BS in Industrial Engineering
Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department
M. Lee McFarland
Friends of the Elephant Seal (FES) are a non-profit organization based in San Simeon, California. Their current method of tracking and reporting information is inefficient. A project was proposed to develop a new information management system for FES, install it at their office and provide training including a user manual. The project was divided into three parts: Database Design and Implementation; User Interface Design and Ergonomics; and User Manual & Help System.
The objective of the project was to design a user-friendly interface specifically for the FES worker that allowed for easy access to data entry functions, reporting functions and mailing functions. The user requirements were gathered through interviews with FES staff. The business units that required data tracking and reporting were Membership, Docents, Contributions, Fundraising and Mailing. The system was designed in Microsoft Access 2007 and the final design was achieved through several iterations of improvement and refinement. The resulting finished system consolidates previous workflows scattered across several files and programs into a single Microsoft Access file. All business functions can be executed by pointing and clicking on clearly defined menu elements and buttons. The work was economically justified based on the fact that FES is a non-profit organization that meets its annual operating budget of $100,000 solely through donations, grants and their own annual fundraising event. Rather than FES spending donated cash on a commercial software package, it is more beneficial to their operation to enlist volunteers to develop a solution and use those volunteered hours as credits on their next round of grant applications.