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Show HN: I've open-sourced my ERP SaaS, Stockor
46 points by nathanstitt on Feb 21, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 27 comments
For the last several years I've been creating a ERP platform, Stockor. While I'm going to continue offering it as a SaaS, I've decided to also open-source it.

I'm hopeful that by doing so it will: 1) Grow it into a Wordpress size juggernaut with a plugin for any business process under the sun. 2) Bring me interesting consulting gigs.

The open-source site is at stockor.org. There's a demo up at stockor.com/demo as well.

Looking forward to hearing HN's thoughts!

The demo doesn't look bad, but it seems to suffer from design-by-programmer. It also seems like the stockor.com website is more of an afterthought, even though it's a critical part of your sales funnel (other ERP vendors can afford to have a lousy website because they do face-to-face sales).

You can make a ton of money in the ERP business, even if your product isn't very good. So if you're losing hope that stockor.com is going to bring in serious money anytime soon, it's probably because you need to focus way more on your onboarding experience and quality of the stockor.com website.

Thanks for the feedback. I agree that that's a 100% accurate assessment, since well, it was designed by programmer.

I haven't lost hope on stockor.com at all. I'm hoping that the open-source version will drive additional attention to stockor.com and I'll pick up more customers from it.

The basic problem I've ran into is credibility with customers. They're understandably reluctant to trust their entire business to some guy over the internet. I believe that if I can point out that the code is open and they can always migrate to running it themselves it should alleviate their reluctance.

Really it's kind of a no-brainer to pay me to host it at a few hundred a month vs hiring an IT guy.

You can build trust! Blogs, email, the usual advice all applies, but you may also consider getting a professional take on design or at least adopting a framework (Bootstrap/Foundation).

People can spend plenty of time arguing the merits of those frameworks, but they were pretty much built for guys like you who are programmers and could use opinionated UI that's passed review in someone's design department. Use a theme/skinning site like bootswatch.com to throw in some variety with colors/typography and still have some thought put in the small details like "what should be the relative difference between your font sizes?"

Between your personal branding and the impressions created by first glances at your product, you can have some easy wins with credibility.

Well, I am using Bootstrap. But didn't want to have the Yet Another Bootstrap site look. Guess maybe I should have left well enough alone...

In fact the website is built entirely on bootstrap and Backbone.js Using my liquid_assets gem I've managed to make it searchable as well. I use the sass version of Bootstap and allow the user to modify the colors from the management side.

Retailers are a close-knit bunch.

You only need one "recognised name" to come on board, who does decent volumes, and you can bootstrap off the back of such fairly straightforwardly - you just have to work their network, by which I mean, be aware of who they know, who will be watching, and either reach out to them or make it a no-brainer for them to reach out to you.

Is it a coincidence that the page says

"It's 11 o'clock in the morning, do you know where your inventory is?" and I'm reading the page at 11 o'clock? Creepy

Everything looks very polished, I've never worked with an ERP before but I didn't know it could include your customer-facing website and process orders directly. I guess that's what ERP is for...

Nope, that's done with JS to your time zone. Didn't mean for it to be creepy, was going more for humorous.

Thanks for the kind words! Once I get it all finalized I'm also hopping for additional plugins to extend it way beyond ERP. Time trackers - I'm looking at you.

Interesting attempt.

Key questions I would immediately ask an ERP vendor that I do not see answered on your homepage:

- What kind of interfaces/APIs does Stockor provide? Both for in-house systems (analytics, whatever) as well as externals (EDIFACT, etc.).

- Is there some sort of pricing engine to fully calculate an order? How flexible is it?

I assume this is US only? If not, then what about languages, currencies, etc?

Good points. I don't cover that at all on the landing page.

It is 100% API driven using a a JSON REST api. As part of the open-sourcing process I'll be documenting that, but it isn't currently documented at all.

The pricing engine is lacking compared to other ERP implementations. Right now it does per-customer pricing with quantity breaks, but it doesn't have the concept of pricing libraries like others do. I do have experience implementing those but just haven't gotten it done yet. I agree that'll be really important for larger enterprises.

It is US only at the moment, mainly because I have no experience with VAT and European accounting. If someone was willing to work with me on it to discuss how it all works that'd be awesome...

Looks really comprehensive. It's impressive. It's been a while since I've been in this domain so I can't comment on the functionality, but the look and feel of the demo is quite good. Like others have stated, the main site could use a professional touch.

I am using an online ERP, the trust to do that came because my accountant used it.

He liked it because he have access to my data without the need to come to my office.

So you might try to get accountant/bookkeepers to like it so they can be your trustbuilders!?

Yeah, I've been in talks with my accountant on what would be take to interest accounts. Quickbooks has a neat feature where they package up all the postings and send them to the accountant.

If you get one accountant to use it, it could equal 10-?? Clients if he pushes it to his (new) clients...

Of course, getting an accountant is probably a harder sell ;)

Yep. I've done a decent amount of research into why quick books is so prevalent and "accountant support/recommendations" is the main reason.

Look very nice. Looks allot like Pimcore http://pimcore.com

The demo stuff was laking good test data on most pages. That was my initial thought.


I've auto-generated the data using the Ruby Faker gem and the API. I would like to locate better product descriptions and images but haven't been able to find a good open source for them yet.

The scripts I used to do so are at: https://github.com/argosity/stockor-scripts

do you think this can be used by a small scale manufacturing industry as an Internal ERP ? ( there no need for Store sort of thing ). Reason I am asking is that I had to do a very basic inventory management app for a friends mechanical industry, just generated some models in rails and used an admin panel gem to generate the app..


It could be with a little more work. I don't currently support manufacturing, but do have kitting. You can have one SKU depend on multiple SKU's so that if one is ordered it'll place the sub SKUS as well.

For proper manufacturing we'd have to expand that to generate a build order and factor labor into the GL postings.

It's on my informal roadmap but no idea when/if it'll get done. If you're interested in sponsoring that, I'd love to talk! (nathan@argosity.com)

Having a 2 second look at the demo, it looks like a lot of useful kit. But what makes this different to other software, or indeed compared to Shopify and the like?

Great point. The main difference is that Shopify is great at e-commerce but it stops there.

Stockor handles the entire supply chain from purchasing inventory to managing it and customer relations. You'd use Stockor to manage all your business processes behind the scenes.

Now that stocker's open-source I'd expect someone to write a shopify adapter for it. I've got an Amazon one already written that I'll be releasing soon.

Just curious, how much revenue it has generated up to date?

I love the roadmap gauge on your website, can I steal it?

Awesome! Glad you liked it. I've opened sourced the website as well, it's all built as a static site using Ruhoh.rb and the source is at: https://github.com/argosity/stockor-dotorg

You'll probably want to check out the _root/index.html and stylesheets/os-progress.scss for the gauge.

Stockor was my favorite He-Man toy. He had pallet jacks for hands! I think his sold-separately vehicle was a shipping container.

Hmm I wasn't aware of that when I named the product. I was going more for Stock (as in inventory) and Operating Room.

I'm in talks with a designer for a dinosaur themed logo though since something about the name sounds like Raptor and I think that might be kinda neat.

That was a joke, in case it wasn't clear. :) He-Man had lots of characters with imaginative names like Spikor and Stinkor (whose gimmick was that the toy smelled really bad).

You know I did wonder if it was, since I googled it and didn't find anything :) The name does kinda have that sound, which made me wonder about it. :)

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