However they plan to expand in the near future and do not believe their current system will be effective with much more data. The current system, Lotus SmartSuite, is not designed with their company in mind and is therefore complicated to operate and the addition of data is often laborious. I hope to improve their situation by creating an automated database, so that creating documents and modifying data is a very simple task. 1. 1. 2 User Requirements The owners of Castle Couriers have a number of requirements:
-Reduce time spent on inputting data -This will aid the expansion process because an increase in data will not lead to a further increase in time spent processing. -Increase ease of finding data -Again a time saving requirement, useful during the complicated period of expansion. -Producing a sufficiently high quality document range -Now that the production of documents is virtually automatic, the end users are keen to see that the quality does not decline. -Must be user friendly due to lack of computer literacy of end user
-There must be very few complicated procedures, as having to increase the end users I. T. skills will take time and possibly money. 1. 1. 3 Current system At the present moment Castle Couriers uses a generic program called Lotus Smartsuite. My knowledge of Smartsuite is minimal but the program has not been specifically designed for this company. I have been informed that it is similar to Microsoft office, which I have good experience in. It is very popular with many businesses because of the amount of very professional tools available.
However, in the case of Castle Couriers, these tools are not linked together effectively, allowing for a minimal amount of automation. They store data in both spreadsheets and databases, with certain functions allowing a limited level of automation. 1. 1. 4 Data Flow diagram of current system The following diagram illustrates the current processes involved in dealing with an order 1. 1. 5 Problems with the current system Castle Couriers main problem with their current system is its complexity, which is leading to an increase in the amount of time they spend producing documents and organising orders.
Adding new customers, as they are planning to do, should they decide to continue with expansion, is very difficult and is adding to the already complicated and overloaded system. Modifying data is also a time consuming problem as it takes time to navigate through the procedures necessary. 1. 1. 6 Objectives of the new system The new system should meet a series of criteria, firstly the time spent inputting data and the ease with which this is done should be improved. Making the system less complex than Lotus Smartsuite should solve both of these objectives.
Secondly they would like to be able to search for details of customers and services easily. Very importantly, this program must maintain the high quality of documents such as invoices and memorandums. Finally none of the staff who will be using the system have very much experience in IT, so the system must be easy to operate and difficult to corrupt. 1. 1. 7 Performance indicators The following performance indicators will be used: It should take less than 1 minute to construct and print invoices Data entry should be made simple enough for all queries to be 100% accurate.
The system must be able to cater for any number of staff/customers/services to be added without improvements as the company expands It must be impossible to erase any fields or tables The system should be simple enough for users with only a basic I. T. knowledge to operate 1. 1. 8 Volume of data The level of data that will be stored in the database is likely to be quite small at first, but this should increase as Castle Couriers continues expanding. Initially there are likely to be about 40 customers, with a choice of 3 services and 5 members of staff.
Details of each customer will need to be stored and will cover name, address, telephone and fax numbers, e-mail, contacts within the firm and their history with Castle Couriers. 1. 1. 9 Hardware and Software The majority of the design will be carried out on my schools computer network with the equivalent to a 1. 6Ghz Pentium processor, 128MB of RAM and an easily sufficient sized hard drive. My home PC and the computers of Castle Couriers are of a similar specification. Therefore there should not be any problems in compatibility.
However, at home, where some aspects of the design will be carried out, I have a newer version of Microsoft Office, and therefore a newer version of Access. This should not cause any problems, however should I wish to incorporate functions not available in the schools version, I will have to do this last. All of the designing will be done in Microsoft Access, with some links to Word, for better quality documents, and Excel, for data interpretation. This is available on all three of the concerned systems. 1. 1. 10 End user skill level None of the people who will be using the system have any formal I.
T. qualifications. Their only previous I. T. experience is based around the use of Lotus SmartSuite. This will be a problem for me because the system I will be designing for them will be entirely based within three programs, Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word. It will therefore be necessary to make the project very simple to use with automatic functions. 2 Design 2. 1 Consideration of solutions 2. 1. 1 Manual System This would be based around data being processed, stored and filed in the form of paperwork, with calculations being manual and documents handmade. -Easily the slowest
-Higher risk of loss/damage to data -Complicated and tedious -Lower quality documents -High risk of mis-calculations We have therefore judged that this system would not be suitable for Castle Couriers, as it is far too slow and complicated and will not be better than the current system. 2. 1. 2 Spreadsheet System A spreadsheet system would be designed and operated in a program such as Microsoft Excel. -Easy to design -Little chance of damage/loss -Simple functions A spreadsheet system would not allow for the necessary functions and operations to improve on Lotus Smartsuite. 2. 1.
3 A specifically designed courier system A package, which has been specially designed for this type of business, could be obtained from certain software companies -Best program -Expensive -All necessary functions present This is probably the best option as it is designed only for use in this type of company, however due to the expense of this program Castle Couriers have allowed me to attempt a database before deciding. 2. 1. 4 Access database This is the option they have allowed me to attempt and this will be designed and implemented by me -Very cheap and easy to design -Inter-personal interaction during design.
-Easier to train users Using this system has the advantage of allowing Castle Couriers to have an influence in the design of the system. 2. 2 Database Design 2. 2. 1 Entity-relationship diagram There are six entities, or tables, within this database. They are basically split into two separate functioning databases, however I will keep them in one for ease of use and because the services/tasks table will be used by both systems. The first system, outlined in red, will concern the receiving and payments of orders, whereas the second, outlined in blue, will allow allocation of tasks for employees.
2. 2. 2 Dataflow diagram of the proposed system 2. 2. 3 Table Design The six tables are defined as follows: tblCustomer Field name Data type Description/Validation Customer ID AutoNumber Key field, automatically incremented for each customer Company name Text Contact first name Text Contact second name Text Billing address Text Town.
ServiceID AutoNumber Key field, automatically incremented for each service Service description Text Service price Currency tblorders Field name Data type Description/Validation OrderID AutoNumber Key field, automatically incremented for each order CustomerID Number ServiceID Number Date Time/Date tblpayments Field name Data type Description/Validation CustomerID Number Payment amount Currency Payment date Time/Date tblemployees Field name Data type Description/Validation EmployeeID First name Second name Other names Title National Insurance number e-mail address Address 1.
Address 2 City County Post code Home phone Work phone Emergency contact number tblemployeesandtasks Field name Data type Description/Validation EmployeetaskID EmployeeID OrderID 2. 2. 4 Form Design There will be 4 forms for data entry: frmCustomerMain a form with a sub-form, used to input customer details and the services they require in the next week (Source: tblCustomer for the main form, tblOrders for the sub-form) frmservices a form to add and edit the details of each service (Source: tblservices) frmPayment a form to enter customer payments (Source: qryCustomerPayments).
2. 2. 5 Query Summary 2. 2. 6 Document Summary 2. 2. 7 Macro Summary 2. 3 Templates 2. 4 Data entry and Validation 2. 5 Macros 2. 6 Security and Disaster Recovery The computers that will hold the program will be kept at the Hopkins house, so security and procedures for disaster recovery will be necessary due to the alternative uses of the computer by other members of the family, e. g. leisure. The database itself will be password protected with a password chosen by Mr and Mrs Hopkins, therefore restricting access to the system to only staff that are allowed to.
Castle Couriers currently operates its own method of disaster recovery; every night all company related files and folders are backed up onto a 100mb Zip Disk and stored in a fire proof safe within the house. So therefore any damage to the computer, such as theft or fire, will only mean a certain level of inconvenience and expense, not a loss of data. 2. 7 IT tasks 1/ Create new workbook 2/ Create tables (i) tblCustomer (ii) tblServices (iii) tblOrders (iv) tblPayments (v) tblEmployees (vi) tblEmployeesAndTasks -Create queries -Create macros -Create reports and link them to tables and queries.
-Create attractive user interface 2. 8 Schedule of Activities Activity Schedule for I. T. Task Implementation IT task Time necessary for completion Week Completed at school or home 2. 9 2. 10 Test Strategy The functions and macros in the program will all be tested under varying circumstances so that I can see whether they will perform correctly under the conditions in which they will be used. This will hopefully allow me to iron out any defects within the program before it will be passed onto Mr and Mrs Hopkins to implement. Functional Testing Each menu will be thoroughly tested.
Each button and item inside the menu will be tested to make sure that no problems have occurred. Each button must be checked to make sure that the command it is assigned to works. Logical Testing This type of test is used to test every aspect of each form, table, query or report as soon as it has been implemented. Data will be inserted that is valid, invalid and extreme. Sufficient data will be inserted so that each table has at least one row of information. This will test to see if the different masks that have been used are correct or the different data types are correct.
Subsequent data will continue throughout the test to make sure that the data is correct. System Testing When the system is complete, the whole range of tests will be repeated. This will ensure that no further problems have arisen. Recovery Testing The computer will be rebooted during procedures to see if data becomes corrupt or lost. If problems are found they can be corrected Acceptance Testing The end-user will be involved at this stage, they must test every aspect of the system to see if it fulfils the requirements that were set in the analysis section.
They will be asked to check if each menu is correctly headed, if the system functions correctly and if it is user friendly. Any faults found at this stage can be corrected before the final version is passed on.