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Old 11-03-2015, 08:50   #1
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Project and Inventory Management What do you do?

Hi all,
We've just recently purchased our bigger long term cruising capable boat. With it as usual comes many projects, upgrades, paint and varnish ect. Also with a new to us boat I feel I have a chance to do better than I did before. Organization is not one of my strong suits being an ADD child and adult. The plus side is right now there is almost nothing on the boat. I hope to keep an accurate inventory of whats on board as far as spares and replacements, as well as location of said parts. I also hope to keep a good list of projects completed and pending, materials used, materials needed ect.

My question to you dear readers is this, How do you do it? Do you have any apps you find helpful? My wife likes Trello for project management. What do you use, for either project management, and inventory? I'd consider excel but I'd have to buy Microsoft office and that can get pricey. Maybe google's google docs suite has a good usable spreadsheet software.

Let me know what you like to do in this area I'm very interested in all your creative ways to solving this problem.
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Old 11-03-2015, 08:55   #2
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Re: Project and Inventory Management What do you do?

You could always try Open Office instead of MS Office. I use both and I find Open Office is all I need. Very good software.
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Old 11-03-2015, 08:58   #3
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Re: Project and Inventory Management What do you do?

There is Open Office, the open source clone of MS Office, for Win/Mac/Linux. If you know Office and want a client based solution instead of a cloud solution, it would be the way to go.

I manage most of my projects in a spreadsheet, giving them a priority number, tracking dependencies, and required materials. I figured if I was going to make a list of boat projects I might as well make it more than a simple list. The benefit of it being in a spreadsheet is that you can sort it based on various data.

You could use a project management app, and that might be useful for super-complex projects, but I think for most projects or lists of projects it is overkill unless you have a large number of dependencies or scheduling concerns that you need to track.
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Old 11-03-2015, 09:03   #4
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Re: Project and Inventory Management What do you do?

Not sure if you are looking to keep track of the spares you will stock during cruising or the materials you need to do a refit?

For projects I tend to make a list of what I need and then go buy that. I know guys that "stock up" on projects

Fortunately I get Office free use at home from my company so I use excel mostly.

There are "open source" office software out there. The disadvantage is usually not sharable with someone who has MS Office.

I also hit Cnet first for software - There are lots of free software out there - I am sure there are specialty database things and or spreadsheet things and maybe even project management things.

Be very, very, very, very, very careful when installing any "free" software - They load the install tool with "adware" and browser search engines and all kinds of crap. Always use "advanced install. Go very slowly through each screen and be careful to "deselect" anything except the actual program you want.

Read the reviews - If people get spammed they usually write a bad review. I have skipped free stuff because of reviews.

I recentlyo spent days cleaning up a browser "search engine" it intercepted any search and took you to their website. Not only did it do that, but it "locked" Chrome frojm picking any other "default" search engine. Nasty piece of crap for which I had to get 2 third party uninstallers/cleaners.

(OK - rant over)
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Old 11-03-2015, 09:03   #5
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Re: Project and Inventory Management What do you do?

I triple recommend Open Office. In my shop we use several of their programs including the spreadsheet. Just be aware that Exel does not open an Open Office spreadsheet directly - you need to save it as an Exel file.
Be careful you do not bog yourself down with details and planning or you may never get away from the dock. I have that tendency.
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Old 11-03-2015, 09:10   #6
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Re: Project and Inventory Management What do you do?

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I triple recommend Open Office. In my shop we use several of their programs including the spreadsheet. Just be aware that Exel does not open an Open Office spreadsheet directly - you need to save it as an Exel file.
Be careful you do not bog yourself down with details and planning or you may never get away from the dock. I have that tendency.
Oh no worries as with the last boat, it goes in the water every summer by Memorial day no matter if it's half painted or what. As long as it'll float it goes in.

Yea I basically want one sheet for spares, then another for the list of projects. If I don't have my project list as happens so many times. I'll be on my way out to the boat, stop by the store for the intended project. Then once I'm at the boat I'm reminded of the two other projects that are 90% finished. The only thing holding me back is I needed that 3"Stainless wood screw, or a fresh tube of Butyl tape.
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Old 11-03-2015, 09:21   #7
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Re: Project and Inventory Management What do you do?

Quote:
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I'll be on my way out to the boat, stop by the store for the intended project. Then once I'm at the boat I'm reminded of the two other projects that are 90% finished. The only thing holding me back is I needed that 3"Stainless wood screw, or a fresh tube of Butyl tape.
Excellent point, common problem. One member on another thread suggested having 2-3 "alternate" projects each week or whatever. Get stuck for something on one move to another. But as you point out then you end up with multiple 90% projects...

In doing my refit I was surprised at home much time was spent provisioning and shopping. Real time hole...
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Old 11-03-2015, 09:25   #8
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Re: Project and Inventory Management What do you do?

Open Office files are compatible with MS Office provided you save them as, for example, a .xls file for Excel. By default Open Office saves files in it's own .ods format.

I use Open Office and save files in the native format. If I need to share them with someone I simply save a copy in the appropriate MS Office compatible format. No big deal.

Open Office is maintained by The Apache Software Foundation. It does not install any adware or other garbage on your computer. I was a heavy MS Office user back when I was a full-time consultant and have found OO to be a perfectly serviceable and powerful alternative. It's pretty much a clone of MS Office and the learning curve if you're coming to it from Office is virtually nil.
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Old 11-03-2015, 09:26   #9
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Re: Project and Inventory Management What do you do?

I use excel for my maintenance logs as well as storage and inventory. It probably does not matter what spread sheet you use, so long as you stick to it. Can't tell you how many times I'd buy some product (oil, grease, electrical fittings, wire) forgetting I had it on hand--either in the boat or in the storage shed. Gets expensive. Keeping an accurate inventory and storage spread sheet ended that. Also, when I do any maintenance project, out comes the cell phone and I photograph things. The photos are far better than my memory. Amazing what one forgets from year to year. Helps to remember how to get anti-freeze into the a/c system at decommissioning.
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Old 11-03-2015, 09:47   #10
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Re: Project and Inventory Management What do you do?

If it's just a list of project and supplies, any spreadsheet will work or there are lots of "to do" apps if you want it for you tablet or phone.

Where you need something more is if you are doing a major refit including multiple projects and contractors that must be done in a particular order. It can be done with the cheap knock offs but not as easily.
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Old 11-03-2015, 10:00   #11
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Re: Project and Inventory Management What do you do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by appick View Post
Let me know what you like to do in this area I'm very interested in all your creative ways to solving this problem.
Try evernote. After a long time never never really getting into it I use it for so much now. It can be a very different approach to other software but is actually very powerful. Instead of having software "boxes" for things then looking for things to go in them, now I have an evernote "life's inbox" , anything and everything of interest goes in there, cameraphone pics of ideas on other boats to pinch or equipment serial numbers, clips of websites with ideas for maintenance, recipes - anything, forwarded emails, almost anything.

Then when I have a spare moment the inbox gets emptied with tags and a few notebooks, various notes can be saved into one which works well for projects. , one great advantage is you can find all this stuff easily with a very good search engine and group it all together with as many tags as you want.

Downside is you need to pay to store offline, otherwise you need to be on the net to see everything. But if you pay it's available on your phone, tablet, laptop, whatever. The sync works very well.

Sounds like a bit of a corporate sell but it really has turned into a on stop shop for almost any data I want to get at at some point in the future. Give it a go.
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Old 11-03-2015, 10:21   #12
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Re: Project and Inventory Management What do you do?

Lists... Use a basic ExCel spread sheet... You can sort the project by type... plumbing.. electrical, deck hardware, rigging etc.

You can list the supplies parts you need, the source, the price/cost, tools, and time estimate...

You can literally map out the steps of each project

You can prioritize them.

ExCel is your friend... You are the manager.

BTW I have a single ExCel workbook forn the boat w/ tabs for all sorts of things... maintenance log, yearly Spring Prep, boat stats, wiring / electrical computations, loads, spares, and so on.
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Old 11-03-2015, 11:35   #13
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Re: Project and Inventory Management What do you do?

I use MS Excel - because I have it. I would use OpenOffice otherwise. I have spreadsheets for

- to do's
- planned/hoped for upgrades
- budget (I really just buy whatever I decide I need and then don't eat for a couple of weeks
- spares - especially the location of said spares
- tools - ditto

One thing I do with Excel, which may be possible in OpenOffice but I am not sure, is to do my system diagrams with it - battery wiring, electronics devices and wiring, plumbing, special circuits (like pumps, alarms, etc.), engine wiring. It has rudimentary drawing tools built in - lines, boxes, circles, colors, text boxes. Not as slick as CAD programs but WAY more easy. It takes some learning and practice but pretty easy actually. I create a "library" of common objects, like circuit breakers and fuse symbols, that I have taken the time to draw and then "group" the individual lines/boxes/whatever of an object. I can copy them and paste them to new drawings.

I've attached my old battery wiring and AC wiring diagrams from my previous boat. You can copy and paste the various objects if they help.

Whatever you use your files for, make sure you keep backups on USB memory sticks or an offline disk drive, or in the "cloud". I don't like the cloud stuff but that is just my preference.
Attached Files
File Type: xls BattWiring1.xls (152.5 KB, 73 views)
File Type: xls ACWiring1.xls (38.5 KB, 45 views)
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Old 11-03-2015, 21:43   #14
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Re: Project and Inventory Management What do you do?

MS Office 2013 will open .ods files. I have had no problems using Open Office files with MS Office. I sometimes get a warning if I try to save in a different format but the files have always worked fine.
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Old 11-03-2015, 21:57   #15
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Re: Project and Inventory Management What do you do?

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Maybe google's google docs suite has a good usable spreadsheet software.
I've used Google Sheets on my tablet, phone and PC and built simple models with it. It works and imports easily into Excel if you go down that route.

If you're going to go online you can use office apps online for free now too.

Go to --> https://office.live.com/start/Excel.aspx?omkt=en-US
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