Open-source manufacturing software is cloud-based

data warehouse cloud pointing down to different devices

A Polish company has developed and open-sourced a manufacturing execution system (MES) for smaller businesses. The Qcadoo MES project hopes to replicate the success of companies such as Openbravo, OpenERP and SugarCRM, all of which have developed apps that are available both in community-supported free open-source form and as fully supported commercial software.

Qcadoo's community manager Adam Walczak said that the software, which was written in Java and published under the AGPL licence, is fully modular, so manufacturers can choose to implement as much or as little of it as they want. The commercial version is available as a full system, as SaaS (software-as-a-service) online for less than 10 Euro per month, or as a hybrid of local and online modules.

Walczak added that its developers worked with usability experts, including using eye-tracking tools, to ensure that the user interface was clear and intuitive. "There are many local MES applications, but they are more old fashioned desktop applications and hard to use," he said.

Qcadoo MES are production order management, materials requirements, bill-of-materials and routings, master data management, quality management, cost calculations, inventory management, and reporting. More functionality is under development, and Walczak said he hoped that taking the project open-source would also encourage others to develop modules to work within Qcadoo's XML-based framework.

"Qcadoo MES combines many functions you can find in ERP, MRP and MES systems, but we don't want to replace systems like SAP, MS Dynamics or Wonderware. We do not target the same groups they do - those large systems include a lot that is not needed in smaller businesses, and it is hard to customise them to your way of working," he said. "Qcadoo MES lets you replace those paper notes and spreadsheets that are flying around the production line and gain benefit from having them all in one system."

Walczak added that Qcadoo MES embraces many cloud computing concepts, and that the company's aim is to move on from SaaS to a fully cloud-based approach with micro-billing and an online store selling additional modules.