Posted by Lucy Beck on February 20, 2014Project Summary: A well known electronics and manufacturing company based in Manchester, UK. The business is a member of one of the biggest electronic group based in Japan. Their organisation is a worldwide electronics and manufacturing company, with sales in over 100 countries. Their range of products includes business machines, telecommunication products and machine tools.
The UK subsidiary is based on the outskirts of Manchester and also serves as European headquarters. It provides sales, marketing, technical support, warehousing and distribution and customer support call centre for all UK customers. It markets a versatile product portfolio including, Colour & Mono Laser Printers, Fax Machines, Multi-Function Centres, All-in One Inkjet Printers, Word Processors, Typewriters, Labelling Machines, Sewing Machines
The ChallengeSince the firm was a subsidiary of a larger enterprise, they received all technical product data via a master spreadsheet issued on an ad hoc basis from Japan. This spreadsheet contained technical details of several different products for different regions. The data from the master sheet was manually compiled into product-specific sheets. Such product sheets were a necessary intermediate to producing various output documents required for each product model. The master spreadsheet changed from time to time as updated details were released from Japan. A change history was included within the sheet; however, it was not always complete or accurate and so could not be fully relied upon.
They were in need of a solution that would remove their reliance on the intermediary documents and allow seamless updates of data along with quick generation of output documents. Their basic requirement was to establish a central database system based on their standardised format within which they could consolidate the product data. The challenge was to explore and suggest the best way to create a well-structured and scalable system for the company in order to accommodate the different product models with no restrictions on the number of products or details that can be stored in the system. The system also needed to be flexible in terms of organising the product details for different output documents and allow one click generation of up-to-date output documents.