Creating a database - Mr Parkes wishes to have a computerised order processing system.

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RS Supplies in London is a small business which specialises in the import and export of specialist medical equipment for hospitals as well as for other independent businesses. At the moment all orders have to be processed manually including invoices as there is no order processing system. However, the clientele is growing and Mr Parkes wishes to have a computerised order processing system. He has a computer which is used for typing up and storing invoices, but feels that a computerised system for processing orders and producing invoices is needed.

User Requirements

Specifically he would like a system which will:

  • Hold details of customers and stock;
  • Process and calculate orders;
  • Print and store invoices;
  • Hold and check customer payment details


Initial Investigation

Mr Parkes was interviewed to find out more detail about the proposed new order processing system.


Any orders for £10,000 or less will have been paid in advance by customers, and an invoice will follow the payment. Orders for more than £10,000 require instructions from the customer, therefore  in invoice will be sent to the customer and the payment will follow this.

Supplier orders and payments

The ordering of products (stock), and payment for them, will not form part of the new system. This will be handled manually by the user.

Integration with existing system

Each month a record of all payments from customers (in the form of invoices) will be stored in an archive file. This file will be deleted after being copied to an archive file in the existing system. This process will be repeated at the end of each month.

Hardware and software

Mr Parkes currently has a Pentium 3 500MHz PC with 64MB RAM, 10Gb hard disk and an inkjet printer. He uses Windows 98 as the operating system and has Microsoft Office XP installed on the system. This hardware will be sufficient enough to implement a system.

The new system will be developed on a college network and on a desktop similar to the one described above. All files will need to fit on a 3½” floppy disk for easy transportation between home and college, and some files may need to be compressed. The college network uses 800MHZ Pentium Dell PC’s with 128MB RAM and are connected to both a laser and inkjet printer.

A comparison of available solutions and software packages can be found in the Design Section.

User’s skill level

Mr Parkes uses his PC for word processing and calculating orders as well as using the internet and E-mail. He is familiar with Internet Explorer, Word and Excel, but has never encountered Access.

Data flow diagram

The following data flow diagram illustrates the process of entering orders, invoicing and payments

Objectives of the new system

The system must perform the following functions:

  • Allow customer details and orders to be entered and edited easily and quickly
  • Allow invoices to be calculated, created, stored and printed
  • Allow payment details to be entered and stored
  • Security of data via passwords and backup of data
  • Allow the user to search for specific products
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Performance Indicators

The following are performance indicators:

  1. The system must be flexible and versatile enough to hold any number of orders/invoices for a particular client.
  2. Invoices should be calculated and printed in under 2 minutes.
  3. The system should backup the information quickly and must be accessible easily.
  4. It must take no longer than 10 seconds to search for a particular product.
  5. It must not take longer than 5 seconds to search for the details of a particular customer.
  6. The system must be able to allow the user to contact a client for any purpose ...

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