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Repair tracking software


#1

Hi All,

Anyone have any suggestions for repair tracking software for a small
contractor doing jobs for just a couple of stores? Doesn’t have to
be too elaborate. I’d just like to keep track of what I’ve done, when
I did it, and what I charged. I’m mildly computer literate. Any
suggestions would be appreciated.

Robert Wise


#2

Oh another note on the subject Microsoft Dynamics NAV line has
launched their e-jewlery software as well. It has some useful
features inventory mangement, manufacturing processing module, etc.)
but is really geared towards retailers and mid-to large scale
concerns.

Here again if you are looking to expand and applying for loans and
other funding and need concise ERP (enterprise resource planning)
reporting then this may be the answer for you, depending on how you
feel about microsoft in bed with the jewelry trade…the main feature
I find useful but reproducable in my own business is the “building
inventory by creating item cards”- the item cards are then used to
make catalogues, create sales and marketing media, and offer
customisable solutions to customers that want the off-the-rack
settings with a few details changed from what the masses buy.
Cookson’s uses it, if that helps indicate the scope or size of the
companies it appeals to most. There is also a Process module for
jobbing that is mostly what you are seeking, but if you also want to
keep track of your precious gemstone inventory, metals, buying and
manufacturing, as well as tracking costs, figuring commissions and
fractions of commissions between clients, sales people and vendors
etc. and need E D Iinterface then this may be more all around useful
to you then the Service Central software that is more jobbing
specific. I must say for a retail or storefront business with many
clients and vendors and a large or even mid-size inventory and more
than four people on staff then this is pretty well all inclusive
software that does everything you ever wwanted and more and if you
travel to shows or do volume custom work again, this is greeat
stuff… One thing that is outstanding though is the client management
feature:

This software generates “credit limit warnings” which we found very
useful in some instances and with certain clients that have a
tendency towards excessive late payments while ordering more services
and/or merchandise - It was far easier to let the software deal with
them as opposed to having to do it myself or delegating it to one of
our staff members. Since everyone is pretty non-confrontational
around here this software deals with the less finacially responsible
clients in that objective anonymous electronic way that makes the
computer indispensable in business in my opinion.

there are also a few other useful features like BOM substitutions in
making quotes as it updates the costs for you and generates invoices
that reflect the substitutions that have been agreed to in the fine
print of contract forms (things i never thought of in my years of
making legal forms for the jewelry trade) and applying credit memos
to invoices and back orders to reduce commissions due (dastardly but
maybe why some big business thrives… things we never thought of in
managing customers and sales and marketing staff fairly!). While
there are alot of features that go beyond what it sounds like the
scale of your operation is (i. e. creating invoices with an image of
the item on it) it is fully useful but again overkill if all you need
is strictly manufacturing repair and jobbing tracking, nonetheless
microsoft’s NAV e-jewelry shouldn’t be left out of the products you
check out as it is more deluxe than most of the jewelry trade
targeted software out there and more comprehensive totalling more
actually useful features than the competition. Again, no commisiions
here for noting this, i just like the suite for myself and have
recommended it to many of my business start-up consulting clients so
thought it worth a mention since software was the point of your
question…rer


#3

Hello Robert,

We tried Service Manager’s Repair and Return Suite for a while (an
eval copy / trial from the author). It is customisable and great for
all phases of repair from the moment the customer drops it off
through the repair and finishing process to payment and return
processes- but we found a spreadsheet that took us about three hours
to design and then graphics up a bit did the same thing and cost a
lot less in the long run. There isn’t anything reasonable for really
small scale businesses unless money isn’t an object and if you also
need inventory management then there are a few suites that do it all
( service manager being the best we tried out). Below are the
features off of the return and repair suite’s front page on the
disc…as usual i have no connection with the company nor receive any
funds from promotion, i just tried it for a mid-size organization
and found it to be overkill compared to what you can do yourself
since you would also have to customise any of the software we looked
at anyway. In the same amount of time you can build your own
spreadsheet type application and using some open source financial
related software to manage monies , and free barcoding templates to
bag and tag the incoming items build your own application in a day or
less. Nonetheless if you want to check it out Service Central is the
authoring company:

http://www.servicecentral.com/returnandrepair.aspx


#4

Jewelry Shopkeeper is used by many shops and you can buy for a few
hundred $$ to buy just one section of it.

http://www.jewelryshopkeeper.com


#5

Robert -

I would use a spreadsheet, such as Excel (not the only one, just the
one I know the name of; also, it comes in both Mac and PC versions).
In the workbook, make separate tabs (or pages) with the name of the
store on it. Then decide what data you want to keep track of, these
will become your column headers. (Who, what, why, when, how much?
Perhaps better designed as When, What, Why, How Much? The ‘Who’ is
the tab/page, so it’s obvious who you did the work for.)

Example: You resized a ring on 22 January for Ma & Pa’s Jewelry, and
charged $50 (it was quite a ring!). The page (who) would be “Ma &
Pa’s Jewelry”.

Date (when) = 01/22/2010,
Item Description (what) = fabulous ring w/2 diamonds and 3ct emerald,
Repair Instructions (why) = resize from 5 to 8,
Price (how much) = $50.

A spreadsheet will easily allow you to sum a total, account for a
quantity discount, things like that. It’s not hard to add new
columns if you wish, even if you started with bare-bones information
collection. Spreadsheets tend to be inexpensive and not terribly
confusing.

However, if you see your needs growing to link multiple accounts,
create special reports on data (example, how many rings did you
resize in the month of June for ALL accounts, broken down by
account), then you will need a database. Databases are not very
friendly programs no matter how well written. They tend to be
expensive and can be hard to set up. No programmer ever thinks the
way you do about your data, so you will have to tweak whatever you
get.

My recommendation is to use what you have. If you’ve got the
Microsoft Office Suite, then you already have the spreadsheet Excel.
If you don’t have it, there are freeware, shareware or low-cost
alternatives on the internet that are just as good.

If you need a visual on the example I used above, let me know and
I’ll send you a screenshot.

Good luck,
Kelley Dragon


#6

We use numbered job envelopes, available from most tool suppliers as
well as anywhere office supplies are sold. We set up a simple
spreadsheet on Excel with a tab for each account, and use the
numbers from the envelopes. There are a few companies writing
software for this kind of thing, but for the most part the small
trade shop can easily live without it.

It is helpful to assign a cell on the spreadsheet for where in the
shop the job is at any given time, especially if you have more than
three or four different places a job can be. Looking for a job while
a client is on the phone can be very frustrating and can give the
impression of a lack of professionalism. Being able to pull up the
account and find out in an instant who has the job, what its status
is (like waiting for parts) and when it will be ready is really
helpful. Being able to say “we delivered it last Thursday” without a
pause is priceless.

Dave Phelps


#7
I would use a spreadsheet, such as Excel 

Not only good advise from Kelley, but good advise for other
purposes, too.

Excel is a most useful program… I’ve read a good book about all of
the large programs I’ve used - every version of Windows, too. I’d
suggest getting at least some knowlege about how Excel works, because
it can do a lot, plus there’s lot’s of shortcut features, too.
Example: Type “1” in a column, go down to the next box and type “2”.
Shift-select them both and then as you drag down the column it will
fill in 3,4,5,6, etc. There’s a lot of stuff like that. I’ve heard it
recommended elsewhere, too: Use a real database for when it’s needed
in earnest, or when you have a million records, otherwise use a
spreadsheet. It’s WAY easier, searchable, manageable. I made up a
metals price sheet (14k,18k/oz., /gm, /dwt) in a few minutes by
putting calculations into the fields. That is, if one doesn’t want to
spring for a vertical market program… Real Handy…


#8

The idea of using an Excel spreadsheet for record keeping is great IF
you are not a total computer dummy like I am. Is there anywhere that
one can get a pre-made template to use? I have tried to make one, but
after spending some time trying to get it right, I just gave up. Any
help would be GREATLY appreciated…

Teddy


#9
Is there anywhere that one can get a pre-made template to use? 

Teddy, just Goodle “excel templates” and you’ll find hundreds for all
sorts of purposes, many are free. You still need to know SOMETHING
about Excel to use them, obviously…


#10

If you don’t have Excel then look at Open Office - Google it on the
web… Virtually the same as Microsoft Office suite but FREE,
constantly being updated and with some features MSOffice doesn’t
have… At least that way you are not just putting more money into
the hands of those who already have too much and seek to create
monopolies in their products so that they get even more!!

Ian