Swimming pool construction involves many vital elements — all of them traditionally generating bushels of paperwork. Plans must be drawn, permits secured, and documents filed, and that's even before the actual excavation work can begin. Once the crews are on the jobsite, there's an even more voluminous flow of information between client, crew, and office, ensuring that the project adheres to both its budget and its specifications.
And, traditionally, this paperwork remains on paper. "Pool companies tend not to be computerized," comments Blue Marlin Pools vice president Mark Richter. "But as the younger generation takes over in these older companies, that's going to change."
It changed for Mark's company several years ago, when, inspired by developments observed at a pool industry trade association meeting, he decided the time was right to move from a simple "shared folder" concept for entering project data onto the office computer to a fully functional database system. "We developed a flow chart showing what it takes to build a swimming pool, with all the steps and processes," he recalls. "And then we realized once we could get this information on the computer, there were many things we could do with it. Our original idea of a simple 'shared folder' on our one office computer continuously grew."
That's when FileMaker Pro developer Gerard Beutler of Link–Net Inc. entered the picture. Working closely with Mark, Gerard developed the first version of a customized office management application in FileMaker Pro 8. And with a subsequent upgrade to FileMaker Pro 8. 5, the result is a tool that has not only become an invaluable part of Blue Marlin's business, but also a tool to be marketed to pool builders everywhere.