A client of mine in the landscaping industry had a manual process defined to send out maintenance contract renewals every year. There were over 1000 customers that required the office employees to manually reference last year's contracts and write out a proposal to mail to a customer. There were three possible forms that needed to be filled out for each of their customers, with certain customers requiring multiple forms to be completed. My client researched multiple canned solutions, but nothing existed that could be integrated into their workflow at the time.
I worked with the client to build an application using Microsoft Access that automated much of this process. The three forms required for their proposals were digitized into Access Forms. The employees could fill out the form, save the data, and use a custom report that mirrored the previous physical form to perform one of the following operations;
- Print the document to mail if required. Each user is also able to customize the printer they wanted to send to.
- Generate a PDF and attach to an Outlook Email using VBA integration. An email template was also configured to pre-populate the recipient and a standard message into the body. The message was then presented to the user to add or remove detail as necessary.
The first year this was implemented required the employees to manually enter the information referenced from the previous year's hand written proposals. Copy and Archive were added so that creating new proposals that referenced the previous year required a single button click, and historical data was kept for reference.
The Access Application was broken into a front end and back end so multiple users could use it at the same time.
We were able to take a process that originally required several weeks of manual work and reduce it to several days.