I am researching into whether Base can be used to suit our needs. We are a small manufacturing company, building products that require recording of build measurements/data during manufacture. Our high precision products need accurate records of lots of aspects during assembly. We call these our build cards.
Currently, we use an Excel spreadsheet to create a template for the build cards with lots of inputs for the Build Technicians to input data. The spreadsheet becomes a standalone file containing all data pertaining to that build. So we end up with lots of individual spreadsheets of data…but not interconnected (well not very well). We do some meta-analyses of the data, but it involves using “trick” ways to pull data out of all the individual files.
Maintaining the template and updating all the live build cards is an enormous task, involving duplicating current build cards, creating a new replacement if the template has been updated and then copy/pasting all data from current to new. I can hear you all groaning already…
Of course for a long time, it has been realised that the right way to do this is to use a database to store the info and utilise forms as the data input “front end”.
So my situation is that I need to see if we can achieve the following:
- Have a single database that records all these measurements.
- Have a Front-end user input form for the build technicians to use during build to enter data (must be simple and fool proof)
- Allow multiple users to have multiple copies of the form open simultaneously, all writing data to the database concurrently.
- Preferably have a file based system (as in files stored in a network location) although running a database server (e.g. MySQL) not out of the question…its just that I would need to get IT involved in that
I envisage creating a Form with all the required inputs, that the users then all open from the same source, presumably read-only, but doesn’t matter as they don’t need write access to the form itself, just the ability to use it to send data to the database. This way as we update the form (new/modified inputs) there si only one form to maintain.
A big way I want it to work is that the user opens the form, selects the serial number of the product they are working on, the form is populated with any data already entered and they can then carry on entering more. I have achieved this with a single database form/db file, but I am starting to realise this only works for one user at a time. Its the “getting it to work for multiple users on a LAN” bit I need help with.
What form do I give to the users? Its needs to be very simple and foolproof. Do they need to all install LO to use a form?
Sorry if this is an opinion based question and I hope I have got across what I am trying to achive but I am not sure which terminology to start searching for and don’t want to go down a route that is not suited to what I want to achieve and waste time learning the wrong thing.
[I have “hobby-level” experience with MYSQL and PHP/HTML style data entry, so am looking at it from that POV a bit]