You may remember your son or daughter coming home from school, church, or 4-H excited about an upcoming field trip or event, holding a thick catalog and talking eagerly about the opportunity on the horizon. The following weeks would be spent tirelessly knocking on doors, calling aunts and uncles, or tagging along for a day at work to collect orders from family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.
Schools and non-profit organizations excel at providing valuable events and experiences, but don't always have the resources to realize their vision. Rather than levy a fee on participants, which disproportionately impacts low-income or financially insecure households, these fundraising programs give students and participants the opportunity to pay their own way while interacting with their community.
Founded in 1981, MinnTex Citrus' mission is to supply these organizations with the finest Texas and California citrus, Washington apples and pears, and a wide assortment of cheese, nuts, and cured sausages—all at competitive prices.
MinnTex came from humble beginnings, operating out of the back of a semi-trailer, to owning their own 30,000 square foot facility. In their off-seasons, they secure orders and plan incoming and outbound shipments. Then when their Fall or Spring seasons come around, the produce arrives to be inventoried, packed, and shipped to each of their myriad clients across multiple states.
In recent years, MinnTex started to feel a strain on how they tracked orders, using a dated FilePro system that had been in service for over 30 years. The flow of data and information that is critical to efficient operation was becoming more sluggish and cumbersome as the business continued to expand its client base and add key employees. MinnTex’s software was becoming a limiting factor in growing their business.
Matt Johnson, President of MinnTex, approached my company, J Street Technology, in 2016 to explore options for a scalable, user-friendly, and effective solution. With their active collaboration, we designed a custom Access application with a SQL Server backend to manage customers, orders, shipments, fruit-packing schedules, purchasing, invoicing with Intuit QuickBooks integration, and live inventory counts.
Using Microsoft Access allowed my team the design flexibility and rapid development to deploy the application within a year of starting development, at a much lower cost than an equivalent web application. The system, called MOXI, is backed by sophisticated SQL Server stored procedures and functions, providing MinnTex an intuitive and powerful Access desktop application powered by a world-class database platform.
Future possibilities for MOXI include the design and construction of a touch-friendly interface for streamlining the traceability of products from vendors to customers, expanded reporting and application configuration, and a web portal for MinnTex's customers to create, view, and manage their own orders.
About the Author
Armen Stein leads a team of highly-experienced database and web application developers. His company, J Street Technology, is a Microsoft Partner that designs and builds custom database applications using Microsoft Access, SQL Server, ASP.net MVC and SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS). Armen has been a Microsoft Access MVP since 2006.
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