Solutions

Tin Toy Arcade marches on with FileMaker Pro
TinToyArcade.com, a family–run business, saves hours of work every day by using FileMaker Pro 11.

TinToyArcade.com

When Alan Brown's son Aaron wondered why his favorite old toys found in his grandfather's basement were no longer available in stores, Alan and his wife Cindy started TinToyArcade.com, a company that sells tin toys, classic toys and retro gifts online. Today, TinToyArcade.com is a family–run business that offers hundreds of products to thousands of customers around the globe.

Overview

  • Located in Atlanta, GA

Industry

  • Small Business
  • Retail/Wholesale

Soluteion

  • Simple scripts sort and process data while preserving the original information in the mySQL files.

Benefits

  • The new and improved ODBC driver allows a live connection between the FileMaker Pro 11 database and the online store solving huge problems.

We should have switched to FileMaker Pro years ago before we wasted so much time with other business programs. Now, FileMaker Pro 11 takes the benefits of FileMaker Pro to an entirely new level with enhanced ODBC integration, data charting, smart Portal Filtering and easier creation of layouts through the Inspector.

— Alan Brown, Owner, Tin Toy Arcade

Business Challenge

The business grew quickly and soon, inventory maintenance, orders, customers and shipping—handled by just a few employees—quickly became complex. Now, the company uses FileMaker Pro to track everything. "FileMaker Pro is like a smart employee who keeps up with all of the details of our business. We are not programmers and our database needs are constantly changing. FileMaker Pro is wonderfully flexible as our company grows," says Brown.

To run the business, the company has developed a FileMaker Pro solution called Mission Control—a name that hearkens back to the retro robots and space age toys the company sells. Despite lack of in–depth programming acumen, the team has been able to add layouts, scripts, fields and relationships to Mission Control with ease.

With the addition of FileMaker Pro 11, TinToyArcade.com has shifted its business into warp speed. "There are many impressive new features in FileMaker Pro 11," says Brown. "Our favorite new feature is the revamped, integrated ODBC Driver. TinToyArcade.com is a mySQL/PHP–based web store. FileMaker Pro 11 with the new and improved ODBC driver allows a live connection between our in–house FileMaker Pro 11 database and the online store. Linked to our online store, FileMaker Pro 11 solves huge problems and saves countless hours of work."

While the company is generally satisfied with its PHP online sales software, it has very limited back–office functions and that, in turn, meant the company had to hire outside resources to write custom code. This is no longer the case with FileMaker Pro 11.

"The scripting in FileMaker Pro 11 is easy and remarkably powerful. We connect to our online data using the intuitive relationships graph," he says. "We have written simple scripts to sort and process our data while preserving the original information in the mySQL files."

Successful Solution

"With a live ODBC connection, we don't have to re–enter any information," says Brown. "We even have a script that delivers a customized, date-sensitive coupon to our customers. FileMaker Pro 11 also streamlines order fulfillment and inventory management."

The scripting in FileMaker Pro 11 is easy and remarkably powerful.

— Alan Brown, Owner, Tin Toy Arcade

Brown is equally enthusiastic about the other new features in FileMaker Pro 11."The new charting features in FileMaker Pro 11 are very useful for analyzing trends in the online store," he says. "We can now view data as easy–to–read charts and graphs within FileMaker Pro 11, helping us see at a glance what's happening in the business so we can immediately focus on what's working and fix what's not."

The team also loves the new Layout Inspector. "Having all of the properties in one Inspector palette will save time editing fields and layouts. The new Inspector has an iWork feel that puts all of the key tools right at our fingertips," says Brown. "The new Portal Filtering is also a smart new feature that saves us time. In the past, we created elaborate workarounds to make filtered portals. The addition of Portal Filtering will make our portal lists instantly more useful and easier to produce."

Customer Benefits

Overall, Brown notes that FileMaker Pro 11 saves the company hours of work every day. He notes that it is a smart choice over the spreadsheets and other solutions the company used in the past. "We previously used traditional spreadsheets and business software for Mac and Windows, and that wasted hours of time daily," says Brown. "We now totally depend on the ease of use and powerful features of FileMaker Pro to organize our business. We should have switched to FileMaker Pro years ago before we wasted so much time with other business programs. Now, FileMaker Pro 11 takes the benefits of FileMaker Pro to an entirely new level with enhanced ODBC integration, data charting, smart Portal Filtering and easier creation of layouts through the Inspector."

For FileMaker:

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

For Tin Toy Arcade:

Alan Brown
Owner
Tin Toy Arcade
Atlanta, GA