Access/Outlook/WordThe publicity department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office needed to replace a non-Millennium compliant Unix system. The new system is required to keep the email address of all UK embassies and legations around the world. Whenever public domain documents become available or when ministers make statements, copies, summaries or details are fed into the system via a Word document. From within Word, the document is classified, catalogued and put on a mailing list. Each mailing list can be a simple list or a list-of-lists. The system is written to ensure that only one copy of the document is sent to an email address even if the address appears more than once. After cataloguing, the document is dispatched to the far-flung corners of the Empire using Microsoft Outlook. About 20,000 emails are sent each month.
Access/Excel/MS GraphA large car-spares retail distributor needed a database to track rebates from sales. It was important to be able to ask ‘What if?’ questions about the data. An Excel interface was written which allowed Excel users access to the database and to download selected data to be displayed on a graph with a trend line.
Access/ExcelA large electricity utility needed a database to distribute to agencies in order to track and process contracts. Teams of advisers around the country were cold calling on homes and flats and thousands of contracts were being signed. A co-ordinated approach was needed to ensure quality data, smooth data capture and transmission. An Access 97 database was written that enforced data integrity. At the end of the working day the database produces an Excel spreadsheet which is emailed to the data processing department.
Access/Lotus MailThe training department of a large scientific consultancy company needed a database to hold details of employees, training history and their needs. It was important to ensure that classrooms, trainers and employees were not double booked. The booking procedure was interfaced with Lotus Notes to allow joining instructions to be sent by email to employees giving details and directions. A bespoke checklist was included for each course as well as the facility to book multi-day and multi-site courses.
Access/Nokia Cardphone/Vodafone Short Message ServiceA national company specialising in truck breakdown was looking for a way of speeding up the handling service calls and the associated paperwork. An Access 2000 database was written to interface with an existing system and to relay jobs to engineers who were equipped with a touch-screen laptop computer fitted with a Nokia card phone. After each job the engineer printed an invoice for the customer and then sent details of the job, spares, mileage and time spent back to base using the Vodafone short message service. The base-station then passed the details back to the main system. A team of 5 engineers have used it for six months. It was well received and has now entered the second phase of development [July 2001] plans are in hand to equip two more teams for further evaluation in areas with limited SMS cover.
Access Databases1:- A round-the-clock metal finishing company needed a robust database to meet ISO 9001 requirements and to track work in progress. Speed of data entry was important as, literally, lorry loads of stillages could arrive at any moment. The system holds customer information and prompts the user to record the correct details and processes for each part. At the press of a button a label is produced showing the correct instructions and standards. As the work is shipped back to the customer a delivery note is printed.
After the system settled down, a second module was written to utilise the delivery note as the basis of the invoice for each shipment. This simple arrangement has eliminated 90% of telephone queries about what was sent, signed for and billed. A sister company has since taken the package into use.
2:- A local authority needed an Access database to replace a non-millennium compliant system that tracked and reported on sickness, absence and leave. The resultant database included a shift diary that handles complex shift and day-off patterns in such a way as to ensure that all absence data is normalised to full time equivalents (fte’s). This data is used to track the authority’s performance. Initially the system was installed as an Access run-time.
3:- A Government department needed an Access database to monitor the business benefits of a multi-million pound radio system. The database hosts a complex data model which allows the user to extract reports set against individual benefits as well as user experience in meeting a host of different metrics set against that benefit.