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Solutions

Travel magazine publisher builds a wide range of operational functions on FileMaker Pro 7 databases

Shoreline Creations Ltd.

Shoreline Creations Ltd. creates two attention–getting travel publications for a specialized, highly–focused readership. Group Tour Magazine provides up–to–date, eye–catching information on the hottest group–travel destinations for both travel industry professionals and non–professional group leaders, while Student Group Tour Magazine provides similar information to help educators plan memorable, thought–provoking class trips. Behind the scenes at Shoreline Creations' headquarters in Holland, Michigan, an intricately related network of FileMaker Pro databases ensures the smooth operation of both publications.

Overview

  • Publisher of Group Tour Magazine and Student Group Tour Magazine, quarterly publications focusing on destinations for recreational and educational group travel
  • Based in Holland, MI
  • Approximately 50 employees

Industry

  • Travel/Hospitality
  • Printing/Publishing

Solutions

  • FileMaker Pro 7 database systems track marketing, sales, accounting, production, billing, circulation, subscriber services, and asset management.

Benefits

  • Enhanced relational features of FileMaker Pro 7 allow sophisticated multi–keyed self–joining relationships, improving the efficiency of information tracking across database functions
  • Ease of development ensures more intuitive, useful end–user solutions

I'm finding that I can create much more complex relationships every quickly — and FileMaker Pro Server 7 Advanced allows me to edit virtually every aspect of my solution while it's being served.

— Duane Weller, IT Manager, Shoreline Creations Ltd.

Business Challenge

Magazine publishing is a many–layered business — with multiple departments, multiple offices, and multiple functions, all of which have to operate in careful synchronization to keep the publication on a steady schedule. Articles must be planned and written, advertising must be solicited and prepared for the press, accounts and circulation must be managed, and contact must be convenient and reliable for subscribers.

All these functions generate a vast amount of information that often must cross department lines, moving from office to office and from desk to desk in a steady, uninterruptible flow of data. If one link in the chain fails, the entire system may be compromised, and the publication thrown off its vital schedule. That's where a powerful database system is a necessity. "We needed a database to manage our marketing, sales, production, billing, circulation, subscriber services, and media assets," declares Shoreline Creations' IT Manager Duane Weller.

That's a tall enough order for any database application, but Duane notes that Shoreline also wanted a system with built–in flexibility — a system that could be easily responsive to the ever–changing demands unique to the publishing business. "We don't sell widgets," he stresses. "Other solutions might lock you into a preset method of doing business, but FileMaker Pro allows us to be flexible."

Successful Solution

Shoreline Creations' experience with FileMaker Pro dates back eight years, when the company used an early version of the software to help generate dynamic web content. But FileMaker Pro operations really moved into high gear five years ago with the purchase of a volume license, and smooth upgrades through each succeeding version of the software.

Currently FileMaker Pro 7, FileMaker Pro Server 7 Advanced, and FileMaker Developer 7 provide the foundation for a company–wide network of databases, covering the full range of company functions. Six workgroups take advantage of this system — Sales, Marketing, Editorial, Production, Accounting, and Circulation.

Originally, the system consisted of three separate FileMaker Pro solutions, roughly 75 individual files, containing more than half a million records, but Duane is in the process of rebuilding the system from scratch into a single FileMaker Pro 7 solution. "I looked into straight conversion," he says, "but there was too much I wanted to combine and redesign. So a full redesign was the way to go — it gave me the opportunity to utilize all the features of FileMaker Pro 7."

All of FileMaker Pro 7's features allow the developer to build more intuitive and useful solutions for the end user. The added sophistication allows for an easier–to–use, more application–like solution. And anything that makes life easier for my end users is great for me!

— Duane Weller, IT Manager, Shoreline Creations Ltd.

Customer Benefits

Circulating and processing information across so many functions requires a database that won't choke under pressure — and here, FileMaker Pro 7 excels. "I've been able to create some very sophisticated multi–key self–joining relationships that allow us to track our sales and production across specific date ranges much more accurately than we could in FileMaker Pro 6," Duane observes. "I can create relationships that look forward and backward within the same table, allowing the record to place itself within a specific subset of related records. I'm finding that I can create much more complex relationships every quickly — and FileMaker Pro Server 7 Advanced allows me to edit virtually every aspect of my solution while it's being served."

Duane believes that FileMaker Pro 7's smoother development leads to greater efficiency where it counts — on the desktops of the people who keep his company's data on the move. "All of FileMaker Pro 7's features allow the developer to build more intuitive and useful solutions for the end user," he concludes. "The added sophistication allows for an easier–to–use, more application–like solution. And anything that makes life easier for my end users is great for me!"

For FileMaker:

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

For Shoreline Creations Ltd.:

Duane Weller
IT Manager
Shoreline Creations Ltd.
616-393-2077
duane@grouptour.com
http://www.grouptour.com