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Office / Exchange Collaboration

By mferrel ·
Have MS Exchange 5.5 and Office 2000 at disposal. Need to set up an automated scenario to accomplish the following:
- Sales fill in job info; customer info; type of product requested; color; amount; date to be delivered, etc.
- This info is automatically sent to MFG; ENG; ACCT for approval
- If anyone cannot approve for any reason (price, parts availablity, ship date...etc), Then the original must be automatically sent back to MFG; ACCT; ENG; SALES with the rejection, the reason why and ammendments (ie. can't ship by the original ship date of 11-2-2000 but could do it by 11-14-200)
- MFG; ACCT; ENG; SALES must again aprove/disaprove. If disaprove above process repeats,etc. if approved a final form representing the approved date is sent to everyone.

Dows this require Exchange scripting? (I have 0 experience with that), combo of Outlook folders and a word or excel doc? What steps need to be taken?

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Office / Exchange Collaboration

by micahsdad In reply to Office / Exchange Collabo ...

1. Before developing this I would look for a package that does what you want. Must be hundreds out there.
2. If you really don't want to purchase software and want to develop it yourself
a. You can do everything using what you have. You will need to use the exchange routing wizard. Get the mspress book Programming Outlook & Exchange by Thomas Rizzo. Also www.slipstick.com has many resources for Outlook/Exchange Development.
b. Be warned that anyone running your application will need at least128M ram and PII 230+ processor or it will run like a dog. To improve performance use VB to write com addins rather than simply use Outlook Forms design. Outlook Forms design is easy but they are pretty inefficient.
c. Write the script in Access and then cut and paste into the O2K script editor (which is just notepad). Also, back up your forms to disk. If you screw one up, you have to start again.
c. If you use a DB with Access, use MSDE rather than the Jet DB. You do this by creating an Access Data Project. MSDE is a cut down version of SQL 7.0 which has a limit of 2GB. As the advantage of stored procs etc.
d. Before you start invest in Office Developer Addition. The extra tools etc will save you time.
e. Use word for printing from Outlook. If you email me I can send you the code. Set up a template and create bookmarks with the Outlook Field names. Then code is simple, and available from slipstick.com.

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Office / Exchange Collaboration

by mferrel In reply to Office / Exchange Collabo ...

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Office / Exchange Collaboration

by kelsaidi In reply to Office / Exchange Collabo ...

No you need not Exchange Scripts. You need to know few things:
1) Outlook 2000 Form Creation and Pubblishing
2) Public Folders
3) Moderating Folders
4) Some VBA
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And it's simple to create:
1) Create a public folder that will accomodate all requests and answers approved or rejected
2) Assign moderator to that public folder from within the reciepients of exchange server
3) create the form to use, publish it and assign it to the folder

That's all waht you need
Good Luck

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Office / Exchange Collaboration

by mferrel In reply to Office / Exchange Collabo ...

Object is automation not moderation

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Office / Exchange Collaboration

by DAO251 In reply to Office / Exchange Collabo ...

Yes, this DOES require Exchange Scripting & Routing, as well as Custom form programming. That's because some things have to be done without users logged on. Moderated folders and Folder rules have too poor functionality for your needs.

A good point to start is www.cdolive.com

I would suggest when you cover this first need uising CDO & Outlook, you would need more and more features for every piece in your business workflow (tracking, .

I believe you have to consider purchasing a complete workflow solution like:
www.compaq.com/expeditor
I have no idea how much it is though. There are some more workflow solutions based on Exchange:
http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/thirdparty

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Office / Exchange Collaboration

by mferrel In reply to Office / Exchange Collabo ...

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by howardhenderson In reply to Office / Exchange Collabo ...

I agree with ComputerDude - this certainly seems like at the core a database application with email capability to be added.

For what you've described, the database portion would not be too complex. Depending on how fancy you wanted to get, you could get by with just a table for job orders and a table for customer info.

Maybe a third table for 'conditions' - i.e., 'parts aren't here now', 'everything is OK, but push ship date back 2 weeks, etc'. Pushing these records to a third table would allow you an detailed 'audit trail' for approvals as each job runs the gauntlet among all the departments.

Sales would fill in the job orders and customer info.

Access wizards could guide you through creating the reports necessary to let your users see which jobs are waiting on their input, which jobs are active, closed jobs, etc. This simpler approach to reports would put the burden on your users to actually run the reports to see what they need to respond to as opposed to automatically notifying them.

If you really wanted the automatic notification, I agree that VBA for automatic email message generation would be the way to go.

Doing it this way, the actual records remain in one central location for all to see - in the database. I think your reporting (especially as time goes on and you want to develop historical reporting) will be much more easily done through database facilities.

Managing all this through Exchange could be done, but I consider Exchange's strong suite to be in the messaging arena - not records storage.

IMHO,
Howard H.

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by mferrel In reply to Office / Exchange Collabo ...

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by mferrel In reply to Office / Exchange Collabo ...

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