Randstad UK
"I would never have even attempted to bid for this project without Iron Speed Designer!"

- James Whistler, Managing Director of Acid Yellow


Randstad UK
Newbury, UK

My application is called Randstadfm. It was developed for Randstad UK, the UK division of Randstad Holdings, a Dutch company that is the second largest recruitment business in the world. Randstad UK has more than 150 office premises in the UK and is experiencing rapid growth.

Randstadfm is used exclusively outside my company by Randstad UK. The users of the application are members of Randstad UK's Facilities Management team. They are responsible for managing the estate of UK office premises of the company. There are about 20 users.

The locations screen listing all offices in the estate.

The application enables the facilities management team to run all aspects of their UK premises, from leasing and rental contracts, through legislative requirements such as appliance testing, to reactive maintenance such as plumbing failures or electrical faults. It is used to manage the estate of UK offices both reactively and proactively, enabling users to maintain all the information relating to each office online. Users can also attach documents pertaining to each office, such as fire risk assessments, insurance certificates, floor plans, and photographs.

The fast-track navigation menu expanded.

The proactive side of the application is primarily focused on ensuring that important dates and deadlines relating to each office are not missed. The system enables management-level users to maintain lists of other users to whom reminder emails are automatically sent for such important events as rent reviews and lease break options. It also ensures that these events are allocated to individuals within the team, providing clear accountability for each event. On the reactive side, the application enables users to manage incidents affecting the operation of offices within the estate. Incident records are created to cover events such as vandalism, plumbing or electrical failures. Incident log records then enable managing the resolution of these incidents through the system. Work orders can be raised and allocated to the appropriate suppliers, such as plumbers or electricians. Completed incident records can then be closed off. This functionality also enables the management team to track the financial aspect of resolving incidents, as well as providing information about the speed of resolution.

The main location-level menu screen.

Application size and scope

Randstadfm is an entirely new application that accesses one Microsoft SQL server database. The application comprises 24 tables and 12 views. The largest table is the IncidentLog table, which has approximately 10,000 rows. There are 138 web pages in the application. About 20 users interact with the system every day, producing between 8,000 and 20,000 transactions per month.

The project

The Randstad project took about six months from initial design discussions to implementation; the Iron Speed Designer portion was just four weeks. The most significant delay to development was getting dedicated time with the facilities management team. I was the only member of the implementation team.

Code extensions and customizations

I wrote remarkably few lines of customized code, 500 at the most. The entire code customization took about a week. Standard customizations included email notifications and attachment uploading and downloading. The only non-standard customization was to introduce a fast-track navigation menu, which is displayed in some of the screen shots below. This enables users to navigate to particular offices, suppliers or contacts with a single click. It was remarkably easy to build and implement with Iron Speed Designer.

The archived location main menu.

Page layout customizations

The Randstad application uses the standard McKinley theme for the application. There are three different sections of page customizations: estate, location and archived location. Each of these pages was given a different background color to help distinguish them. There were no other page or layout customizations.

The main menu / homepage. This page is at estate-level which is reflected in the blue background color. The fast-track navigation menu is collapsed on the right-hand side of the screen.

Iron Speed Designer impact

The project would simply not have been feasible without Iron Speed Designer. Although I am an experienced VB .Net / SQL developer, I've worked exclusively in the Windows Forms environment. I would never have even attempted to bid for the Randstad UK project without Iron Speed Designer because I would never have been able to successfully develop the application. I believe I saved the company at least $40,000 by using Iron Speed Designer.

Next steps

Randstad UK definitely wants to extend the application. I have already implemented a number of upgrade releases for Randstad and details of future releases are being negotiated.

I'm currently working on a more generic version of the application which will be marketable to other facilities management teams within the UK.

About the developer

James has worked in IT since 1992 in a variety of roles and across a wide range of industry sectors. These include finance, retail, logistics and insurance. His technical experience includes mainframe applications as well as PC and web-based development.

James graduated with a double major in Physics and Computer Science from the University of Southampton, UK.

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