Solutions

Shipping great works of art for museums and auction houses requires a powerful FileMaker Pro tracking application

Artex Fine Art Services

Transporting precious cargo demands careful attention, and no ordinary movers will do. For fine art treasures, museums and institutions all over the United States turn to Artex Fine Art Services. Based in Landover, Maryland, with offices in Washington, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Fort Lauderdale, Artex's staff of trained professionals handle many of the world's most recognizable works of art as they're shipped for special exhibitions, stored, or conserved. And every step of every journey is thoroughly documented by FileMaker Pro.

Overview

  • Professional transportation, conservation, and storage firm dedicated to the safe transport and preservation of fine arts, serving museums and galleries across the United States
  • Based in Landover MD
  • Approximately 250 employees

Industry

  • Automotive/Transportation
  • Medium–Large Business

Solutions

  • FileMaker Pro contact management and job–tracking system, consisting of 43 different tables archiving hundreds of thousands of individual records.
  • Access is spread over nine different levels in five different departments, with over 50 specific users.

Warehouse personnel can use a wireless barcode reader and do searches or relocations of objects by simply pressing a button and scanning the piece and the new location. This process automatically logs a historical account of the move and updates the FileMaker Pro database with the new location.

— Mark Halliday, Database Administrator, Artex Fine Art Services

Business Challenge

The top names in the art world trust their treasures to Artex. From auction houses and galleries like Christie's and Sotheby's, to institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art, Artex ensures the safe transportation of priceless, irreplaceable paintings and sculptures. And it's quite a technical challenge, says Artex database administrator Mark Halliday. "We need to know where all our orders or art works are at all times," he emphasizes. "Our system tracks all our clients, all our jobs, all our projects, all our stops, all our warehouses, all our invoices — and everything in between!"

"In between" can mean just about anything — from a sudden change in a shipping schedule, to an unexpected rerouting of a truck to avoid a traffic jam. "When you consider the value of the items we transport," Mark continues, "the security and the accountability of the whole process is paramount."

Several years ago, that need for security and accountability brought Artex to FileMaker Pro — and it's never looked back

Successful Solution

FileMaker Pro 8 powers an impressive, fully–integrated contact management and job tracking system at Artex, with 43 tables operating through a single database. From this system, Artex personnel track each job as it's assigned, packed, crated, shipped, delivered, unpacked, and installed — with every leg of the journey noted by means of a wireless barcode data entry system. All information is kept in an active file for three months — after which it's transferred to an archive file which now contains over a hundred thousand individual records.

The system provides for seamless integration with QuickBooks via a FileBooks link, greatly facilitating the work of the Artex accounting department, and is also fully compatible with Oracle–based UPS RoadNet and MobileCast software, allowing for instant communication and updating of data between headquarters and trucks on the road.

Since all the information is in one FileMaker Pro database, all the information is easy to access for the users. Phone numbers, addresses, objects being moved, crates being built, account and payment status — all at their fingertips, and only a click away.

— Mark Halliday, Database Administrator, Artex Fine Art Services

Customer Benefits

Instant updates, always accurate. That's the biggest advantage the FileMaker Pro system brings to Artex — through a process that lends itself to easy, efficient automation. "Every time an order is added or modified, we need to pass that new information to the UPS RoadNet system," Mark explains. "So we use the Events 4.0 plug–in to run a script every twenty minutes that looks for new or modified orders in the FileMaker Pro database and exports them to a folder. We then have a Visual Basic script check the folder every ten minutes and update the information in RoadNet. Once in RoadNet, it can be added to the route, which sends it directly to the driver via Nextel phone, and we can then track the order on our Intranet, or by using the UPS MobileCast program."That automated efficiency comes into play in the Artex warehouses as well. "Warehouse personnel can use a wireless barcode reader and do searches or relocations of objects by simply pressing a button and scanning the piece and the new location. This process automatically logs a historical account of the move and updates the FileMaker Pro database with the new location." That system ensures that any item entrusted to Artex may be precisely located — no matter where it might be in the warehouse — with a simple click of a mouse. Adding to the effectiveness of the system are the image–storage capabilities of FileMaker Pro — providing quick visual identification of every item entered. "We store images of all the pieces in our warehouse," Mark continues, "so when we find a piece, its image is also displayed on the record along with the description, location, and location history." And all that efficiency comes at no cost in ease of use. "Since all the information is in one FileMaker Pro database, all the information is easy to access for the users," Mark points out. "Phone numbers, addresses, objects being moved, crates being built, account and payment status — all at their fingertips, and only a click away. "The system also saves Mark time. Following a smooth upgrade from a previous FileMaker Pro version, accomplished with guidance from Woody Hume of The Support Group, Mark now takes advantage of enhanced FileMaker Pro development tools to keep the system in line with ever–changing workplace needs. "As the database administrator, I use the Relationship Graph to look for new ways to enhance the system and add new features, while combining tables in order to streamline the process," he notes. "It's definitely easier to use than previous versions of FileMaker Pro. I can do more work during regular business hours — and our scheduled backups are much faster!" Time saved in data entry, time saved in database maintenance and development — all add up to better service for Artex clients — with FileMaker Pro making it happen.

For FileMaker:

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

For Artex Fine Art Services:

Mark Halliday
Database Administrator
Artex Fine Art Services
301-550-5505
mhalliday@artexfas.com
http://www.artexfas.com

For The Support Group:

Woody Hume
FileMaker Pro Developer
The Support Group
703-742-0821
whume@supportgroup.com
http://www.supportgroup.com