Using iPad in our business - help!

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Jessica08, Jan 13, 2017.

  1. Jessica08 macrumors 6502


    Nov 2, 2015
    Roll Tide
    A little background. My family owns an utility trailer manufacturing business. We have about 55 dealers around the country that currently faxes or calls in their orders. My dad, who takes the phone calls, then writes down the orders on legal pads or just saves the fax. Somehow they keep up with the order of these, but I have no idea how as I work on the retail side of things. I suggested they start using an iPad to store the orders, but I have no idea where to begin.

    Is there a program or app or something we could use to get the orders stored in order of order date and which dealer ordered what?

    Any help or tips will be great. Thanks!
  2. Zazoh macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2009
    San Antonio, Texas
    I think you may be wanting to justify the purchase of an iPad.;)

    If the iPad is to replace the legal pads, then you'll need regular backups, and a contingency plan should the iPad get dropped, or misplaced or any host of things that could go wrong.

    I think with 55 dealers you could justify a total online system. Put your inventory online on a website and take orders via a web form to a database.

    Then in the shop, either use a computer or iPad to retrieve and print the orders.

    Search the web for eCommerce website hosting or eCommerce Software ...

    You'll see things like this ...
  3. 2ilent8cho macrumors 6502

    Mar 9, 2016
    If there is no commercial app available to do what you want maybe look at filemaker as thats a database program with ipad support that would allow you to make a custom database with data stored centrally, not sure how complicated it is though.
  4. RootBeerMan macrumors 6502a


    Jan 3, 2016
  5. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    I own and run a small business with multiple offices, tracking info can be a PITA. Overkill for your needs, I hired Vend ( to build a custom service plan, which has ties to Xero for accounting - QED for me now.

    What I use for my small business on the side, again, with multiple locations and with me as the focal point, I came up with a very simple means to track/archive. I purchased a MS Office 365 Home plan, which has 5 licenses and provides access to the iPad Pro I use (I'm old, and I like big screens). I use the 1TB of file storage space, a combination of the iOS OneNote (free) and Readdle Scanner Pro ($7 but goes on sale often) apps on my iPad and those two apps plus the free iOS MS Office Lens for my iPhone (which also works on my iPad in scaled mode) with the Win/Mac free OneNote app. Each of those apps provide OCR - the Readdle and Office Lens apps are very, very good at this - so both handwritten and typed text are searchable.

    I have 3 separate MS email accounts (you can use a free account, but I use paid Office 365 Business Essentials accounts @ $5 per month - cheap, in a business sense, and they also get a 1TB of OneDrive storage). I use one account for active/actionable items (new orders, for instance), a second account for finished items (items I may want to refer to for a FY or so), and a third account for archiving. From the second-to-third account movement, I export files from OneNote to PDFs - which can be done at any time so they're available to be read by plenty of apps and/or marked-up as necessary (I use both Acrobat DC and PDFpenPro, but the free Preview app may suit your needs for this).

    The beauty of my workflow is I can share or restrict file access, send to give access to the OneNote or PDF files to my attorney and accountant at any time - whether I'm at my Mac at home, my Dell in one of my offices, or use my iPhone 6S+ or LTE iPad Air 2 while I'm out and about. And, I can add an account for just new orders from others - having given them access just to place orders (BTW, OneNote allows for voice memo recording, too!, so phone calls have another option). Readdle's app connects to several cloud services, including iCloud and Evernote). I ultimately put a backup of everything on my Amazon AWS cloud space (using Arq backup, with a couple of local copies in my firesafes).

    There's Android apps for each of the iOS apps. I also use a dirt cheap Lumia 640 ($26 from a Walmart) and put Win Phone 10 on it - the OneNote app on this platform is spectacular IMHO; I keep the Lumia with me and it's on wifi only - which I easily tether to my iPads.

    My whole investment in this "receiving-tracking-archiving" workflow cost me an investment of maybe $75 up front (for the iOS apps and Arq) and about $300 per year (for the Office 365 accounts and AWS space) - pretty much dirt cheap, an hour with my attorney costs me more than that. Your yearly cost would go down if you just used free accounts ($20 per year gets you no ads and a free domain if you wish) and don't need AWS. My 79-year-old mom and two partners use my workflow without any problems, it took them about 45 minutes to pick it up. The last neat bit is that now your "network" can also email their orders to that "new orders" account as well - another means to get files into OneNote…

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