From refrigerators, freezers, ranges, and dishwashers to convenient, labor saving handheld and tabletop appliances, Whirlpool products are famous world over for their efficient, attractive, user–friendly design. However, before those products find their way to the consumer, a staff of industrial design experts and usability specialists supervises every step of the design process to ensure they are both ergonomic and attractive. "We have several labs in our Global Consumer Design department, including our Stylemaster Lab, our 3D Prototype Lab, our Usability Lab, and our Color Trends Lab," explains technical analyst Matt McCubbins. "Each of these labs takes requests from the industrial designers and usability specialists within our department for services such as the creation of artwork or prototype models, reservation of lab time, and studies of future color trends."
With a constant stream of lab requests from the various designers coming in via written requisitions or email, the department realized a more efficient system was needed to prevent errors and scheduling conflicts. "Since one of our labs had successfully been using FileMaker Pro since 1995," Matt continues, "we decided to update to the latest version and expand our usage to include the web–enabled access of FileMaker Pro 7.