600+ Hours Saved Per Year with Access Database Upgrades
Case Study Summary
In the defense industry, fixing, maintaining, and upgrading military hardware can be a complicated process.
On the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, it required a large team to manage this workflow for a specific set of hardware. To keep track of everything, an older, but sophisticated Access database was being used.
Over time, many features in this Access database had become obsolete. While the process had changed over the years, the database had not. There were lots of bugs, inefficiencies, and problems, causing a lot of headaches.
A significant overhaul of the database was required, and I was in charge of the upgrades.
Overall, the upgrades reduced manual effort by over 30%. In addition, we were able to fully automate several time-consuming steps.
Consequently, this effort saved over 600 hours per year, as it made the team far more efficient.
Military hardware is built with some of the highest engineering standards. This is required due to the rigorous environments it operates in. However, there's always a need to repair, maintain, and upgrade this hardware.
In the defense industry, keeping military hardware deployed and operational requires a sophisticated infrastructure. There's always equipment being returned, serviced, and then re-deployed.
For a specific set of hardware components on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, managing hardware returns required a large team and a complex process.
At the core of this team's workflow was an obsolete Access database.
This database had been developed many years ago, and the workflow process had changed many times since. In addition, there were lots of bugs and issues that had accumulated over the years.
As expected, the team was experiencing lots of frustrations due to these issues.
In essence, the database required a major overhaul. Not only to bring it up to date with the team's ever evolving workflow process, but to make it a lot more efficient.
As a division level database and automation expert, I was the lead developer for the upgrades.
Our team started off by fixing all existing bugs and issues that were causing the most frustrations.
Next, we re-designed the forms and reports to streamline the process. Our priority was to significantly decrease the number of clicks and the amount of duplicate data being entered into the database.
It's amazing how extra clicks really add up over time. They can become very costly.
We also developed multiple VBA scripts to fully automate time consuming steps. These scripts can do hours of work in seconds.
Overall, the upgrades reduced manual effort by over 30%.
In addition, it saved over 600 hours per year. The project also eliminated the majority of human errors.
It was an incredible project that had a significant impact on the program.
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