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Offline Porforis  
#1 Posted : Monday, December 3, 2012 1:16:30 PM(UTC)
Porforis

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I can't think of the correct term (Close to configuration management but not quite), but our company's looking for a system with which to efficiently document various known-working product configurations - basically, what parts have been actually tested with what other parts and what is an "official" product build. Up until now it's been done in an excel spreadsheet which doesn't lend itself well to maintainability, and it's extremely hard to implement complex tables and the like in our internal wiki.

In a perfect world I'd like a system where you could enter a part number or product name into a search box and be linked to all known product configurations using said part. Which I think is technically possible using our antiquated inventory and payroll system, but it's extremely far from user-friendly. This would be possible in a wiki if you made a page for every part, however if you ever change a builds, you'd need to manually edit any affected products' pages to reflect the changed builds.

I thought I'd poke and see if anybody's used such a system before or could at least let me know the technical term I'm looking for to assist me in my search - at the moment our company is in catch-up mode after years of terrible documentation, and while we've been saturating our wiki with information, the more we go on the more time it's going to take to maintain the wiki as products change and new products are built.
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Offline PackFanWithTwins  
#2 Posted : Monday, December 3, 2012 2:57:40 PM(UTC)
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Sounds like you are looking for some flavor of Product Management program. There is probably one out there, but they vary.

If you track them with Excel, some small Database might do the trick if somebody had programming ability.
The world needs ditch diggers to Danny!!!
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Offline Porforis  
#3 Posted : Monday, December 3, 2012 3:16:49 PM(UTC)
Porforis

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Originally Posted by: PackFanWithTwins Go to Quoted Post
Sounds like you are looking for some flavor of Product Management program. There is probably one out there, but they vary.

If you track them with Excel, some small Database might do the trick if somebody had programming ability.


A lot of the information we're looking to organize is already in a database, unfortunately the program to run queries is barely more user-friendly than having to run manual SQL queries - We've already developed a web-based frontend for this system for time-logging purposes but I don't think IT is going to want to devote the time needed to create a similar frontend for this purpose.
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Offline PackFanWithTwins  
#4 Posted : Monday, December 3, 2012 6:51:59 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Porforis Go to Quoted Post
A lot of the information we're looking to organize is already in a database, unfortunately the program to run queries is barely more user-friendly than having to run manual SQL queries - We've already developed a web-based frontend for this system for time-logging purposes but I don't think IT is going to want to devote the time needed to create a similar frontend for this purpose.


My best guess, again without knowing exactly what you are dealing with and what really looking for. Is that what you want is going to be something that is going to be custom.
The world needs ditch diggers to Danny!!!
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Offline 4PackGirl  
#5 Posted : Tuesday, December 4, 2012 12:06:30 PM(UTC)
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WTF? Think i'm sure you're speaking some form of the English language but...i'm just not sure!!! Confused Shrug
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Offline Pack93z  
#6 Posted : Tuesday, December 4, 2012 12:32:09 PM(UTC)
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Platforms? I assume SQL 2005 or 8.

What types of products are we talking about... single level bills? Tiered?

Is this just a management tool or is there a need to tie it into a order processing platform?

Do you want the interface to be web driven, client based?

Or business here is a tier bill of materials for residential and commercial windows.. we use a configuration driven Q&A with the options tied to multiple choice questions.. stock verse custom. Each question will drive the bill for the related choice.

From the engineering standpoint, all parts are maintained in tables, pulled with scripting logic. But a simple query can pull back all parts and where they are used in the configurations based on product type and option.

All parts are kept in a single item master table with all purchase, stocking and costing information.

I think when there's enough will and aggression, there's no shortage of talent either.

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Offline Porforis  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, December 4, 2012 1:58:56 PM(UTC)
Porforis

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Originally Posted by: Pack93z Go to Quoted Post
Platforms? I assume SQL 2005 or 8.

What types of products are we talking about... single level bills? Tiered?

Is this just a management tool or is there a need to tie it into a order processing platform?

Do you want the interface to be web driven, client based?

Or business here is a tier bill of materials for residential and commercial windows.. we use a configuration driven Q&A with the options tied to multiple choice questions.. stock verse custom. Each question will drive the bill for the related choice.

From the engineering standpoint, all parts are maintained in tables, pulled with scripting logic. But a simple query can pull back all parts and where they are used in the configurations based on product type and option.

All parts are kept in a single item master table with all purchase, stocking and costing information.


This wouldn't (need to) be tied into an order processing/inventory system. This is strictly for purposes of documenting tested and approved part configurations, web-based would be nice but not 100% necessary since this would be for internal use only. What irritates me about this is that we've already got the data, it already populates to a SQL database, and developing a web-based frontend to run specific queries for specific uses isn't that hard - it's just not something anybody wants to dedicate any time to (yet, until they overhaul the whole system). Ideally it'd be a completely desperate application, but the more I think about it the more I think it wouldn't be the end of the world to halfass it in our wiki until they overhaul our entire inventory and billing application and develop a web-based front end for it, which supposedly will happen Juneish.
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