In 2000 I started at the bottom as an employee and now I am currently one of the owners of a small cnc machining company in WI. We recently split our company into 2 locations in 2 separate towns. We are pretty much a service company and have always used purchased software to track our time on each job. When we split our company last year the software we were using at that time became even more painfully slow than it already had been. We had contacted the company and they told us that was normal. I had already been using the data we collected through their software to create the custom reports we wanted in Access and thankfully at some point I ran across your video's on YouTube and decided to build our own database. Thank you for creating your company and all your video's! It is a great service to people like me who want to learn! Because of your teaching I (someone who did not go to college or have any classes on access) have been able to build a split database that works better for us for our needs than what we were using and I look forward to learning much more! So many small businesses could benefit from Access and unfortunately they don't even know it! Seriously...Thank you!!!Read More...
I hear that a lot... people who had older database systems grow out of them all the time. Access is a great platform to switch to for a small or mid-sized company. And then when you grow out of that, you can switch to SQL Server on the back-end and still keep your Access front-end. I appreciate your kind words. Thanks!
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A little about me, for years I have played with Access and become adept with Excel, all self-taught at night. I have an accounting background and an MBA in corporate finance. I am currently the CFO and Operations Manager for a small manufacturing company with only 46 employees in NYC. Our ERP is Microsoft Dynamics NAV (now call Dynamics 365 Business Central https://dynamics.microsoft.com/en-us/business-central/overview/ ), which is awesome and very powerful, but simple tasks like data retrieval, simplified forms and customized reports for many less savvy users is very difficult. I have been following Richard's Youtube channel for years but only became a full member a few months ago. It's been some of the best $ we have ever spent on software and I wanted to take a moment thank you for everything and briefly explain my usage of Access. Developed a few very simple databases. I was always amazed by its simplicity, but never learned anything beyond the absolute basics (I didnt think I would ever learn VBA). When I would ask others in the database programming world, if Access was good, I always got the response that it was nothing more than a toy for small businesses and couldnt handle large data tables. So for years, I never thought it would be worth my time. During the downtime from COVID, I started to think, how can I use this time to help what other people in my company have been complaining about for years with our ERP. Now, I have been able to do so many things with Access now that I would have otherwise had to pay huge development fees to our ERP developers that charge me $250/hr. I have developed an Access DB (with linked tables to our SQL based ERP), thanks to you, with tons of customized forms and reports. Though we don't allow any data entry via Access (for many different reasons but most are related security and triggers in the ERP that would otherwise get bypassed by Access), the vast majority of the users only need it for data retrieval and analysis. I have also developed another Access DB that is available to our traveling sales force and whose table are imported automatically from TXT files (exported from the ERP on a schedule). The next step would be to somehow publish the sales reps DB online so they can access the data via a browser instead of RDP for only a laptop. Every day or so, I am adding new features to both Access DBs, all thanks to Richard!
I would like to tell you my story with access as you are involved with it. I hope you read it. LOL! I will warn you it is lengthy, but I think it is worth it.
I retired in 2014 and took a break from Access for a while. Which is why I hadn't logged in since then. I never totally abandoned it, but I took a break from the daily grind. I used to work for the Michigan Department of Corrections. Yes, I used to be a prison screw. Hahaha! Read More...
Our agency used the WordPerfect Suite but switched over to Microsoft at around 2003-2004. A coworker of mine was a programmer in the Navy and wrote an extensive application in Paradox for a prisoner call out, prisoner work and payroll system. Long story short he was not happy with the change to Microsoft. He created a small access database for his Classification job. Access was challenging for him. At that time, I was able to make copies of his legacy Paradox application and his Access database. I took them home, figured out how to get the Paradox db to work, and literally went through both apps to try and figure them out. Needless to say, I got bit by the database bug. I love it, even to this day.
I taught myself many of the basics of access and started to tinker around and over a rather short period of time I was able to start making basic databases. I knew I wanted to do more but I had to step up my game a lot because security on our server was a joke. With the help of Google, Access gurus in forums and people like you, I can thank all of you for being an integral part of my last 8-10 years before retiring.
Using many of the things you taught me, along with others, I was able to to secure an office job from 7:00-3:30 creating office documents in Word and small databases in access, and I'm some instances, exports to Excel. The first database I made was for our facility Locksmith. Then onto some others like Tool Inventory, Hazardous Material Inventories, Housing Unit database for unit managers and prisoner caseloads. All of which were secured, as well as, split into frontend and backend. I learned how to use a comma delimited text file from Central Office to keep the database up to date with prisoner lock information. I learned a lot in the use of VBA, and I did so much more but I am trying to keep this as short as I can.
I had an idea to take on a much taller task, at least for me. I wanted to create a database for our facility which would ditch the pencil and paper approach for taking prisoner count. Staff used to take count using a preprinted count sheet and write the prisoner's numbers who were out during count, total it up and sign. Count sheets were walked to the Control Center Staff in Control Center would have to cross reference prisoners who were out of their cells during count, with prisoners at work locations (Food Service), school, or in the hospital. Everything was done by hand.
I had to learn many things in order to accomplish this task. Create Individual logins for every staff member. Split the database. Create three different databases to connect with the back end. Housing db for Out Counts. Assignment db for In Counts. Admin db to reconcile the count. Ability to show prisoners unaccounted for. To archive for potential disciplinary action and retake certain counts. Was able to take a 5060-minute process and lower it to 20 minutes. It used to take 20-25 minutes just to reconcile count and their jaws dropped when it only took 2 seconds to reconcile and another minute to print all the count sheets. Yes, they still wanted paper retention, at least until they changed their Operating Procedures.
That took me to the big leagues, so to speak, and it is all owed to folks like you.
What I mean by the big leagues is I was tasked with duplicating my database for ALL 32 prisons in Michigan. Of course, no two are exactly the same, but the same process was used statewide. I worked with our State Technology Department creating folders and permissions on all facility servers across the state and giving me access to them so I could address and fix issues and push updates when needed. I was able to create updates so when I pushed a new version, it would update the old version when they opened it.
This revolutionized and moved the Michigan Department of Corrections to the computer age. The department put computers at ALL officer stations and ALL officers were given computer access with logons and passwords. At first, most hated me, but life got easier for them, so they allow me to live. LOL.
It branched from there. I trained a handful of staff at all facilities, many in seminars, and they then went on to train the staff at their respective facilities.
Before they burned me to a crisp, causing retirement (lol), I created a meal tracking database where prisoners would scan their ID cards for their meals and the db would log their number and lock (housing unit and cell number, plus other info). The system would check for double backs and assisted food service supervisors with meal forecasting. They claim it saved them millions per year. Not to sure if it is true or not. My last major app was a Voluntary Overtime Equalization, which allowed staff and supervisors to sign staff up for voluntary OT and allow supervisors to maintain a mandatory OT list. It used to all be done by hand, on paper and there were many errors. The system tracked and calculated hours and allowed staff to track their own hours and see when they were due to be mandated, which happened a lot.
I went on to receive the Directors Office Award and the Professional Excellence Award in 2012.
Prior to my exit I worked with Central Office to write my databases into their "big boy" database. Lol.
Sorry for being so long winded but I wanted for you to know how you not only inspired me, but you taught me a lot and I appreciate all you do. I will forever be great full and indebted. The MS Access family is the best. I have heard you say in some videos when those who deal with the SQL Server, Oracle and others don't look at Access as a real database. I beg to differ.
I will sign up for your silver or gold membership soon and contribute back to you for all you have done for the little guys like me.
I retired to Sebastian, FL in 2015. Maybe one day I could come your way and buy you lunch.
That's an awesome story, Duane. I love hearing from students like you who went on to make awesome projects with Access! And yes, definitely, the next time you're in the Fort Myers area, lunch sounds great. :)
Brent Davis 8 days ago
Awesome story Duane!!! I too would echo your sentiments about Richard. I am not and never will be a developer. I am a sales representative. I wanted to learn and I needed better access to information, pun intended. So I started watching You Tube videos and ran across Richard and his Tech Help videos. His teaching style is the best by far!!! I have learned so much over the past year about data and how it can be used to make me a better prepared and organized salesperson. My calls are better, my insight on how to provide solutions to customers has been enhanced! But most importantly it helped me LEARN!! And for that I am grateful! What you are doing here matters!! And I think you for the avenue you have provided to share your knowledge so others can LEARN!!