Organise daily reports
August 26, 2009 3:22 AM   Subscribe

Help organising complex, daily changing list

Basically the task is to prepare a list of information related to a series of people. Each day new people will come along and be assigned to a leader, each person may stay for one, two, three days or longer but there is quite a high turnover.

Each person has a series of information that needs to be recorded and detailed notes under about six different categories.

At the end of every day, a document is prepared to pass out to all team members with this updated information on, and the leaders also receive a document with just there people on it.

At the moment this is being done in Word, but seems quite a long winded process. Does anyone have any suggestions of a better method of updating and providing this information
posted by trashcan to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Maybe something like Keynote, a tabbed notebook?
Here's a screenshot.
posted by leigh1 at 4:49 AM on August 26, 2009

The main question before proceeding is how structured your updated and original information is. Do you think it could be collected with a form?

Beyond that, this type of task in business is generally automated with some form of either Business Process Management (a formal process for ensuring consistent, quality work with a process that is formalizable - i.e. sufficiently repetitive that it could profitably be automated or semi-automated).

A technology that can help automate a formalized business process (after the heavy lifting of BPM analysis is done, you should have a good idea of this technology-based approach is a good match for your process) is generally called "workflow", wherein some application helps keep the ball rolling and ensures timely responses from folks responsible to keep the business process moving (usually by sending automated reminders and making the current state of the information as close to optimal as possible for the next person in the chain to proceed with).

For less rigorous approaches, you may be able to leverage something like Google Docs, which can provide forms for use with spreadsheets. It's also possible to tweak Word, for instance, into importing (close to real-time) data from spreadsheets or Access databases. All of this is assuming the information is structured enough to fit well in a spreadsheet or database.

Unfortunately without a lot of details about your data and a lot of time to interview your colleagues and do a proper analysis, I can only provide you with generalities from this approach. But these would be the starting points. Hopefully other folks will provide you with a less general answer. :)
posted by kalessin at 4:52 AM on August 26, 2009

unfortunately capture cannot be done on computer,
posted by trashcan at 6:24 AM on August 26, 2009

How big an operation are we talking about?

Normally, there are ways of capturing data for later computer/word processing entry, but the startup costs are usually pretty steep and involve things like computer/human transcribing.

If the documents you're generating are for a small set of recipients, you may not really be a good candidate for making the process more efficient. The front-end effort may be too costly.
posted by kalessin at 9:19 AM on August 26, 2009

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