When you look at the qualities required of the filing system, it seems that a computer program would be the best choice. For example, data capture sheets would take time to make by hand, whereas on a computer, it would take hardly any time at all. Also, it would be extremely hard to keep everything in order if a manual system was used. If a computer were used, it would be very hard to mix things up without being able to fix it easily. Finally, a manual system would be hard to change once it was some information was entered. Say someone’s address or name changed, it would be much easier to change the records if they were stored on a computer.
The following data flow diagram shows the garages current manual filing system:
So what will I try to do? Well, there are many types of things I could include, but these are the ones I will include:
* Vehicle Database
This would be the core of the garage’s computer system. It would contain information on certain cars, normal things like engine size and transmission, but other things, such as size and known problems.
* Worker List
This would be a very useful part of the system, as it allows the workers to be able to tell who (out of the mechanics available), is the best for a certain job, such as on a van or a people carrier or a normal car.
* Customer Database
This part is equally important in the whole project, as it involves the known clients of the garage. It allows the workers to see who has been to the garage before and link problems if a person returns.
* Spare Parts List
A garage can only function if it has enough pieces to repair the cars with. This database shows what spares are used by the garage, how commonly they are used and how much they are.
* Specialist Garage List
A garage can’t always do a job if it doesn’t have the right tools or men to do the job, so the garage needs to be able to recommend the customer somewhere else where the correct requirements are fulfilled.
Each of these different functions may be using a database. If so, I may link the tables, for example, I could link spare parts and vehicles so the mechanics could find the full specs of a car they need a spare for. When I test the system, I will go into each section and try everything I put into it. I will also (If I link the tables) try to get into different tables from different records etc.
The various files need to have different properties and properties in order to fulfil their various tasks. These would include:
* The new system has to have a way of collecting information of customers etc. The best way would be to use a data capture sheet for the customers to fill in. These would be collected back and the information stored in the new system.
* These data capture sheets would ask for things like age, address, car, phone number an other things the garage needs to keep a tabs on the customer and to be able to give them a efficient service next time.
* There will probably be more than one set of information to go through, so their needs to be an effective way of choosing the right set of information e.g. Customer Information, Vehicle Statistics, Mechanic Information.
* It will also be required to be able to search through the records quickly and efficiently. This could be by labelling certain sections of the records or by something similar.
* Their needs to be two main ways of accessing information with the new system. The first needs to be in a list form. This way the information can be quickly read and would be extremely useful if say only one piece of information is needed from the customers record.
* The second way needs to be as individual records. If there are many records at a time (as in a list), it may disturb your eye. This way each person has an individual section with his or her info.
* The filing system itself needs to be easily accessible and easy to use. It is no use having a system from which nobody can get the information that is needed quickly and easily.
* The system needs to be able to be changed easily. Say if a customer or car is just introduced to the garage. The information needs to be able to be added to the system without a lot of hassle.
My files all need different field names and data types. In the vehicle database, I will use a combination of both text and number data types, as I will have things such as models, makes and drives (which will be text) and lengths, widths and heights (which will be number). I can also include gearbox, engine size and other measurements. The worker list will include things such as name, telephone, speciality, training and availability, most of which will be text. The customer list will include the regular things such as address, postcode and telephone, and the specialist garage will be similar, but will include what they are good at.