Solutions

FileMaker is Backbone of Flower Essences Business

International Flower Essence Repertoire

Advocates of alternative remedies have long believed that the essence of certain flowers has a healing effect on our own energy — and while the conventional medical jury is still out, its supporters certainly swear by it. Just as one of Europe's leading suppliers of these essences swears by FileMaker Pro, the award–winning database software application from FileMaker Inc.

Overview

  • Advocates of alternative remedies believe in the healing powers of the essence of certain flowers. London's International Flower Essence Repertoire, importer of such medicinal flower essences, believes in the power of FileMaker Pro. While FileMaker Pro is powerful enough to run International Flower Essence's business from beginning to end, it's also easy enough to use that new employees can learn the system in minutes.

Industry

  • Healthcare/Medical Services
  • Small Business

I've done all the development on the databases myself and I have no specific technical training in using FileMaker — it's that easy to use!

— Don Dennis, Managing Director, International Flower Essence Repertoire

Business Challenge

The company is International Flower Essence Repertoire, located in a peaceful rural setting just south of London, England. Here, a small but dedicated staff of specialists imports essences from around the world, takes the orders, and ships out the product — to more than 6,700 customers. And all that work — from beginning to end — is kept flowing with FileMaker Pro databases. Company managing director Don Dennis puts it simply. 'FileMaker Pro is the backbone of our business,' he says. And no matter where you look at International Flower Essence Repertoire, FileMaker Pro is there.

Successful Solution

Consider inventory, for example. The company carries a broad range of flower essence products, imported from as far away as Australia, India and Brazil. It's essential that Don and his staff have the ability to carefully track just how well each product is selling — and to accurately predict future demand to ensure that a sufficient supply is always on hand. 'Using FileMaker Pro, it's easy to generate a sales track record for each item in the inventory,' explains Don and the inventory database is a valuable research tool for company clients.

Since advocates of flower–essence therapy believe that the properties of a given essence can be predicted from the appearance of the original flower, the International Flower Essence Repertoire inventory database includes a color photo of each flower as part of the product record — and FileMaker Pro's graphics capabilities handle these images with no trouble at all.

Other databases are complicated to configure and complicated to work with — but with FileMaker Pro, any new members of our staff who are computer literate can learn to use our system within twenty minutes to half an hour!

— Don Dennis, Managing Director, International Flower Essence Repertoire

Dispatching the little bottles of flower essence to their final destination is also handled by FileMaker Pro. Don created a system with which his staff can instantly find the date and means of dispatch of any of the more than 7,500 packages sent out in the past year. It also tracks who in the shipping department actually handled the dispatch, the method of payment, and if that payment is outstanding. 'I created this file from scratch,' says Don, 'and it has proven itself invaluable to our company in ensuring we give the best possible service to our customers.'

That's not all — FileMaker Pro shines on the accounting side of the office as well. Using FileMaker, invoices can be generated on the spot, direct from the original customer database — in whatever format is most suitable for the individual order. The invoicing application is extremely flexible, notes Don. 'We handle a range of books as well as our flower essence products,' he explains, 'and books are taxed differently. An order that includes both books and essences can be complicated to invoice because of different tax requirements — but FileMaker Pro enables us to handle these orders quickly and efficiently, every time.'

Customer Benefits

Don believes his database has saved him time — and money. 'I have always reckoned that we would need to employ at least 2 more people to do the work we now do, if we didn't have the efficiency that FileMaker gives us,' he says. ' That's 2 more than the 5.5 people we currently employ. I guess that's about a 1/3 increase in efficiency compared with an imagined 'life without FileMaker' scenario.'

Best of all, Don and his staff don't need to be computer wizards to make it all happen. 'I've done all the development on the databases myself,' he points out, 'and I have no specific technical training in using FileMaker — it's that easy to use! Other databases are complicated to configure and complicated to work with — but with FileMaker Pro, any new members of our staff who are computer literate can learn to use our system within twenty minutes to half an hour!'

Does flower essence therapy really work? Its advocates certainly believe that it does. And for FileMaker Pro, there's no question at all.

For FileMaker:

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

For International Flower Essence Repertoire:

Don Dennis
Managing Director
International Flower Essence Repertoire
44 01 428 741 5752
flower@atlas.co.uk