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We need a web based program to help us a our small production plant. The program will help us calculate production quantities, retain delivery information and will help us invoice our customers.
We are looking for a web based system that will help us manage a small production plant. The idea is to stream line our day to day processes into one simple interface. The system will be managing routes, production levels and invoicing.
Routes: A route is a path taken by a driver that consists of many delivery points.
Delivery Form: A delivery form is a hand written form that the driver fills out on every delivery. Each customer has a delivery form. A new delivery form is filled out every week. The delivery form allows the driver to keep track of all the deliveries and pickups for the week. Please see attached copy of delivery form.
I have outlined the process of product delivery, production and invoicing below. Note that I only mention one product delivery but in reality we have about 15 different products. The process we follow in the delivery of these different products is the same. Most stores only buy the most popular item, but others will purchase all of the different item types.
1. Data entry Clerks enter all the "delivery form" information for the previous week into an excel spreadsheet. There is one hand written "delivery form" and one Excel spreadsheet per customer. The delivery form is filled out by the Drivers and then turned in to the Data Clerks at the end of the week.
2. The data clerks transfer the data from the delivery form to a spreadsheet that helps them invoice the customers. It also helps the production supervisor to generate the following weeks production levels based on the previous weeks sales.
3. The production supervisor starts early reading all the data that the data entry clerks inputted for each customer. There are over five hundred spreadsheets that they open (one per customer.) They quickly overview what has been delivered so far in the week also taking into account what was delivered last week. That helps the supervisor determine how much product he will produce for each customer. The current production process allows for a 10-15% return rate, but we often see a 30-35% return.
4. The production supervisor records the quantity of product that is to be produced for each store. He separates the customer orders by route.
5. Production starts producing the orders based on what the supervisor provides to them on a print out. The production is done by routes, so all of one route is produced before moving onto the next route.
6. The product gets loaded onto the delivery trucks. Drivers arrive in the morning and take the truck that corresponds to their route. Each truck represents one route.
7. Driver arrives at the store and counts the quantity of product that didn't sell. He notes it on the "delivery form." He then counts the product they are leaving. The store manager/ owner then verify the order and sign the "delivery form."
8. The driver then continues to the next customer and follows the same process until the entire route is completely delivered.
9. At the end of the week the drivers turn in their delivery forms for each customer and the data clerks enter all the data into the spread sheets.
There is some customers that by product once a month or possibly once a year. We need to have a quick order input screen that allows us to manage these types of orders. Some customers will call into the office and request an increase in the usual delivery quantities because they got a special request form one of their customers. These quick orders sometimes directly affect the production quantities for a particular route. So the quick order will go directly to the routes production quantities. Some orders are handled separately from the scheduled route production. So in essence we have another route that is handled separately with miscellaneous orders.
What I think is the right solution:
We want a web based application that will allow the drivers to enter the quantities delivered and picked up for each store. Since the quantity is already determined (at the time of production) there is no need to have data entry Clerks at the office. We will eliminate the human error possibility at that stage. The driver by default should see the production quantity when delivering the product. If any changes need to be made the driver can do them on the fly when delivering. We need some way of keeping track of these manual changes some way. The quantity picked up will be entered manually by the driver. Sometimes no product is picked up. All of the data will be captured in a tablet (android based possibly) or with an iPad type device. We would like to be able to place a "location tag" at each customer site that the driver would "scan" (possibly using picture technology to read a standard barcode or 2D barcode) to identify the customer location. That would allow a date/ time stamp on the invoice and will also identify the customer so the driver doesn't have to look through a pull down menu to identify the customer. The date/ time stamp would be created when the driver "scans" the "location tag" placing the time and date on the form. The terminal would connect via our cellular network or we can also settle for an offline solution that the driver would sync once they return back to the office.
1. I think we can make a system that will dramatically increase efficiency by just automating the production quantities for the day. Considering that the drivers are already noting how much product was delivered and how much product was picked up there is no reason why we need to then enter that data again at the office if the delivery drivers are somehow capturing the data on a PDA or Tablet. The fact that we have to reenter the data alone is creating the possibility for more data error. We need a system that will automatically transfer all the data being captured to a database so that we can keep better records. Currently the data being captured on Excel is not being used to calculate production amounts. We only keep two weeks of history or else we would have thousands of spreadsheets. Even if we did keep all the history in spreadsheets it would be almost impossible to get someone to manually analyze the data and calculate accurate production quantities. On the other hand if we are capturing the data in an electronic format and dumping it into a database we are able to keep all the history in the database and we are able to use that history to calculate production levels. As more history is captured the production levels will be more accurately calculated since we can use same time last year data to calculate levels of production.
2. If the Production Supervisor requests too much product for a store then it isn't sold and it turns to waste. By analyzing the data we will be able to quickly determine the appropriate quantities to produce and as we collect more data then we can accurately produce appropriate amounts.
3. The application needs to support digital signature. The customers sign the delivery forms every day product is delivered.
4. The application needs to handle barcode reading or RFID tag reading for "location tag."
Attached are three images.
1. Delivery Form: This is an actual delivery form that we used for one of our customers.
2. Invoice: The invoice that was generated from the delivery form.
3. Quick Order Invoice: This is an invoice that was created for a customer that does not normally order product.
If you look at the delivery form and invoice it reflects orders for two different products.