Contract Management System with Office Automation

Microsoft Access Job Management System Integrated with Word and Excel

CC Ground Investigations specialise in undertaking all types of site investigation work throughout the UK. They have a highly dedicated and professional team who design and manage geological surveys for the most demanding of sites. Document management and office automation functionality was required within a robust job management system.

The Problem

The IT consultant who had developed their job management database had based it on a much simpler work flow model. It could only handle one job (contract) resulting from an enquiry, and one site visit being recorded for that job. CC Ground however might have many jobs resulting from an enquiry, and a job might require a number of site visits.

Drilling Instructions (job sheets) for the day had to contain very specific details, including relevant information from previous site visits. Tracking all site visits for each contract was therefore essential.

The system had been modified to try to cope with this, without success. With data link relationships set up incorrectly, finding important information was difficult and time consuming. Once found, data had to be manually re-entered or copied between records, which could result in discrepancies. Furthermore, the system was buggy and unreliable.

The Solution

We developed a custom job management system using Microsoft Access incorporating office automation and document handling facilities.

The existing model was re-engineered to provide tracking between client contracts as well as continuity between multiple site visits within contracts. We stripped the system back to the client's most important requirements. This meant we could deliver a usable system quickly and inexpensively. With a solid platform on which to build, we have been able to add functionality as funds became available.

As enquiries are received, pertinent information is recorded on the system including all data needed for the quotation process. Staff select the documentation required from a list of available template options. A new folder is automatically created, with all relevant files stored in the correct place. Other documents received, or created manually, can be added to the folder easily. Prospective clients then receive a quote, or CC Ground may tender for the work.

If the quote is accepted, or the tender won, the enquiry becomes a "contract".
Some repeat jobs might go straight to the contract phase, and there is now built in continuity between multiple contracts resulting from one enquiry. By logging whether tenders are lost or converted, staff members can track the success rate of the tender process.

Office Automation: The system enables staff to create contracts quickly and easily. All associated documentation will again be produced automatically following existing naming conventions. Documents will be pre filled in with data from the enquiry or tender stage, and stored in a new folder created for the purpose. Additional information will be collected as required.

The Drilling Instruction, which previously had to be created manually, is the most important of these documents. It contains essential information such as client contact details, CC Ground staff attending, site geology, as well as specific instructions for the job. It also contains relevant information from previous site visits. As all this information is carried forward automatically, accuracy and completeness is enhanced.

As each contract (or enquiry) record contains links to all associated files, staff can see all relevant documents at a glance. We also provided a "history" facility which tracks files and records most recently visited, so staff working on multiple enquiries/contracts can easily switch between them.

Document Management Software: A key requirement was to incorporate a file and document management system. A number of documents and correspondence is required at each stage, so automatically producing these with information already held on the system saves considerable time and improves accuracy.

Staff can design their own templates in Word, standardising layout according to company convention. Staff also design the templates for XL spreadsheets used for quotations. The Microsoft Access job management system integrates with Google maps, and other online tools as appropriate.

As CC Ground's requirements were both industry specific as well as specific to their own work flow processes an off-the-shelf Job Management database was not an option. The new system helps staff manage the complete process from receiving an enquiry, through quoting/tender, to job completion. Document management ensures quick and easy access to all information, and provides traceability throughout all stages.

Prior to involving PC Access in the development of our contract management database, the software was tiresome, unreliable and frustrating to use. The access based program that Tony developed for us removed all the bugs and gave it a fresher feel.  Our whole office now uses the software to manage all our quoting, clients and project requirements.  With the integration between Access and the Office documents, everything is filed accurately and efficiently.

I would highly recommend PC Access, Tony listened to our problems and came up with some straight forward but highly effective solutions

Mark Carden, Director, CC Ground Investigations Ltd