After the initial gathering, the first thing I do is jot down all the pieces to what I think will be in the system. For a project like organic farming, and learning what Donna wants to track, these are the pieces that I came up with, in no specific order. Some of these will be the modules or primary sections of the database.
- Contacts – this is where every person and company is maintained. Anyone that has anything to do with the farm will be entered here, from customers to employees to vendors, etc. All the pertinent information needed to contact the person or company as well as describing who they and what they do and offer is recorded here.
- Costing – this is where all costs are tracked, everything from seeds to labor. There will be a hard goods section as well as a labor/hourly section.
- Fields – this will identify the field and will track preparation, crops, rotation, weed/pest control, fertilization, harvest and yield. This section will be linked to costing and sales in order to determine pricing, costs and profits for each field. This section will also be linked to Plants/Crops in order to pull in information about the plants being grown in specific fields. The plant information will be used to determining growing season, fertilizer, weed/pest control, etc.
- Plants/Crops – this is were all the information for each of your plants is stored. Here you will define the plant, where to purchase, how to grow, how to maintain, etc. This will also be tied into costing and sales to determine the cost and profitability of each type of plant/crop. To be used in sales, the market and use options will be stored here as well.
- Sales – this is where all sales activity is tracked, everything from who to sell to, how to sell and where to sell. This section will keep track of your orders, invoicing and delivery.
- Budgeting – this is where all the planning, forecasting and pricing takes place. We will develop something similar to the Excel examples you provided here.
Those are the main sections as I see them at this time. I know I’ve been delayed in getting this off the ground, but hope this information is helpful. Donna, let me know if I am missing any of the main sections.
Next, I’ll dive deeper into each section and define some the items and fields that I think are important.
This is part 2 of a multipart series, see Getting Down and Dirty – Part 1 for the previous post.