Solutions

Regional FedEx feeder/carrier depends on FileMaker Pro to ensure compliance with strict Federal safety management standards

Empire Airlines

An essential link in the global transportation network that rushes FedEx shipments to their destinations, Empire Airlines provides freight service throughout the western half of the United States. Based in Hayden, Idaho, Empire Airlines also provides a full range of aircraft repair and maintenance services, but the bulk of its business focuses on the high–pressure, high–demand FedEx account.

Overview

  • Provider of feeder/carrier service for FedEx throughout the western states, along with a full range of aircraft repair services.
  • Based in Hayden, ID
  • Approximately 250 employees

Industry

  • Automotive/Transportation
  • Medium–Large Business

Solutions

  • FileMaker Pro database provides fully automated reporting functions for FAA–mandated safety–monitoring compliance system.

Benefits

  • Data covering every aspect of every safety incident is easily recorded and organized in compliance with required Federal standards. Reports are generated automatically, complete with full photographic documentation and mathematical risk analysis of each incident.
  • Ease of use ensures rapid access to vital information.

I was very impressed and greatly pleased with the additional power and capabilities of FileMaker Pro 8 and 8.5

— Rich Stuart, Technical Writer, Empire Airlines

Business Challenge

With thousands of urgent shipments handled every day, there's no time to waste at Empire Airlines — every second counts! "FedEx is our primary customer," emphasizes Empire's technical writer, Rich Stuart. But with that emphasis on getting shipments to their destinations on time every time comes an equal stress on safety. "The Federal Aviation Administration will soon require that all commercially–operated freight and passenger carriers have a Safety Management System (SMS) program in place to better track incidents and accidents that affect airline safety," Rich explains. "FedEx wanted to be one of the first to implement a database to track these incidents with its feeder–operator fleet, but there wasn't one available that was affordable, flexible, and powerful enough to meet their high standards. Rich provided the answer himself: he's had long experience with FileMaker Pro, and his experience with the application soon became widely known within the company. "It so happened that a representative from the Medallion Safety Foundation visited Empire Airlines to demonstrate a rudimentary SMS database using FileMaker Pro 8," he relates. "When our Director of Safety saw it, he said 'y'know, I know just the guy who could make this work for FedEx' — meaning me!" With a valuable assist from FileMaker Pro developer, Matt Lygo, of Kantala.com, Rich set to work.

Successful Solution

Moving well beyond Medallion's solution, Rich created Incident Reporter — a powerful, flexible, full–featured, run–time FileMaker Pro application combining key data–management, costs tracking, and report–generating functions designed to be in full compliance with all federal standards. Moreover, the system is designed for smooth functionality from end to end.

When a safety–related incident occurs, the user enters a detailed account using the FileMaker Pro application's tabbed layout feature to specify the date, time, and other relevant circumstances of the incident, along with specific information on the make, model, and serial numbers of all the equipment involved. Photographs are taken to provide full visual documentation of the incident, and these also are added to the FileMaker Pro record. With the click of a mouse, a report is then generated and may be either printed or e–mailed as required, pictures included. With the use of the appropriate Troi plug–in, data is also uploaded to a secure FedEx website where it may be examined not only by its safety officers but FedEx's nine feeder operators as well.

Customer Benefits

FedEx stresses speed and accuracy in every aspect of its business, and demands it from its feeder–operators as well. For Empire Airlines, that means every employee, every piece of equipment, and every software application must be able to stand up under pressure. The FileMaker Pro application meets the challenge while exceeding the capabilities of rival products. "We chose FileMaker Pro over Microsoft Access because FileMaker is easy and simple to use," declares Rich. "I compare the difference between developing in Access and FileMaker Pro to giving someone instructions on how to start a car. With Access, it's 'open door, stick leg in car, sit in seat, move other leg into car, close door, pull seat belt, engage seat belt clasp, put key in ignition, turn key for one second, listen for engine to start,' and on and on. With FileMaker Pro, you just get in the car, buckle up, start the engine and go!"

With many software applications, an upgrade offers ho–hum improvements, but with every new version of FileMaker Pro there's a definite improvement over previous versions. I've never regretted upgrading!

— Rich Stuart, Technical Writer, Empire Airlines

Keeping up with steady improvements in new versions of FileMaker Pro is just as easy. "I was very impressed and greatly pleased with the additional power and capabilities of FileMaker Pro 8 and 8.5," enthuses Rich. "With many software applications, an upgrade offers ho–hum improvements, but with every new version of FileMaker Pro there's a definite improvement over previous versions. I've never regretted upgrading!" Most important, the Incident Reporter is an invaluable tool to save both money and lives. "With all of us being able to review each other's reports so quickly and easily, we can track and even predict where potential safety–related issues might arise from equipment malfunction or failure, and/or the need for additional training of personnel. True, both FedEx and Empire's mission is to deliver packages on–time, but safety always comes first."

FedEx is so delighted with Incident Reporter that they've commissioned Richard to write another FileMaker Pro–based solution. "We have plans to set up the next one using the Web Viewer in FileMaker Pro 8.5." With many software applications, an upgrade offers ho–hum improvements, but with every new version of FileMaker Pro there's a definite improvement over previous versions. I've never regretted upgrading!" instead of going the HTML route," he explains. "That will offer even more flexibility for both me as a developer and the user. With that success we may migrate Incident Reporter over to that as well, so stay tuned!"

For FileMaker:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker Inc.
408-987-7227
kevin_mallon@filemaker.com
http://www.filemaker.com

For Empire Airlines:

Rich Stuart
Technical Writer
Empire Airlines
208-292-3849
RichS@empireairlines.com
http://www.empireairlines.com