Marsh’s Motors is a new motor company that has opened in Ormskirk just over 5 months ago. The company is primarily a garage that deals with MOTs. The garage is owned by Don Marsh, and there are three mechanics that also work there. The garage currently employs a paper filing system to keep records. The system is used to store details details of customers customers and how their motor vehicles have faired in the MOTs performed. The data that is colleted is; details of the customers name and address, the make and model of their vehicle, the date their next MOT is due, and how their vehicle has performed in its MOTs. This data is written onto paper and put into a filing cabinet. Mr Marsh feels that this system is inefficient as information gets misplaced and it is getting complicated sorting the data with the growing number of customers. Thee co Th comp mpan any y woul would d be bene nefit fit fr from om us usin ing g a co comp mput uter er syste system m to de deal al with with th thee information they have, as it would be more efficient and time effective than using a paper filing system.
I have identified two tasks that could be carried out to provide a solution to the problem: -
A database holding the customers details
A database holding details about the cars and how they have performed in their MOTs.
There are also other tasks that could be carried out. For example, creating an invoice system.
Using a computerised database would be a good idea for the company. This is because databases can hold vast amounts of data and provide flexibility and speed. Databases also have many advantages over other storage systems. For example, it is very easy to change the structure of a database, whereas it would take a lot of work to
change the structure on another storage system. Access to the data in the database is very quick, and validation checks can be performed on data as it is being keyed in. There Th ere are are also also some some disad disadva vant ntag ages, es, th thee main main on onee be bein ing g th that at da datab tabase asess ca can n be complicated to use so detailed user documentation would need to be produced. There are two types of databases, flat-file and relational. Flat-file databases are simple and can only store information about one thing. This means that they are not flexible. Also, in a flat file database typing out data can become very repetitive, as da data ta ne need edss to be ke keye yed d in ev ever ery y time time th thee us user er wi wish shes es to ad add d ne new w in info form rmat atio ion. n. Relational databases do not store everything in a single file, but stores data in several files. These files are linked by relationships between them. Using a relational database means data does not have to be typed out every time, thus saving time and storage space.
The new system will: •
Hold the information from the paper filing system on a computer Hold data efficiently
Allow the user to edit and update data when needed
Organise the garages information effectively
Allow the user to sort the data into a given order and find a particular customer
When the project is complete I will refer back to these bullet points to see how successful I was in creating the system.
ICT requirements of the new system The new system will require: •
A base base unit unit – This This is requ requir ired ed as it co cont ntai ains ns th thee pe peri riph pher eral alss su such ch as th thee motherboard and processor. These components are needed for a computer system to run. The components would need to be of reasonable quality and specification. For example, a machine with at least a 500mhz processor would be required so that applications do not run too slowly. A machine with less than this would still be acceptable but would run slowly and could could be unstable.
Keyboard – A keyboard will be required for the system. This is because the keyboard is probably the easiest way to input data into a computer. It is also the most universally recognised input device, and most people would not have trouble using one.
Mouse - A mouse is the device that controls the pointer on the screen. In modern operating systems a mouse is seen as the easiest way to navigate around the system. A mouse is also the easiest device to use for most people.
Monitor – This is required so that the user can see what is happening on the computer.
Printer – A printer would be required for the business so that the user can print out information that he or she requires. Such information could contain results of searches or could simply be printing off documents from the computer.
Operating system - An operating system is a program that is used to control all of the hardware on a computer. Programs that are installed on the computer run throug thr ough h the operating operating system. system. If an operat operating ing system system is not installed installed on the computer, the hardware will not work. There are various operating systems that could be used. Windows 98 and ME, are probably the most popular because of their ease of use and availability
Software – Only basic software would be required for the system that would be used at the garage. Such software could include integrated packages including a word processor, a spreadsheet and other programs.
One must also assume that the persons that would operate the computer system are not advanced computer users, therefore the system would have to include detailed instructions for use.
Thee most Th most po popu pula larr pr prog ogram ram th that at is us used ed to creat createe da data taba base sess is Micro Microso soft ft Access. This is because it is versatile and fairly simple to use. Access is also available
to me both at home and in school. This means I will almost certainly create my system on Microsoft Access.
What could solve the problem? Database for customers
As customers are the most important factor of the business it is very important to store their details safely and in the correct manor. For instance, if a customer had already given his or her details to the garage and they were misplaced, then it may cause inconvenience to the customer and cause then to look elsewhere. When creating a table in a database the data that each column holds needs to be relevant to its function and arranged in a sensible order.
For the customer database I am going to use the following columns. The first column would be entitled Customer ID, and would be a primary key. A primary key is a field that is unique to one record only. It can be used to distinguish between two records in the same table. The customer ID will consist of a letter “y” followed by the last to digits of the year. E.g. 02, followed by a random 3 digit integer An example would be y02176. The second column will be named Surname. This is the customers Surname and is obviously required so that the garage knows who the customer is. The next column is forename, which again is obviously required. The fourth column will be entitled ‘Preferred name’. This is a name that does not have to be given by the customer. Using a preferred name can help to build good customer relationships. For example, if Robert Smith was known as Bob at the garage then he would feel more like a friend than a customer customer when he brough broughtt in his motor vehicle in. He may then show customer loyalty loyalty by coming back again. Although this is true, some customers could feel offended by staff calling them by their forenames so the customer would only supply their preferred name if they wanted to. The next columns are about where the customers live, the first of these being house number. The next column would be
street, which means the street the customer been put into separate columns to allow the user to filter out all of the people who live in a particular street. For example, if the user wishes to find out the customers that live on Liverpool Road, then he or she can simply filter out these records but this would not be possible if house number was in the same field. The town that the customer lives in is the next column. As the garage is located in Ormskirk I would expect most of the customers to live in Ormskirk but some could come from surrounding towns such as Aughton or Skelmersdale. The next column is named Phone Number, and includes fields in the format 01695 555555. The final column is E-mail, and would be linked to the Internet via a hyperlink. This woul wo uld d allow allow th thee ga gara rage ge to se send nd ou outt E-ma E-mail ilss to cu custo stome mers rs wi with th ne news ws of speci special al promotions or to simply inform them of when their MOT is due. lives on. House number and street have
Database for cars In order for the company to know which car belongs to which customer, I have decided to use the customer ID number mentioned earlier to link both tables. This means a customer’s ID number will be the same as the ID number in the car table for their car.
Reg no Make Model Engine size Year Mileage Tax mot fuel