Managing your projects efficiently is a must for a small business. When working to ensure customer satisfaction, it is vital to have a system in place that accounts for each ongoing project. The last thing you want to occur is to have a project from a priority customer become lost in the shuffle. There is no need to spend thousands of dollars for a customized work order system. By taking advantage of off-the-shelf database solutions you can design your own work order system.
Purchase an off-the-shelf database program such as Microsoft Access or FileMaker. This program will provide you with the functionality to both store the data from your work order system and develop a user-friendly interface that will provide the users of the work order system with a set of input options. These programs will also allow you and your employees to perform complex searches on the data and to manipulate the data as needed.
Take advantage of online tutorials to enhance your skills at using these programs. It is not difficult to use the basic features of these programs, and setting up your work order system should be a quick process. However, the programs offer some very powerful capabilities that may not be readily apparent, and by utilizing the online tutorials to increase your skill-set, you may be able to create an advanced level of functionally such as interfacing your work order system with your customer management system or inventory database.
Design the work order system. One of the most important components of the design will be to create database fields for storing the status of the work order. In this manner, a simple query by work order status will ensure that no projects get lost. It is also a good idea to create an easy-to-use interface for those who will use the system.
Developing the database fields and the interface are simple processes that can be achieved with a cursory glance through the database program's documentation. You may wish to import data from an old work order system, which can also be easily done by matching the imported data fields with the newly created database fields in your new system.
If you cannot afford to build your system on one of these two programs, then you should consider using the open-source OpenOffice.org base. This free-to-use offering should provide much of the same basic capabilities of the for-profit programs. Attend seminars or online webcast events in order to stay updated with the improvements in the database products. These new improvements may provide you with tools to make your work order system more efficient over time.
Remember to purchase a software license for each computer on which you will be placing the software. If you have a large number of employees who will need access to the database, then you should consider purchasing an unlimited license agreement or an upgraded version of the program that may drive down the per-unit cost to the user.