Reporting System

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The Reporting System window from the Reports menu item in the Job List window


Purpose & Function

This section of the P3 system allows you to run reports from your database of Jobs, Bids and Projects. The Reporting System was significantly upgraded in September 2009.

To understand the Reporting System the user must understand the types of data that are being reported on. These include: Jobs, Bids and Projects.

  • Jobs - the job records represent purchases you make with the P3 system. This includes the amount spent cost tracking data, quality data, scheduling and other job production information. The job records also include cost saving data for your purchases. These cost savings are calculated based on the bid amounts but for each job there is only one savings in amount.
  • Bids - the job bidding records represent each quote provided by suppliers so there may be several bidding records for each job. These bidding records are used in two ways. They're used to calculate savings amount, and they are used to evaluate supplier bidding performance. Bidding performance includes measurements of how quickly suppliers reply to RFQ's and how a suppliers pricing compares to their competitors on a job.
  • Projects - the project data includes information on proposals and invoices sent to customers. This section of the Reporting System allows you to generate reports on the volume of proposals going out to customers and billing volume. The proposal records also have one or more jobs associated with them. So, a total of the job costs associated with a project can also be generated and compared to the revenue generated by the project.

The Reporting System design is extremely flexible and comprehensive. The system contains a default set of standard reports. However, users will probably want to customize these reports to meet their specific organizational needs. Once customized, reports can be named and saved for later use. The saved reports are a common resource for all members of an Enterprise Group. That is, they are shared among all users in the Enterprise Group. The Reports menu at the top of the window contains options to Save Current Report Settings and Delete Selected Report.

The Reporting System Window

The Reporting System window is divided into three parts, the Select Report controls at the top of the window and two tab-panes, which occupy the majority of the window. The Select Report controls are used to select any one of the standard default reports or a customized report that was previously saved by a user. The tab-panes are used to customize the selected report. The first tab-pane labeled Record Selection, Sorting & Grouping is used to determine which records are selected for your report and how they are sorted and grouped. The second tab-pane, labeled Report Data Column Selection, is used to determine which data columns appear in the final report. Since there are a large number of available fields, this function is very important.

Initial Start Up

When the Reporting System is initially started, the main P3 system checks to make sure the latest changes to your job and project records are captured in the reporting database. Jobs and projects that have recently been modified will need to be scanned for updated data. Once scanned the data is stored in the reporting database until the job or project is modified again.

The Database Menu

The Database Menu items from the Reporting System menu item in the Reports menu in the Job List window

The automatic check for new updates should keep your reporting database up-to-date. The menu options give the user tools for long-term maintenance and repair of the reports database. These options include tools for:

  • Updating the database from your job and project files. This is the same function that runs when you open the Reporting System window. The user can specify how far back the system should look for updated job and project files.
  • Purging old records from the database. This function erases older job and project data from the reports database. Reporting performance can be improved by eliminating older records that are not currently needed for reporting. The older records can, if necessary, be added back into the reporting database using the Update function. Typically this will not be necessary.
  • Reloading the database files from permanent storage. This function simply rereads the database files from their permanent storage location.
  • Rebuilding the database from your job and project files. This function will erase the entire reporting database and then re-scan all the job and project records going back to a date specified by the user.
  • Viewing database record counts. This provides some useful information about the number and types of records.

Selecting and Running Reports

Selecting and running existing reports is very easy. The user must first Select Report group and then the specific report using the option lists at the top of the Reporting System window. Once the report is selected, the user clicks the Run Report button to run the report. The user will then be prompted to select a report format, either HTML or .xls spreadsheet format. The report will then be generated and displayed in either the users default browser or spreadsheet program.

The reports are grouped into five categories:

  • Bidding - these reports are based on individual supplier bids for a job.
  • Production - these reports are based on job records.
  • Project Invoices - these reports are based on project records and examine issues related to project invoices.
  • Project Proposals - these reports are based on project records and examine issues related to project proposals.
  • Suppliers - these reports focus on supplier performance. The bidding report is based on the bid records submitted by the supplier. The production report includes only those jobs a supplier was awarded and is based on those job records.

Record Selection, Sorting & Grouping

This tab-pane is fairly complex and equally powerful. it is broken up into five separate sections. function of each of the sections described the window itself and below:

  • Data Source: The Data Source indicates the type of records used for the particular report. The filtering, sorting and grouping controls adjust for the data fields available from the various record sources.
  • Filter Records: The Date and Category filters allow you to select a narrower set of records for your reports. Typically, you'll want to select a date type to narrow the selection first, then use a category filter (or grouping) to get data on a specific category of data.
  • Sorting Records: The sorting fields allow you to sort the records you have selected by specific data elements. Number data sorts numerically. Text data sorts alphabetically. And, fields with enumerated values (e.g. Job Status) will sort in their display order. Also note the sort direction can be reversed by selecting the "Descending" check box.
  • Grouping Records: If selected, the data grouping option will split the selected records into sub-groups and provide sub-totals for each group. When a data field is selected as the grouping field, it appears in the left-hand most column of the report, regardless of where it appears in the list of selected data fields. Please note: when a date field is selected for grouping, the data records will be grouped by month.
  • Show Details: This is a small but powerful option when unchecked only the group totals and grand totals are shown, which can make a very clear and concise report.

Report Data Column Selection

This tab-pane controls the actual data columns that appear in the report. The list on the left shows all the "available" data fields that can be added to the report. The list on the right shows all the data fields that are "selected" to appear in the report. Between the two lists there are two buttons one for adding data fields to the report and one for removing data fields from the report.

The order in which the data fields appear on the "selected" lists is important. That is, the order from left to right that the data fields will appear in on the final report. The order of the selected data fields may be manipulated using the Move Up and Move Down buttons at the bottom of the "selected" list.

Third-party Reporting Systems

The reporting database files are stored as simple tab delimited text. These files can easily be accessed by third-party reporting systems such as Crystal reports and Microsoft Access. To update the data files for use by other systems, the user just needs to open the Reporting System window, and the system will automatically check for updates to jobs and projects. Contact P3Software support for more information on the nature, structure, formatting and object data in these files.

Copying Data to Other Applications

The HTML format of the P3 system reports makes the data very easy to transport to other applications for further analysis or format customization. Use the "Select All" (Ctrl+A) command to select all the data in your report and then paste it into your spreadsheet program or word processor. With the click and drag you can select smaller sections of data also.

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