FileMaker Pro Keeps Ticking

Good businesses reward their key players. The benefits may be nifty gifts sporting the company's logo, or they could simply be the continued enhancement of services to meet customer needs. For the gifts, they may turn to Los Angeles–based (, which provides customized promotional watches for Fortune 1000 companies. Meanwhile, Europa is busy rewarding its own distributors with comprehensive online self–service catalog and support systems. What makes tick? FileMaker Pro, the award–winning database solution from FileMaker, Inc.


  • What makes tick? FileMaker Pro!, provider of customized promotional watches for Fortune 1000 companies, features their entire product line on a FileMaker Pro–based Web catalog.


  • Retail/Wholesale
  • Small Business
  • Information Technology

Business Challenge

Until 1996, the company promoted its products exclusively through a 68–page full–color catalog. But creating, printing, and distributing the catalog was becoming an increasingly expensive proposition. President and CEO Ralf Mandt–Rauch and his brother Ben Schob decided to re–create the entire catalog electronically for distribution on CD–ROM using FileMaker Pro. They were already familiar with FileMaker Pro, having used it to build the company's office automation solution, called Trilogy. (That solution has been such a success that the brothers spun off Logistiques Inc., a FileMaker Pro solutions developer.) The brothers also knew that FileMaker Pro would reliably support graphic images and videos so they could show their exclusive Virtual Samples and play movies in kiosk mode to prospective customers at trade shows. In 1997, they moved the catalog onto to the Web and changed the company name to

At the center of the Web site is a fully searchable electronic catalog (called the iCatalog) that the company's 500+ North American distributors can access to search Europa's entire product line and find the exact watch to fit their promotion in just a few seconds. The rapid information retrieval is even more significant considering that almost every part of the watch is customizable and the company offers well over 300 models.

Europa's iCatalog lets distributors search the entire product line by categories such as model code, price range, color, and function, and instantly view a list of all models meeting that criteria. The result shows a list of items with thumbnail pictures (stored in FileMaker Pro as JPEG files). Clicking on any item brings up greater detail and an enlarged photo of the watch and its packaging. The iCatalog system also provides self–service support to distributors, letting them securely track the status of their orders and shipments. Soon the system will be expanded to alert distributors automatically via e–mail when orders have been delivered to their clients.

Successful Solution

To help educate its distributors about the Europa product line, the brothers also built a FileMaker Pro–based Kiosk solution for use at trade shows. It runs a Europa Watch presentation and four movies, all managed within FileMaker Pro.

By giving our customers the tools to help themselves our individual account reps can handle a lot more sales calls rather than having to worry about telling customers what happened to their shipment.

— Ralf Mandt-Rauch, President and CEO,

Since the launch of iCatalog, Europa has also launched a FileMaker Pro–based Virtual Sample system that, according to Mandt–Rauch, is the first of its kind in the promotional products industry. The Virtual Sample system lets distributors build professional watch presentations designed specifically for their customers in 72 hours. After submitting desired specifications and selecting one of 10 backgrounds or submitting artwork for a custom background, distributors receive a high–resolution, digital image sample of the finished product—including animation where appropriate. The system has completely eliminated the time and cost associated with creating and shipping physical product samples. Eventually, Mandt–Rauch hopes to launch a special section of the site where people can build watches to their exact specification and submit them directly to Europa's overseas manufacturing facilities.

Between Trilogy, iCatalog, the Web site, the Virtual Sample system, and the numerous back–end systems powered by FileMaker Pro, the company has 38 FileMaker Pro databases in constant operation. The iCatalog database is the largest, clocking in at 160MB.

Customer Benefits

Serving its customers with state–of–the–art technology has enabled Europa to grow its business significantly while keeping its existing distributors happy. 'By giving our customers the tools to help themselves,' explains Mandt–Rauch, 'our individual account reps can handle a lot more sales calls rather than having to worry about telling customers what happened to their shipment.' How has FileMaker Pro impacted the business? 'Let me put it this way,' says Mandt–Rauch. 'In one year alone, we've more than doubled our sales while adding only two people—it's that dramatic!'

For FileMaker:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker Inc.


Ralf Mandt–Rauch
President and CEO