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Alex Stewart

Project Info

Client Agricultural and Metals Testing Services
Skills SQL Server , ASP.Net, Windows Forms, Sage Line 50 Intgration

Project Description

The Business

ASA provides world class FOSFA and GAFTA approved independent inspection and agriculture laboratory services.

The Alex Stewart Agriculture group is supported by the A. Norman Tate and Huson and Hardwick laboratories and offers a complete range of agricultural, analytical, inspection and certification services for the facilitation of the international trading of soft commodities, including raw and refined sugar, oils and fats, bio diesel, cereals, fertilisers and other food products.

Staff work globally inspecting sites and products and reporting back to Head Office/Requesting certification and invoicing services

The Challenge

Alex Stewart Agriculture required a bespoke solution to manage laboratory jobs and ship inspections. Their existing system was based on old technology and did not migrate/interface with their new hardware/accounting needs.

The laboratory system was required to manage quotations for prospective clients, new and existing jobs, record sample results and maintain a log of compliance for the UKAS governing body. In addition all jobs would eventually need to be invoiced via Sage Line 50 and automatically create various certification and invoicing requirements.

The inspection system would record a number of details regarding the shipment location, vessel, port, load/discharge weights, currency and invoice amounts. In addition, the system would need to synchronise with the laboratory program so that invoicing could take place into sage. It was necessary for the inspections solution to be highly portable as many inspections take place worldwide.

The Solution

IT Developers only needed a short period of time discussing the requirements of both systems. It was clear from the onset that SQL to SQL replication solutions were required to facilitate up-to-date data synchronization.

The solution was a two part package with a windows form based application fo creating quotes, booking jobs, recording analysis, invoicing clients and working synchronously with an ASP.Net web application for recording, managing and invoicing inspections.

Both solutions required individual SQL server 2005 databases. One located at Alex Stewards head office and the other on a secure webserver.

In order to maintain the integrity between client tables and allow inspection jobs to be invoiced, a synchronization script was developed to replicate data between SQL databases in real time.

The end result has had a considerable increase in productivity and allowed Alex Stewart Agriculture to move away from spreadsheet based records.

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