Developing a Bespoke Operation Web System for CD Surveys Ltd

We create functionality that enabled CD Surveys Ltd to remove the old written whiteboard job boards, with 6 new, fully automated, digital job boards.

Bespoke Web Operation System For CD Surveys Ltd Thumb, by Chris Watterston

The project first started in 2015, after CD Surveys Ltd moved from Guildford, into their brand new offices in Sunbury-on-Thames. During the move, naturally, network infrastructure, system and work stations were updated, resulting in the new office running more efficiently - but the only flaw was that their operations database, which was not updated from the discontinued, ancient version of Microsoft Access. This resulted in slow operations and limitations. Something had to be done!

Project goal

Our goal was to implement a brand new operations system which would not provide limitation, but still allow us to use our original data pulled from the previous Microsoft Access database. This meant that the data had to be exported and manipulated to run on the new system. The system that was chosen, was going to be a bespoke Web App, built from the ground up using PHP and MySQL. This would allow us to effectively push the boundaries in terms of functionality and user interface (UI) - which we all loved!

We were able to create functionality that enabled CD Surveys Ltd to remove the old manually updated written whiteboard job boards, with six brand new fully automated digital job board displays. These new digital job boards pull information from the MySQL database, in a clear and human readable way for both site and office staff. This also allowed us to automate daily job schedules, custom for each member of staff. This has changed everything in the way jobs are recorded, scheduled, completed and invoiced.

Process and research

The process started with Nathan, a fantastic man, taking on the task of exporting the existing database and making it compatible with MySQL, allowing us to continue with the development. This proved a challenge for Nathan, because the existing database was continually being used and updated, meaning that the data had to be continually adapted for MySQL.

Features

The list of functionality and features that the operations database provides is continuously growing. This currently includes; - Digital job boards - Current to Last month overview comparison dashboard - Won, Pending, Office and Accounts process reports - Semi Client Relations Mananager (CRM) - Job and Client details data recording - Invoice creations and reporting - Invoice client unpaid automated email reminders - Weekly automated email outstanding invoices, expired quotes, won jobs, etc. - Work in progress reporting - Top clients and feedback reporting - Job enquiry and efficiency reporting - Staff holiday request system, with management approve process - Vehicle tracking and data reporting and more...

Conclusion

To date, this project has been exciting and challenging. Creating functionality such as creating invoices that are then programmatically sent to the accounts department via an external SMTP. This is a project that will never be marked as complete, we will continue to improve and grow the system, enabling it to become a highly valuable part of CD Surveys Ltd.

I’m very excited to see what the future brings.

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