There is something really cool about having inside knowledge on something. In video games, it could be a glitch or strategy to beat a boss. In sports, it could be a technique that gives you a slight advantage over your opponent. On the ERP side of business, you would be surprised how many little secrets there are that could save you time, money, and headache. You would be even more surprised that some of these secrets might be something you already own…

One of my favorite hidden gems is Microsoft Access. Some clients utilize this program heavily, some use it as a supplement to an existing system to drive themselves forward. Before we talk about what it can do for you, what is it?

Let’s make it really simple. Access could be seen by you as a cross between SQL Server and Excel.

Now, it is far more complicated than that in its capability and functionality, but to the user, it can be user-friendly and empowering. I can sit here all day and tell you it’s a very powerful tool, but instead, lets talk about some specific usage that you might be able to implement with Access.

Reporting

One of our personal favorite ways to empower our clients is through proper and custom reporting. Access can handle live connections to your data, which can be funneled and organized into reports that YOU want to see, not what your ERP software thinks you want to see. Some examples of great reports that we have done are AR Aging, Inventory Usage, Sales rollups, Purchasing, MRP (Material Resource Planning) and many, many more. These can be formatted to look like actual reports too, not just Excel- like datasheets. Another great user feature here is that we can create custom menus customized as a visual switchboard that can be organized and categorized however you like.

Custom Table Management

One really cool use we have done with Access is using it as a method of managing data in custom tables. Some of our clients had data that just wouldn’t fit anywhere into any fields in their ERP system, so they wanted to create custom tables with custom data. What we did was create these tables in SQL Server alongside their ERP database, and then used Access as an interface. The interface can be altered to your preference as well. Some businesses might prefer using an Excel-type datasheet view. Others prefer a custom made form that displays the fields out one by one in a form format.

Manual Data Entry

Ideally, manual data entry shouldn’t have be a part of your business. However, we understand not everyone is quite ready for that kind of hands-off automation. One thing we have done for clients is create a Data Entry form that allows you to enter data you would like in your ERP system. Click submit, we do our magic, and your data entered is now in your system, just like that. One highly attractive aspect of this is the ability to create and update data that may be on multiple screens in your ERP system, but we can consolidate it to a single, data entry screen in Access. Fewer clicks, one place to enter the data.

Custom Data Analysis

One nice thing about Access is that you can export your SQL Server/ERP data to Access in a non-linked format. This is highly powerful because you can take data out of your live system, make changes, and see what kind of effect these changes would have on your numbers (through custom Access reports!). Access makes data analysis super easy for testing scenarios on your data. With macros, reports, and datasheets, Access can help you make plans for future adjustments with ease.

Is Access right for you?

At this point, if your imagination isn’t overflowing with ideas that you could use Access for in your business, it might not be right for you (we think everyone could use it in some way, but the time might not be right). However, that doesn’t mean we can’t help you where you are and with where you are going. We have the ability to be creative with a plethora of different solutions. We have worked with dozens of various ERP software and we are always mastering new software/solutions. Let’s take what might be puzzling you and create something painless and beautiful.

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