Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Record Keeping

It's that time of year again. Many of us use the slow winter months to look over our records to analyze this past season and plan for next season. In order for this to work it is important to have good meaningful data. Good data comes from good data collections which can sometimes be a challenge. In the next few weeks I plan on sharing my experience with using Google docs for all of my operations record keeping the past few years and will give step by step instruction on how to setup good meaningful records that will allow you to easily analyze all parts of your operation.

A few years back I was searching for a good record keeping solution. The old way of keeping records on paper had very little use to me as it was clumsy and very difficult to easily analyze the data. For me there is no point of collecting data if it cannot be manipulated to tell a story or paint a picture. I came across many companies that offered record keeping software and tried a number of them out for demo periods. The problem I had with these software packages was that they were very expensive, time consuming to set up, and were not flexible enough for me to make the best use out of them. I needed something that would be tailored specifically to my operation.

Finally I got a computer in the shop and spreadsheets opened a whole new way of keeping track of my records. Data sorting was much easier and I was able to make sense from all that collected data. For me there was still something lacking. With this system I wasn't able to record data directly into the spreadsheet in the field. Data input was also a hassle and I found it very cumbersome (especially when I was busy). Often data collection and input was put off or forgotten about......until I came across a product from Google called Google Docs or Drive. The reasons I chose this service over the many other available options was that it was free, worked on both macs and pc, was accessible from any computer or device with internet access, had most if not more of the features that Microsoft's Excel offered and had the backing of a large company so I was assured that it would continue to remain in service for a long time.

My equipment use record is one of my most valuable records
Basically Google docs is a cloud based system where you can edit spreadsheets  documents or anything else all on a central server that is accessed over the internet. No crazy networks or servers to deal with, just the internet. Added to the ease of use  was the ability to input data directly into a spreadsheet using a form that can be accessed over the net. The possibilities were endless and I immediately went to work.
Knowing exactly what and where was applied is extremely useful

Over the past few years I have made hundreds of spreadsheets for record keeping where a few have stood the test of time and really helped me improve my operations on the golf course.

Over the next few weeks I plan on sharing how I put together my equipment use log, equipment maintenance log, spray record and fertilizer record. I will start very simple and will work up to more advanced spreadsheet work.

If this sounds of any interest to you I urge you to create a Google drive account now and start messing around with what it has to offer your operation.