Order Manager Application for Herdshares

Herd-OrderManager-600x626By Don Neeper

Cowshare holder Don Neeper writes:

I’ve been a herd shareholder here in Northeast Ohio for about two years now, and about a year ago I wrote a Windows application for my host farmer’s family to improve tracking and fulfilling their food orders. I am a software engineer and the company I work for develops software for the retail and grocery market, so we write these kinds of systems for a living. My host family had formerly been using a yellow legal pad to compile everyone’s order, break the items down into a Pick List and then re-write a detail list for each individual shareholder. They had been adding the prices and quantities up by hand and creating the lists by hand, and given my background I knew there was a better way when I found out what they were doing. 🙂

In my spare time I wrote a Windows application that automates the process and generates various reports from the database. It’s not foolproof but it has dramatically improved their order accuracy, and they can now email out the week’s order details in advance so we can verify that our orders are correct and make a quick phone call if there are problems. They’ve been running the program for almost a year now, I think we’ve worked most of the bugs out of the system and I’ve added a number of useful features based on their input.

I’ve put the program out in the public domain and am making it freely available to anyone in the raw milk community that would like to use it. I’ve slapped together a very (very!) primitive web site with some screen shots, a brief abstract and links to download the documentation and the program. The link to the website is: http://OrderMan.OhioRawMilk.info.

We are just rolling out a web-based order entry front end for the OrderMan application. When it’s fully functional all of our herdshare members will submit their orders through the web site and they will be stored in a remote SQL Server database until imported into the local OrderMan database. This web-based order entry system will save our farmer hours of time each week since he’s currently receiving email and keying the orders in manually.

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