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Bespoke Business Management System allows for innovative and flexible business process

Overview

Business Problem

Avoid tie in of the main business application to an inflexible accounts package.

Exmos Solution

Develop a bespoke Business Management application which could interface to whatever accounting system was being used.

Tools used

  • Microsoft Access
  • Visual Basic
  • SQL Server
  • Powershell

Benefits

Not tied to the direction or upgrade path of a financial application, which could stifle innovation in the business process.

Abstract

This company wanted a completely bespoke application to handle their main business process modules such as:

  • Contact Management
  • Sales Opportunities
  • Purchasing
  • Sales Invoicing
  • Job Costing

Business Problem

This company recognised that most of the small business accounting packages were going to be too limiting to provide for their business process ideas. At the same time, they did not want to embark into a large ERP or financial system implementation as their accounting needs were relatively straight forward and modest.

Exmos Solution

Develop a Business Management System covering the main business process modules. This application actually started life as a DOS based DataEase application before being rewritten using the then brand new Microsoft database tool "Access" in 1993. The core of the application is still in use today and resides in an Access 2007 database with various supporting tools. The data is stored in SQL Server. The company still has all it's historical data back to when the application was first written.

The main modules comprise:

Contact Management

The application has a single repository for prospects, customers, suppliers and general contacts. Customer and Supplier accounts are synchronised to the financial application, giving a single location for maintenance of the names, addresses, phone numbers etc. A single account number is in use across all systems.

Sales Opportunities

The system has a pre-filtering mechanism to handle the initial enquiries. Some of these will then go on to become fully fledged enquiries and enter the quote management module.

The quote management module implements full quote history tracking and retains every version of every quote issued.

These quotes are under the control of a document manager, which handles a check-out/check-in process as each sales person works on them. The next version of a quote is generated automatically by the document manager, which also fills in all the summary info in the document file. The quote documents themselves are created in Microsoft Word, which has some macro automation to autofill document summary details straight into the document.

Bill of Materials

A Bill of Material system was recently added to allow for the production of quick quotations for equipment and components.

This BoM system also receives feeds from distributor data files, keeping manufacturer part numbers, descriptions and pricing up to date.

Purchase Ordering

The purchase ordering module has recently been expanded to interface to the BoM system.

Sales Invoicing

The Sales Invoices are fed from an external (also bespoke) time recording system. As well as generating the sales invoice document, this module also creates all the time summary information which is also extracted from the time recording system. Invoices are then automatically generated as PDF documents, with all the summary information being appended into the same file. These PDF files are then written to disk for delivery by e-mail.

The invoices are delivered to each customer by e-mail. The e-mail covering letter and attachment handling are all managed by a powershell script.

Job Costing

This application feeds job costing in the form of a Project Cost Tracking application.

Reporting

The application has a number of built-in reports.

Business Benefits

The company can innovate its business processes in line with its expansion and own ideas without being restricted by an off the shelf accounting package which this application ultimately feeds.

Tools Used

  • Microsoft Access
  • Visual Basic
  • SQL Server
  • Powershell