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Author Topic: SIMS - Squadron Info Management System  (Read 3577 times)
Pylon
Administrator

Posts: 5,016
Unit: NER-NY-408

I Help Non-Profits | Michael Kieloch, Marketing Communications & PR Leadership
« on: April 18, 2005, 04:04:55 AM »

For those of you familiar with what SIMS is, I was wondering - how many of you have used it in practice at your unit and if so, to what extent?  (Just attendance records or partial information tracking, or the full house?)
 
For those of you who aren't familiar with SIMS, it stands for Squadron Information Management System, it's a Microsoft Access database which allows squadrons to keep all of their records computerized, making information easy to access, easy to generate various useful reports, easy to see cadet progress, etc.  It's home on the web is at SquadronCommand.
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Michael F. Kieloch, Maj, CAP
F. R. Sussey Composite Squadron       
Mac
Member

Posts: 78
Unit: PCR-AK-015

« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2005, 08:43:46 AM »

I've been using SIMS in my squadron for just about a year now. We use it for attendance for everyone, as well as all aspects of cadets programs from record of aerospace, leadership and CPFT testing, to promotion requirements. We also keep it updated with EQ qualifications and Senior member specialty tracks.

It's a great program that most of North Dakota is using for managing the squadrons, the Wing is even using it to track somethings for the entire wing.
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Derk MacPherson, Maj, CAP
Polaris Comp Sq. PCR-AK-015
Capt SSnyder
Recruit

Posts: 15

Woodfield Composite Squadron
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2005, 08:46:26 AM »

I have use SIMS since it's inception and love it. After all of the members records were manually loaded it has been a breeze to keep everything up to date. With all of the improvements in the last year I can't imagine not having it available. With the CAPWATCH download I can add a new member the same day National creates a member ID. We are working on using a laptop to scan ID cards right at the meeting site for attendance. There are many other benefits of running this program.
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Steven Snyder, Capt. CAP
Commander
Woodfield Composite Squadron
GLR-IL-075
MIKE
Super Moderator

Posts: 5,350
Unit: LANTAREA

« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2005, 10:01:18 AM »

Mostly just tracking membership now (Active/Inactive/Expired) current grade and the other stuff automatically added from CAPWATCH at the moment.  The major selling point for my unit when we first started using SIMS was the CPFT Pass/Fail calculator, but I have had problems with this feature since early on with SIMS... Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't... But it mostly doesn't.  Part of it could be user error.

I don't have all the data to get the most out of the program either, so I have to bypass a lot of the requirement checks.

I would definitely use SIMS if I was rebuilding a unit or starting a new one and make it an integral part of administration of the unit... But I find it difficult to implement in an established unit where there is a bit of a disconnect between SIMS which is administered by me, and the paper records which are handled by others.
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Mike Johnston
abysmal
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 520

« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2005, 12:37:13 AM »

Isn't there also a requirement that we must keep a full set of paper records?

This has thus far been the excuse to not allow me to begin using SIMS as it would only duplicate what we are already required to do on paper.
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2LT Christopher M. Parrett
Deputy Commander of Cadets, Cadet Programs Officer
London Bridge Composite Squadron 501
SWR-AZ-112,  Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Pylon
Administrator

Posts: 5,016
Unit: NER-NY-408

I Help Non-Profits | Michael Kieloch, Marketing Communications & PR Leadership
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2005, 12:45:07 AM »

Isn't there also a requirement that we must keep a full set of paper records?

This has thus far been the excuse to not allow me to begin using SIMS as it would only duplicate what we are already required to do on paper.

Yes, paper records are required to be held for many things.  However, this is the case for every unit.  SIMS is still useful to so many CAP units because of its capabilities.
 
SIMS allows you to look up information on any given member in seconds, wherever you are.  There's no need to wait until meeting night, head for the filing cabnit, pick out the members file, and finger through for the information you need.  In addition, SIMS tracks things centrally that may be on various records all over the place on paper.  For example, you may record meeting attendance for the unit on weekly sign-in sheets and in order to determine a particular member's attendance, one would have to dig up those sheets and look for the member's name.   In SIMS, simply pull up that member's record and check.  Entered information on attendance automatically registers on the individual records.
 
In addition, SIMS has various reports which allow you to compare the Cadet Programs progression of members of your unit, or allow you to easily see attendance rates, or generate an updated list of all members with General ES quals, want to find out what members have membership renewels approaching or overdue?  SIMS can save you intensive paperwork time.
 
Furthermore, SIMS has the ability to download information about your unit's members from CAPWATCH online and gather updates on their records.
 
Certainly, SIMS does not replace paper records.  It's job is not to do that.  It's purpose is to make your personnel information easily accessable, all the time, to multiple persons, and to make analyzing what information you have on record easy and practical.
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Michael F. Kieloch, Maj, CAP
F. R. Sussey Composite Squadron       
abysmal
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 520

« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2005, 12:58:12 AM »

Thanks, I think...
Last night I was warned that I need to start learning the record keeping process as our Deputy Commander for Cadets will be gone for the next few weeks in preperation for leaving the squadron when she moves in May.

I would really like to use SIMMS but the Commander is not hot on the idea at all.

nevertheless it looks like we will be coming to that moment of truth very soon now, where if I am going to be taking over the system I will STRONGLY prefer to do so in an electronic format and not on hundreds of sheets of paper.

Sigh..
I am so not into duplication of effort...
There is so little free time in my life to begin with, I dread the idea of duplicate record keeping.
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2LT Christopher M. Parrett
Deputy Commander of Cadets, Cadet Programs Officer
London Bridge Composite Squadron 501
SWR-AZ-112,  Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Capt SSnyder
Recruit

Posts: 15

Woodfield Composite Squadron
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2005, 08:45:11 AM »

You will find that you can print all the pieces of paper off of SIMS. So not only to you have an electronic record, but you can produce almost any form you may need.
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Steven Snyder, Capt. CAP
Commander
Woodfield Composite Squadron
GLR-IL-075
abysmal
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 520

« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2005, 10:28:50 AM »

You will find that you can print all the pieces of paper off of SIMS. So not only to you have an electronic record, but you can produce almost any form you may need.

Having only downloaded and "Browsed" through SIMS, I am by no means familiar with it.
But, if what you say is true, that would overcome a Major obsticle that the squadron commander has.
If SIMS can manipulate ALL of the required documentation so he gets his hard copies and I get a live database, we might just have a win-win situation after all !!
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2LT Christopher M. Parrett
Deputy Commander of Cadets, Cadet Programs Officer
London Bridge Composite Squadron 501
SWR-AZ-112,  Lake Havasu City, Arizona
MIKE
Super Moderator

Posts: 5,350
Unit: LANTAREA

« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2005, 12:09:24 PM »

If SIMS can manipulate ALL of the required documentation so he gets his hard copies and I get a live database, we might just have a win-win situation after all !!

I don't think that is the case yet.

It looks like SIMS will create the following forms:  (I don't know how they work 'cause I haven't tried to print any of them and I don't think you preview them prior to printing either.)

CAPF 2
CAPF 2A
CAPF 52-1
CAPF 52-2
CAPF 52-3
CAPF 52-4

You will still need to have Cadet and Senior Master Records filled out and filed with associated documents included as specified, but SIMS should help to process a lot of data required for these individual personnel files... I do not think SIMS can or should be used as a substitute for the paper personnel files.
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Mike Johnston
Capt SSnyder
Recruit

Posts: 15

Woodfield Composite Squadron
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2005, 11:11:42 PM »

Yes, the forms do work and you can preview them. All the blanks are filled in except the signatures.
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Steven Snyder, Capt. CAP
Commander
Woodfield Composite Squadron
GLR-IL-075
MIKE
Super Moderator

Posts: 5,350
Unit: LANTAREA

« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2005, 11:29:55 PM »

Yes, the forms do work and you can preview them. All the blanks are filled in except the signatures.

Ahhh... So it does.  I had encountered problems previewing some forms and reports in earlier versions.  Something where it seemed to be trying to print directly to a printer (Which I don't have connected.) without a preview.

You know what they say about assumption.  ;)

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Mike Johnston
CMetzger42
Recruit

Posts: 12

« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2005, 01:15:17 AM »

I too have been using SIMS for quite a while and am pretty familiar with it. Being a computer nerd helps me get along well with it, I think. :)

I use it for everything concerning the cadet records. It makes testing night a snap, because it can keep track of where cadets are in their requirements. I just print out the testing log so cadets know which tests they can take, and the CPFT log so I can record their scores (which also prints out their requirements taking into account age, grade and sex). I file those in a testing binder, and record passing dates for CPFT in the records as well as test scores. It also gives me the ability to pull up a report on cadet progress so I can see in an instant where cadets are in their progression and what they need to be promoted. That's what really makes it great for my squadron. I don't actually get a duplication of effort, because the effort is saved by putting the info into the program. Then all you have to do is fill out the CAPF66 and you're done.

With that printer problem, I remember there was a message that came up the first time I tried to view a report. All you have to do is hit print and it will show the report (won't actually print). I think that was from something in Dennis Van Der Vieren's home setup. It's nothing to worry about.
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abysmal
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 520

« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2005, 01:24:35 AM »

so, how many hours does it take to get this thing up and running the first time around?
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2LT Christopher M. Parrett
Deputy Commander of Cadets, Cadet Programs Officer
London Bridge Composite Squadron 501
SWR-AZ-112,  Lake Havasu City, Arizona
MIKE
Super Moderator

Posts: 5,350
Unit: LANTAREA

« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2005, 08:39:40 AM »

so, how many hours does it take to get this thing up and running the first time around?

If you are gonna just run with it from the install date on it shouldn't take long.  If you intend to enter all the data for your members manually up to that point it can take a while... It took me like a day to try to bring the Cadet Master Records up to speed.  You will probably need to use the Commander Sign Off feature to get the most out of what you have regardless.
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Mike Johnston
abysmal
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 520

« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2005, 10:43:59 AM »

If its worth doing, then its worth doing it right the first time around.
So you would guess a full day to enter in all the relevant information to bring the system fully up to speed?
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2LT Christopher M. Parrett
Deputy Commander of Cadets, Cadet Programs Officer
London Bridge Composite Squadron 501
SWR-AZ-112,  Lake Havasu City, Arizona
MIKE
Super Moderator

Posts: 5,350
Unit: LANTAREA

« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2005, 01:26:07 PM »

If its worth doing, then its worth doing it right the first time around.
So you would guess a full day to enter in all the relevant information to bring the system fully up to speed?

It really depends on how well your paper records are kept to begin with... Even then, you probably don't have all the data that SIMS computes normally like ML, attendance etc.

I found that it took me a while to input the Cadet Master Record data and keep it straight, particularly for those cadets in phase II at the time.  I used the CAPVA 52-2 and CAPVA 52-3 when I did it, but you might find the individual CAPF 66's to be less confusing.

Unfortunately, I haven't done much with this data since then, and haven't done many updates.
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Mike Johnston
AMEpelbaum
Newbie

Posts: 1
Unit: RMR-CO-022

« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2012, 10:45:48 PM »

If/since SIMS is an MS Access-based software, I presume that compatibility with a Mac (minus Windows) is out of the question?
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Pylon
Administrator

Posts: 5,016
Unit: NER-NY-408

I Help Non-Profits | Michael Kieloch, Marketing Communications & PR Leadership
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2012, 10:46:44 PM »

If/since SIMS is an MS Access-based software, I presume that compatibility with a Mac (minus Windows) is out of the question?


Yep; no such luck.  Unless (as you alluded) you are running Windows on your Mac (which, yes, is do-able)
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Michael F. Kieloch, Maj, CAP
F. R. Sussey Composite Squadron       
Thom
Seasoned Member

Posts: 251
Unit: SWR-LA-010

Louisiana Wing Website
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2012, 11:37:48 PM »

Holy NecroPost, Batman!!!

This must be some sort of record...a thread revived after nearly 7 full years!!!

Congrats!


Thom
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CAP Talk  |  General Discussion  |  The Lobby  |  Topic: SIMS - Squadron Info Management System
 


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