Keeping all the work and maintenance orders flowing smoothly is Rick Allan's job. He's the Information Technologies Manager at VideoTronix's main office, and he's been using FileMaker Pro for as long as he's been with the company. 'FileMaker was already being used by the company when I was hired 4 years ago,' he explains. 'This was the first that I ever heard of the FileMaker product and found it easy to learn and very flexible for our changing needs.'
FileMaker is an essential component of the VideoTronix job–tracking process. 'Our primary use for the product is handling our service department's dispatching and work order tracking needs,' Rick explains. 'We have programmed it to automatically send pages to our technicians' Nextel phones and we recently successfully tested integrating FileMaker with Nextel's two–way messaging services. We have also just successfully finished a 30 day trial period using FileMaker Mobile with the Palm OS–based PDA units that our technicians' use for their weekly time card reports and we have gained increased accuracy in both time reporting and financial reports.'
We will continue to expand the use of FileMaker and PDA integration in the field for work order reporting, customer history information, and project management.
Rick is also ever on the lookout for new ideas for putting FileMaker's power to work. 'I am constantly being challenged to come up with custom reports from FileMaker and our other databases, based on MS Access and Great Plains accounting software, he says. Since FileMaker Pro is so easy to use I'm able to write many of my reports by taking advantage of FileMaker's ODBC connectivity. We are able to provide customer specific reports and have been able to integrate email solutions to keep our customers up to date on the status of their service calls which helps us be more competitive in our service contracts.' As the system expands, Rick is running more than sixty individual databases, containing anywhere from 5 to more than 32,000 records — and 24 of these databases are kept running on a 24/7 basis.