Solutions

Manufacturer of high–quality membrane switches and printed industrial plastics tracks work orders with custom–designed application based on FileMaker Pro 8

True North Printed Plastics Inc.

Precision manufacturing of custom–designed parts is the mission at True North Printed Plastics. Located in Mississauga, Ontario, this firm provides plastic membrane switches and other custom–printed plastic devices to a wide range of customers in the automotive, electronic, and medical fields. The company tracks all of its work orders, every step of the way, with a unique, custom–built FileMaker Pro database application.

Overview

  • Manufacturer of printed plastic membrane switches for industrial applications
  • Based in Mississauga, ON
  • Approximately 40 employees

Industry

  • Small Business
  • Manufacturing

Solutions

  • Manufacturing and Resources Vital Information Network (MARVIN), an advanced, easily navigable solution built in FileMaker Pro allows ready access to complete records of every work order.

Benefits

  • Automated tracking of work orders reduces paperwork and greater efficiency results in steady cost savings
  • Local and global script variables in FileMaker Pro 8 allow smoother, easier development

Our reject rates and delivery times are much better, and this influences our entire supply chain. FileMaker Pro has increased productivity, reduced paper usage, and increased the efficiency of the IT department.

— Andrew Struthers, IT Manager, True North Printed Plastics

Business Challenge

Providing customers with high–quality devices at reasonable cost while maintaining a high output requires a manufacturer to carefully document every step of the manufacturing process. And if that process involves multiple, complex steps, any data management system built to handle the job needs to be flexible, powerful, and easily updated. When True North Precision Plastics made the decision to move its job–tracking system away from paper forms and into the digital domain, a number of potential solutions were considered. "We evaluated Microsoft Access, Omnis, as well as starting from scratch," says IT Manager Andrew Struthers. "Working on a hybrid Mac–PC network, we needed our system to work in both operating environments — and since we were working on tight deadlines with demanding requirements, FileMaker Pro was the clear winner."

Successful Solution

Beginning with a basic production system constructed in an earlier version of FileMaker Pro, the system in use at True North Precision Plastics now stands as an impressive, self–contained, fully–relational application called MARVIN — the Manufacturing and Resource Vital Information Network. It's a package of 57 database files, containing 94 tables, each containing thousands of individual records, and also stores individual images of the various products produced. "Our solution allows the user to easily navigate between parent and child records," explains Andrew, "and to automatically jump between over 40 tables for each new work order, while copying and re–associating the records."

In addition to tracking production and documenting work orders, the system also incorporates a powerful contact management file.

Local and global script variables will make FileMaker Pro 8 much easier to develop on. The ability to set repetition numbers with variables in the set command will also be very useful.

— Andrew Struthers, IT Manager, True North Printed Plastics

Customer Benefits

With the ongoing upgrade to FileMaker Pro 8, True North is looking for even smoother performance. "Moving to FileMaker Pro 8 was painless," Andrew notes. "Running on our FileMaker Pro 7 server, we were able to run FileMaker Pro 7 and 8 clients side by side with no adverse effects."

The greatest benefit of the MARVIN application is cost savings, resulting from the steady reduction of paperwork. Where documents once were shuffled from office to office, desk to desk, production line to production line, now that information flickers from workstation to workstation with the merest click of a mouse. And Andrew expects even greater efficiency from the new PDF Maker and Excel Maker features in FileMaker Pro 8. "Both of these features will be widely used and appreciated," he predicts. "We anticipate paper usage to decrease greatly showing a significant drop in overhead."

With all development on MARVIN being done internally, the upgraded development tools in FileMaker Pro 8 are already moving into focus as key new features. "FileMaker Pro 8 will be much easier to develop due to local and global script variables," Andrew observes. "The ability to set repetition numbers with variables in the set command will also be very useful."

All in all, MARVIN is settled in for a long and valuable run as an essential tool in helping True North Printed Plastics keep up with its demanding customer base. "Our reject rates and delivery times are much better, and this influences our entire supply chain," concludes Andrew. "FileMaker Pro has increased productivity, reduced paper usage, and increased the efficiency of the IT department."

For FileMaker:

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

For True North Printed Plastics Inc.:

Andrew Struthers
IT Manager
True North Printed Plastics Inc.
905-569-2990 x240
andrew@truenorthpp.com
http://www.truenorthpp.com