I work in a small office for a pipe fabrication facility where I compile the quality control and assurance information. Basically every weld and piece of material needs tracked from start to finish with a paper trail to ensure everything is completed to code.
We currently use a set of in-house developed Excel workbooks that are filled with formulae that talk to each other. This works well for smaller jobs, but as we keep getting bigger jobs, the amount of work doubles because I have to rename files, change formulas, etc. I've got the QC manager talked into letting me research software to increase our productivity and tracking efficiency, and I thought MS Access could have done the trick; however, the more I'm learning about it, I think there are some things we are trying to do that is beyond Access' limits.
Whether we can use Access or have something completely developed from scratch, I need to find someone who can point me in the right direction. We will be hiring it done provided the higher ups approve the cost. But I can't tell them any range of cost because I have no idea where to start looking; plus I have no software development experience.
With our current process, each folder is job-specific. Each job contains customer information (address, PO, specifications), drawings, welder information, etc. Each drawing contains spools and supports. Each spool and support is made up of welds and material. Each weld gets a battery of quality tests that have to be tracked by date and signature; some entire spools also get tested. Then all of this information is put together in a binder (either paper or PDF) and given to the customer. We also use this information for shipping lists.
I'd really appreciate any advice or guidance anyone could provide.