A customizable logbook for motel clerks.
February 5, 2012 5:55 AM   Subscribe

I've been doing some research for my boss for a fully customizable logging system to be used by a set of front desk clerks at several motels. Thus far Sharepoint and CMSes like Django are what I am coming up with but I thought I would ask the hivemind for ideas. Lots of details are inside.

It's not for reservations or to balance/operate cash registers - it's a logbook. It's to record daily take, employee timekeeping/attendance, and periodic events such as pest control, laundry service, and anything else that might happen. Most of these events have money attached - a service provider is paid - but not all. It needs to be simple and easy to train employees on - excel and access forms could do this job, but might be confusing to less computer literate employees.

The employee should log into the system using their personal account, and see a simple, easy to use page with buttons which they can click and a simple form appears where they can enter the relevant data and click OK and then move on to the next task.

The system will record when they come in, the drawer count, going for breaks, and the take at the end of the day. Special activities like pool cleaners, pest control, gardeners and laundry service coming in and being paid, payments from petty cash and the like, etc. need to be recorded as well, and will need their own forms, perhaps on a second page of buttons because they're not used as often.

This needs to be customizable, either by senior staff or by a hired coder at the beginning, and new forms will need to be added and altered as procedures change or new events occur. There need to be fine-tune-able permissions - employees shouldn't be able to see information about the timekeeping of other employees, for example. Senior staff should be able to put notices in the system that an employee can see when he or she logs in - for example, a notice of a fire drill today or a reminder of the arrival of a large convention group.

From the senior staff end, it is important that the data came out in a format that was easily applied to Excel workbooks or Access databases which we can build, or that the software has its own reporting facility built in.

For infrastructure, we've got a network and servers on which to host stuff - Windows or Linux are available but Windows is preferable. Front desk staff computers are Windows. A web based system deployed over an intranet or a server-client system are fine.

For cost, we are willing to spend money on it but would prefer hiring a coder up front to build/customize/implement than a subscription service like Sharepoint, which is really designed for enterprises bigger than this one.

We're looking forward to implementing this - it will help us monitor and assist front desk staff and will save lots of admin time in preparing information for records and accounting!

Perhaps Django or another CMS is likely the way to go, and hiring a coder to set it up for us, but what suggestions have you seen in implementation?
posted by By The Grace of God to Work & Money (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This might be over-over simplifying things, but you could do something like this in Google Forms.

The results feed into a spreadsheet that you can set access to.
posted by davey_darling at 6:26 AM on February 5, 2012

We use Merchant OS at work. It's a retail point of sale system, and it's a subscription service, but it's pretty well thought out and highly customizable. Reading about your requirements, I'd say you could easily tailor it to meet them. It doesn't sound to be exactly what you're looking for, though, but in the end that's up to you!
posted by Chutzler at 6:57 AM on February 5, 2012

http://www.rapidintranet.com/ This looks good, anybody use that?
posted by By The Grace of God at 7:16 AM on February 5, 2012

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