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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 237: XI Workshop on Labour and Labour Management

TASKTIME-CALCULATION OF HORTICULTURAL WORK WITH A DATABASE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (ORACLE)

Author:   Ing. P. van Lookeren Campagne
Abstract:
Timestudy-processing is very labour intensive and gives a lot of paperwork for storing the data the old-fashioned way. Ever since we make timestudies at our institute, for all the different branches, we store the information in cupboards and have the problem to use an administrative system so we are able to find old records and store new ones. The more you collect the bigger becomes the problem to stay up to date and to provide yourself, the advisory-service or growers with good dates.

The problem becomes extra large if someone leaves the institute.

A new person has to find his or her way in things he or she never had anything to do with. Practice is that the newcomer starts all over again and does a lot of double work or a project never comes to an end.

In 1980 the Ministry of Agriculture in the Netherlands obtained a Database Management System named Oracle which was supposed to be installed at every institute or experimental station. At the same time the IMAG started with a new research project to collect time-data of nursery-work. This was a very extensive research project because we have a large variety of tree-nurseries in the Netherlands. We grow street-trees, shrubs and conifers, rootstocks and forest-trees, perennials, fruit-trees and the latest developments are that all these cultures take place in the open field as well as in containers.

Although the nursery-work functioned as a test, from the beginning we wanted to design a system which could be universaly used for all our timestudy work. So horticultural, agricultural or animal studies had to fit in the system and all members of our department should be able to store their data and use the tasktimeprogramme to produce tasktimes. That ment that we finally should become a system were we could exchange our information and in case someone leaves the department, the newcomers can be introduced by their colleagues how the system works and in that way can continue the work of others. Another advantage is that the databank can be kept up to date without any problem and that always the latest valid information is given and used and old dates easily can be removed. With modern communication between institutes and other users it is possible to have an open system were someone from outside can connect to our computer and work with the IMAG-database.

More and more country-wide databanks for timestudy-information are established and the need for good tasktimes is still as big as it has ever been. For all the management projects we use tasktimes, but even for the labour-disability legislation, tasktimes research form the basis of the project.

The Dutch timestudy databank in foundation for industrial information has also asked the agricultural branch to join the databank. In Sweden such a databank seems already to exist.

I like to explain how the "Workbench" works and for that purpose I made an English DEMO-VERSION which works without a connection to our main computer.

Oracle is a solid database system, but if you have a lot of users at the Institute, the system becomes slow and for a demonstration you have the risk that we have to wait too long for anything to happen. We have Oracle installed at our multi-user system (a VAX 11/750). Oracle is also available for a PC, but we do not work with that at the moment.

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