Prototype development for a procurement and electronic document management system

Evans, Darryl (2011) Prototype development for a procurement and electronic document management system. [USQ Project]


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The purpose of this project is to design a prototype for a system that will increase business efficiency through improved electronic document management, improved
procurement management and automation of repetitive tasks. This prototype is functional and is used as the primary system at present, with a view to develop it into a
dedicated piece of software. The only software that could be used for development was the Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac package or any standard software that exists as part
of the Macintosh OSX snow leopard operating system.
The system consists of three main parts

1. File management system
2. Procurement and vendor analysis system
3. Task modules

The file management system was developed using the Macintosh OSX file browser, ‘Finder’, as its backbone. The file management framework was developed using a template approach to promote consistency in the filing process.

The vendor analysis system was developed using Microsoft Excel. It enables the user to manage the contact details of all vendors, the status of all quotes and automatically
perform simple analyses on quotes. In addition, it also performs reports statistics such as exposure, opportunity, adjustment and coverage.

The task modules are pieces of computer code written using the Applescript computer language. There are five modules:

1. New job. This automates the job registration process.
2. Close job. This automatically moves old jobs from the active job list while maintaining the functionality of all hyperlinks.
3. Update folders. This automatically creates folders within the file framework that match the package names in the vendor analysis system.
4. RFQ. This takes the contact information and bill of quantities from the vendor analysis system and automatically drafts a request for quote letter. It then
automatically drafts an email and attaches the request for quote to it.
5. Return RFQ. This module reads the returned quote and automatically enters the prices into the vendor analysis system.

Opportunities to use different parts of the system have varied considerably. The file management system, new job and close job task modules have been used several times
with promising results. Jobs are now registered, filed and stored in a consistent manner and may be done so by any staff member quickly.

The vendor analysis system has been used in practice twice. The system was very successful and proved to be a powerful tool for reporting on the procurement process.
The system was designed to provide information at the end of the process, however, it was found to be extremely useful for progress reporting.

The RFQ and Return RFQ task modules have not been used in practice as yet. Alpha testing gave hopeful results as far as the speed and accuracy with which this information
is handled and transferred.

It is too soon to realise the full impact of this system on business efficiency. More data will need to be collected over a number of jobs to confirm the preliminary results in this paper.

This project can be expanded further to
• Include a database for storing various vendor and job information
• Develop a method that will notify vendors when new jobs are available and allow them to retrieve documents and submit quotes online.

Chilli Project Services are investigating these ideas.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Agricultural, Civil and Environmental Engineering (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Supervisors: Thorpe, David; Casley, Toby
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2012 01:07
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2013 01:29
Uncontrolled Keywords: electronic document management, procurement management, document management system
Fields of Research (2008): 09 Engineering > 0905 Civil Engineering > 090599 Civil Engineering not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 40 ENGINEERING > 4005 Civil engineering > 400599 Civil engineering not elsewhere classified

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