FileMaker Pro 12 and FileMaker Go 12 help build company specialized in tearing things down
Rampart Hydro Services is the largest hydro-demolition company in the world. Hydro-demolition? Keep an ear to the ground, because it is one of the fastest-growing demolition methodologies on earth.
As IT and Facilities Manager for Rampart Hydro Services, James Pierson administers the company network, maintains the website, answers help desk calls and works as a company carpenter, electrician, photographer and videographer. To streamline his tasks, Pierson is using FileMaker Pro 12 to create more beautiful, functional solutions that span both desktop and iOS devices. Among his chief requirements is making it easier to capture data from the field.
“The new iOS-specific scripts dealing with GPS coordinates are huge for us, because many of our jobsites are bridges in the middle of nowhere,” says Pierson. Often, there is no street address to punch into a GPS. The information about the site flows straight into a FileMaker database where it will not get lost, even if the project start date is months away.
“The use of FileMaker Go enables us to get timely and consistent data from the field eliminating the hodgepodge of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, hard-copy forms, and the odd flap torn off an old cardboard box,” says Pierson “I love the idea of FileMaker Go specific script steps, making it easier to take advantage the growing capabilities of iOS.”
FileMaker Pro 12, says Pierson, is helping him make databases that people will actually want to use, both in the office and in the field. “Our technicians will be able to capture the data in real time and then just hit a send button at the end of their shifts,” he says. “Then back in the office, the data can be recalled, sorted, crunched, charted, and otherwise displayed in an endless number of ways using FileMaker Pro 12.”
Meanwhile, Pierson is using FileMaker Pro to inventory IT assets, manage projects and oversee help desk calls. Pierson already has plans to automate employment applications, sales processes, and estimates, as well as putting a more usable front-end onto the existing accounting system.
Putting the new FileMaker 12 to work
See how real-world customers are benefitting from the new features of FileMaker 12, with solutions for iPad, iPhone and the desktop.
IT & Facilities Manager
Cultivating FileMaker 12 databases that employees want to use, on iPad & desktop
A 15-minute ferry ride from Seattle is Vashon Island, home to Sea Breeze Farm, a small organic farm. The farm’s fruits fuel winery, butcher shop, restaurant, charcuterie and cheese businesses. Sea Breeze Farm also sells everything from milk and eggs to bacon at local farmer’s markets.
It sounds bucolic, and it is. But integrating all of these different small businesses is a mountain of a task for President George Page, whether he is gauging cheese production or tracking cows’ vaccination records for government inspection purposes. With FileMaker Pro, Page has an end-to-end view into the operation. He can know, for example, which cows produce the most milk, which cheeses are the most popular and even which dishes are most lucrative at the restaurant.
He recently tested out FileMaker Pro 12 and FileMaker Go 12, and came away impressed. With alignment, gradients, and other design tools built in to FileMaker Pro 12, Page notes that he has all the tools required to create beautiful databases. “FileMaker Pro 12 is all about Starter Solutions and layout tools that are a welcome refinement,” says Page. “I previously spent a lot of time in a separate graphics program to make our databases easier and more intuitive to use, but that’s no longer the case. FileMaker Pro 12 helps me easily create databases that are pleasing to look at, as well as more functional, and that means our employees genuinely want to use them.”
The company has three iPad systems, and employees have begun using FileMaker Go to track information across the farm’s various operations. In the wine cellar, employees can enter alcohol levels, pH readings, sulfite additions and historic data related to wine lots. Or, they can track sales of cheese wedges at farmer’s markets and deduct them from inventory. Page notes that the easy extension between FileMaker Pro 12 and FileMaker Go 12 will further reduce paper use and make it easier to gain business insights through visual features such as charting.
Page says his ultimate goal is to create a fully integrated ERP system for the many small business operations at Sea Breeze that are dependent upon one another. That way, he can better see the relationships and make a sustainable business even more so. “Thanks to FileMaker Pro 12 and its ease of extension to iOS devices, creating a full-on ERP system for small business will take a lot less time and effort than I ever imagined,” says Page.
Beauty, functionality and speed: the new FileMaker Pro 12 experience
As a one-person IT department for a screen-printing company specializing in T-shirts, Adam Moehrig has his hands full. When asked about how he uses FileMaker Pro, his answer is, “How much time do you have?”
The company uses FileMaker Pro for almost everything related to the business, from customer contact information, order tracking and design approvals, to purchasing, production, shipping and even accounting. The company recently adopted FileMaker Pro 12, and Moehrig’s reaction is, “Wow! The new layout options are a massive improvement. Just the ability to round corners almost made me cry,” says Moehrig. “And gradients? They allow me to finally stop jumping back and forth between different graphics programs. The ability to add conditional formatting to pretty much everything is a thing of beauty.”
With FileMaker software, Expertees employees can know at a glance where orders stand, without having to make calls or send emails to check with everyone involved. And with FileMaker Server’s PHP support, the company can publish order information to its website, so customers can view order status online in an instant. Customers also can review artwork and approve it or notify the company of changes, obtain quotes in real-time, and more – all online.
“I’m excited that development speed has increased so significantly with FileMaker Pro 12,” Moehrig says. “The new layout tools are tremendously helpful for accelerating development and adding new solutions that are not only functional, but also beautiful in ways that make people enjoy using a database.”
Slick new Starter Solutions extend the functionality of databases
When Dean Bingham quit his programming job with a healthcare company, he started db DIGITAL DESIGN, an endeavor to combine his technical and creative filmmaking expertise. Today, he generates personal video-biographies, converts VHS to DVD formats and repairs videos. In managing his new company, FileMaker Pro was the perfect bridge to cross his technical and creative skills. Starting out, he needed something easy to use that would help him maintain contacts and manage invoicing and finances, and he chose FileMaker Pro.
After using FileMaker Pro for basic business organization, he became a more sophisticated database aficionado. FileMaker Pro grew to become his crewmate in the film production process. Today, he uses FileMaker for all pre- and post-production aspects. He easily modified his first FileMaker Pro database to include contacts for cast and crew, projects, talent agencies, locations, equipment, costume and make-up, shooting schedules, call lists, and shot lists.
Today, he uses FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Go for iPad to access the data related to film production, from audition through distribution – without having to track multiple paper forms while on location. Bingham recently adopted FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Go 12, and is rapidly integrating them into his business.
“FileMaker Pro 12 is a great update,” says Bingham. “I have converted all of my previous information to FileMaker Pro 12 and everything works flawlessly. I have used the slick new Starter Solutions to extend the functionality of my databases – and the ease of building forms from scratch, with the compatibility of both desktop and iPhone and iPad formats, is a huge boon.”
As his film production company continues to grow, Bingham says he absolutely will be using the connectivity and ease of use of FileMaker for development and delivery of new projects.
Dean T. Bingham