Logging Tasks and Monitoring Productivity

by Kendall Callas

Twenty years ago in business school at UC Berkeley, my professors taught us how to use information to manage a business. Good decisions, of course, rely on good information. As the saying goes, "A man's judgment is no better than his information."

As the software at the core of your production process, WordPerfect can help provide the information you need. Some simple code can add a tracking element to the merges and macros you already use. To generate work flow statistics, WordPerfect (any version) can create log files to record work tasks. For example, when you print, it can create a record of the user's name, document type, and number of pages printed. Such information can be quite useful in quantifying the flow of work through your "document factory."

By using this technique, WordPerfect can help you

What WordPerfect can do is build a report or "log", stored in a file. This file can then be massaged using WorPerfect's sort and select features. If the log is created as a "comma-delimited" file, it can be easily imported for analysis in a spreadsheet or database program. A two-line sample from such a comma-delimited log file (containing date+time, document type, number of pages, attorney name, secretary name, and client-matter code) might look like this:

2/10/97 (Mon) 9:24am,pleading,6,RJT,Susan,2048-003
2/10/97 (Mon) 1:24pm,letter,3,MMC,Tom,2086-001

Before such a file can be created, variables must be set to gather the desired information. Perhaps the macro or merge that you use to create standard documents already sets appropriate variables to fill in the blanks in your form documents.

Here is the WordPerfect 5.1 macro code to append lines of data that look like this

2/28/97 (Fri) 2:46pm,1,pleading,LibraryHP5,KMC
to a log file:

{Date/Outline}F {;}change date format for report~
$2/$1/5 (%6) $8:90{Enter}
T {;}insert today's date + time~
{Setup}id{Enter}{Exit} {;}reset default date format~
{VARIABLE}doctype~ {;}document type code~
{Block}{Up} {;}highlight one line of text~
{Move}BA {;}append block to print log~

This same code for WordPerfect 6.x (DOS or Windows) looks like this (the code is identical in WordPerfect 7 except for the DateFormat statement):

//change date format for report
DateFormat("[Month_#]/[Day_#]/[Year(2)#] ([Day, Abrv.]) [Hour(12)_#]:[Minute0#][Am/Pm]")
DateText //insert today's date + time
Type(doctype) //document type code
PosLineUp //highlight one line of text
//append block to print log

You can capture valuable management information at little cost by adding relatively simple macro or merge code to the process you use to print or create documents. (If you use Templates, this an ideal use of the POST PRINT trigger macro). By using this simple approach, you can harness WordPerfect to deliver useful information. Thus prepared, it's up to you to make the right decisions.

Copyright (C) 1997 by microCounsel, (415) 921-6850. All rights reserved.

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