalanmiller said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    If you want them to host it for you, the hosting cost is $50/user.

    Hosting & Support for that price.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    This... I need to make a video on why buying an ERP is almost never the right answer. Almost every customer that we have that we manage an ERP for is sorry that they didn't spend the same (or less) money building something that they could control and customize.

    I'd like to see that video. I've never heard of a company being sorry in the way you describe. I'd be interested to know why your customers feel like this.

    I don't know how you could possibly build something for less - developing an ERP system from scratch is a massive expense. I think it would be ridiculous to even think about it.



  • @Carnival-Boy said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    @scottalanmiller said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    This... I need to make a video on why buying an ERP is almost never the right answer. Almost every customer that we have that we manage an ERP for is sorry that they didn't spend the same (or less) money building something that they could control and customize.

    I'd like to see that video. I've never heard of a company being sorry in the way you describe. I'd be interested to know why your customers feel like this.

    I don't know how you could possibly build something for less - developing an ERP system from scratch is a massive expense. I think it would be ridiculous to even think about it.

    I'll add that to the video list 🙂 But the fast economic basics are that off the shelf ERPs typically require a staggering amount of customization at rates that normally exceed bespoke development (meaning per hour cost is higher because it's neither fun nor rewarding nor using good tools) and COTS ERPs are normally bloating with tons of unneeded components that most customers will never need. And making a bespoke system means ground up design for the needs of the customer, lower development costs, and only making what is needed.

    So your thought that an ERP would be staggering to make.. I totally agree. But what gives the bespoke approach a chance is that they tend to only need to remake maybe 20% of what goes into a standard ERP. Every customer needs a different 20%, of course, that's why there isn't one ERP to rule them all.

    This is why many ERP vendors only have a handful of customers. Every little industry has a bunch of specialty ERP players that have just a few customers and yet still make money.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    @Carnival-Boy said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    @scottalanmiller said in Access 2003 in a 2021 World???:

    This... I need to make a video on why buying an ERP is almost never the right answer. Almost every customer that we have that we manage an ERP for is sorry that they didn't spend the same (or less) money building something that they could control and customize.

    I'd like to see that video. I've never heard of a company being sorry in the way you describe. I'd be interested to know why your customers feel like this.

    I don't know how you could possibly build something for less - developing an ERP system from scratch is a massive expense. I think it would be ridiculous to even think about it.

    I'll add that to the video list 🙂 But the fast economic basics are that off the shelf ERPs typically require a staggering amount of customization at rates that normally exceed bespoke development (meaning per hour cost is higher because it's neither fun nor rewarding nor using good tools) and COTS ERPs are normally bloating with tons of unneeded components that most customers will never need. And making a bespoke system means ground up design for the needs of the customer, lower development costs, and only making what is needed.

    So your thought that an ERP would be staggering to make.. I totally agree. But what gives the bespoke approach a chance is that they tend to only need to remake maybe 20% of what goes into a standard ERP. Every customer needs a different 20%, of course, that's why there isn't one ERP to rule them all.

    This is why many ERP vendors only have a handful of customers. Every little industry has a bunch of specialty ERP players that have just a few customers and yet still make money.

    I'll also add to that a lot of companies still have a "standard" ERP but have other systems that ties into the ERP. For instance a manufacturer may use SAP as their ERP and they might plan their production in SAP but actually executing and keeping track of the production is not done in SAP and they'll use their own custom made solution for that.

    PS. I wrote "standard" ERP above because in the case of the typical SAP clients the ERP is usually heavily customized. Every company buys into the solution thinking they only need some "minor" customization but 10 years and lots of $$$$$ later, they realize that's not the case.



  • @Pete-S yeah.... the ERP tends to have so many hidden costs...

    • Up front cost of the base ERP, typically a sticker-shock level cost
    • Then years of customization at very high cost
    • Then hidden fees everywhere for required, but not included, components (SQL Server?)
    • Often use fees (per user, per core, etc.)
    • Then redevelopment cost every time the underlying system changes
    • Higher than needed IT costs due to unnecessary complexity.

    It just never ends. Every time they turn around, there's another cost.



  • @scottalanmiller
    But you've got those costs regardless? You need to maintain a bespoke ERP and constantly develop it due to changes in technology, legislation, business needs etc.

    SaaS provides more certainty and ease of admin. Microsoft Dynamics BC, for example, is $100 per month per user and for that you get a new version of the software every month and no worries and all the benefits of SaaS.



  • So I understand you, you're talking about designing and developing a bespoke ERP system in-house? So general ledger, receivables, payables, purchasing, sales, inventory, manufacturing? From scratch?


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