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Author Topic: The inventory control question again...An idea..  (Read 11725 times)

Riley Casey

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Re: The inventory control question again...An idea..
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2006, 01:00:13 pm »

I've semi quoted your wish list Geri as an example of just how the variables of different business models make such a project so complex.  We do mostly industrials these days, work in a large urban area with alot of corporate / government clients so tracking client billing info is vital to us.  We mix and match gear combinations for EVERY show.  The whole concept of an A rig and B rig are long dead here.  On the other hand we have gone into digital consoles and digital drive racks heavily so that once a rack is packaged there is a big resistance to breaking anything out of it so grouping items is not a big issue.  Personal booking is really crucial for us since we are constantly juggling multiple crews and trucks each day.  Trucks NEVER stay onsite ( every truck is a threat in Washington DC - one of our drivers had a Capital police officer pull his gun yesterday because he decided that an empty case in the van was an ammunition box. )  I suspect that a one size fits all solution would very minimal or quickly out grow itself.

We are currently using a Filemaker based system that I built six years ago.  If anyone is using Filemaker and wants to go down that route I'd be interested in exploring it too.

Geri O wrote on Tue, 19 September 2006 21:20

I'm sitting here struggling with my home-made paperwork of inventory tracking, repair tracking, and show schedules, and what a mess. There's got to be a better way, so I've come up with an idea.

  • a database of all of the equipment along with the ability to group together items (such as an FX rack or amp rack)
  • the ability to "book" an item or groups of items under two categories, either "show" or "rental", with the booking showing up in the database as "unavailable"
  • A repair-tracking setion would be helpful (what the gear is, what's wrong, who's repairing it, tracking numbers, status in the inventory, etc.)
  • For our needs, it doesn't have to have the value or depreciation listed
  • A "preventative maintinence" schedule would be cool, but not necessary.
  • It doesn't need accounting capabilities.
  • Personel info would be cool, but not necessary, as would trucking.


Geri O


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Shaun Wexler (MacFOH)

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Re: The inventory control question again...An idea..
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2006, 01:08:15 pm »

I've had this in development for over a year...  stay tuned.
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Pete Thurston

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Re: The inventory control question again...An idea..
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2006, 01:12:55 pm »

My very first thought was that this could be easily designed in ASP.net and set up as an online instance.  Since it would be written based on the .net framework, an executable version could be created as well for Windows.  That way someone could have the "full" version at the warehouse for entering new stuff and managing the app.  The online instance would be accessible from the field, but it wouldn't make sense to be at a gig entering in new gear that was just delivered to the warehouse, etc...  

I think it's a great idea, and very marketable.  If the "wish list" ever makes it to a clear and concise set of requirements, I'd be happy to take a look and see what I can find the time to contribute, app-wise.  I do a bit of coding on the side and this is quite interesting.

The other thought is that if the entire app were to be designed in ASP.net and forget about the executable "full version" app, it would be completely cross-platform.  Anyone with a web browser that can understand ASP would be able to use the application.  Might be the smart way to go about it...

Just my thoughts...

.pete.
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Jason Phair

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Re: The inventory control question again...An idea..
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2006, 01:22:23 pm »

Pete Thurston wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 13:12

  The online instance would be accessible from the field, but it wouldn't make sense to be at a gig entering in new gear that was just delivered to the warehouse, etc...  





However, it could be used for on-site repairs, and failures.  Sure, you won't forget if you blow up an amp to put that on the show report, but what if you have a bad cable?  The "tape over the end" system only works so well, and it's an item that's easily forgotten after a long show/loadout/drive away, and can be costly if that item is then shipped off to the next day's gig without having a chance to be checked in.  A real-time ability to "red-flag" items could be a showsaver.
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Jason Phair

Riley Casey

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Re: The inventory control question again...An idea..
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2006, 01:27:03 pm »

One consideration that goes against a web based app is that if you don't have web access you don't have your data base.  Locally served data in something like Filemaker can be portable in that you can take copies off your server for use on show site.  The data runs on the client app on your laptop just as it ran from the server.
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Pete Thurston

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Re: The inventory control question again...An idea..
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2006, 01:48:19 pm »

This is true to an extent...

You could always make the "full version" in ASP.net and have it call from a local database on the same computer.  Then you can replicate the database to the web server anytime you want to make sure that everyone in the field or your other office has the same data.  That part would be VERY complicated with multiple users, though.  Making sure you're not overwriting other folks' changes, etc...

I think keeping it simpler would be better.  Maybe just building in a "database back-up and restore" functionality so that you can back up your database, restore it to your laptop and head out the door then restore FROM the laptop when you get back if you've had to note any bad cables or hours/miles logged, etc...  Basically not supporting multiple users/offices in the first release would probably make things a LOT easier to get off the ground...

.pete.
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Iain_Macdonald

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Re: The inventory control question again...An idea..
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2006, 02:45:39 pm »

Geri,

An English version of EasyJob was recently released. It has some interesting features.

http://www.protonic-software.com/us/home/uebersicht/iUebersi cht.aspx

Somebody has already started an Open Source project on Sourceforge. But it seems to have gone nowhere! Not unusual.

http://sourceforge.net/projects/warasto/

Iain

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Jack Arnott

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Re: The inventory control question again...An idea..
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2006, 03:29:00 pm »

Hello Geri,

I think that the hardest part of implementing this project is that it is not a DIY, like the lab sub was, after the initial design. And how do we compensate the person(s) doing the work.

That said, I'm all in. My requests:

1) In the version of Quickbooks that I now have I like being able to do an estimate, and then if it comes to fruition, change it into an invoice. I would like something similar here. Maybe something calender based that would warn you if you have proposals pending that might cut into your inventory.  

2) In making bids I would like to be able to drop in single pieces, subsets (like a speaker system, or amp rack), or entire systems. I would also like to be able to save systems, like a known system for a certain customer or performer.

3) I would like to be able to bid by my own algorithm. IE, for me I usually do it by labor, gear, and expenses. So an edit screen where you can choose what items come up for bidding.

4) A labor pool to choose from, and drop in. Again calender based, maybe one that is interactive online so subcontracted labor can let you know if they are available or booked.

Good luck, Jack Arnott
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Pete Thurston

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Re: The inventory control question again...An idea..
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2006, 04:08:40 pm »

To All -

I just got back from a lunch with a few of my developer friends here at the day-job.  There is a high level of interest from two of them who I know would be able to put out a great project.

Once there's a concrete set of requirements, they're both quite interested in taking it on.

I don't know how much folks would be willing to pay for an application like this, but it didn't seem like they were AS concerned about financial aspects as they are about a new project to sink their teeth into.  I know they'd want to sell it, but what would you, as a business owner/operator, consider a fair price for a turnkey app to do all this for you?

.pete.
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Geri O'Neil

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Re: The inventory control question again...An idea..
« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2006, 07:45:11 pm »

Believe me, Jack, I'm all for a paid version of the program for the person or persons that write it. I would suggest that the writers make a time-limited trial version for the community to drive around the block. But, no, I certainly don't expect someone to invest several hundred or thousand hours and not get compensated for it.

The one reason that I suggested that accounting be left out was that a lot of folks might be in my shoes where the boss on the mount, errr, in the office already uses Quickbooks plus he has a system for proposals and bids which I have little if any part of (nor the desire). I need an "audio warehouse" way to manage inventory and the logistics of shows and rentals. We might consider the "module" idea of having sub-programs such as inventory, trucking, personel, accounting, etc, however many we'd want to build and each purchaser buys the modules he needs. I kinda wonder about the difficulty of making the modules interact together once assembled, but that's for the programmers to decide on or not. Another idea is that I see two sets of needs appearing here...One for the owner-operator kind of guy where he's the boss, pencil-pusher, gear-loader, and truck driver all in one. The other is the guy like me...doing everything EXCEPT booking shows and signing checks (more details that I want no part of... Twisted Evil )

I'm really interested to see what Shaun is coming up with. In fact, Shaun, is that all yer gonna let us in on??? Very Happy

Geri O

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