Solutions

Souris Mini

Custom FileMaker solution supports growth of rapidly expanding retailer

High-end Canadian children’s clothing manufacturer spikes sales while saving thousands of dollars annually with FileMaker solution running on iPad, desktops
and server

Overview

  • Fashionable children’s apparel designer, manufacturer and retailer needed to streamline back-end processes and communicate better and faster with supervisors and maintenance staff in the field using iPads.

Industry

  • Retail

Solutions

  • A custom FileMaker solution running across desktops and iPads that is integrated through ODBC to Raymark and SMS systems to track sales and store traffic.

Benefits

  • Saved thousands in custom development costs; improved coordination between field and management for smarter decision-making; increased visibility by linking store traffic and sales to produce reports for management; better matched supply to demand
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With the help of FileMaker, IT Director Michel Paquet, Souris Mini, helped transformed the company's operations while saving tens of thousands of dollars.

Hip, colorful apparel for children up to age 10: Souris Mini designs, manufactures and distributes clothing that makes kids stand out from the crowd. The company’s line spans everything from baby wear to snowsuits and a wide selection of interchangeable coordinated garments. The company is a multiple-time winner of prestigious awards such as La Griffe d’Or trophy (the Oscar of the children's fashion industry) for excellence in children’s fashion design and has expanded into the Middle East and recently in Europe.

Like any fast-growing startup, the company experienced growing pains in automating key back-end processes and extending them to mobile devices. A need to manage costs and prepare for expansion led to the adoption of the FileMaker products, including FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Server, and FileMaker Go. The result: rapid sales growth and savings of tens of thousands of dollars annually.

Users at Souris Mini love working with FileMaker and FileMaker Go. They feel more confident with our custom FileMaker solution than with any of the other systems in our enterprise.

— Michel Paquet, IT Director, Souris Mini
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Now when retail supervisors log reports, it's done in real time using FileMaker Go on iPads instead of spreadsheets and word processing documents.

A perfect fit for Souris Mini

When FileMaker introduced FileMaker Go for the iPad, IT Director Michel Paquet and the rest of the company saw an immediate fit and began extending portions of an existing back-end FileMaker solution, encompassing everything from design imagery to manufacturing and sales, to iPad users, beginning with those employees who were on the road the greatest amount of time.

Previously, retail supervisors traveling from store to store logged reports in Microsoft Word and emailed them to management, who then manually produced reports on each visit to check the status and sales of each store. Now store supervisors fill out status reports using FileMaker Go on their iPads, and management can immediately see the results using FileMaker Pro on their desktops.

Maintenance personnel have iPads that let them assign tasks and follow up on projects. They attach photos directly in a form in their iPads, a capability that was difficult when using Word documents but is easy in to FileMaker Go. iPad users can use both 3G or Wifi networks to connect FileMaker Server so no matter where the field teams travel, data stays synchronized between mobile employees and management.

The new mobile solution was a simple extension from the existing custom business solution built using FileMaker software. Years ago, Paquet began building a new system to support the common back-end processes needed by most any manufacturer using the FileMaker Platform – without the expense of a high-end, off-the-shelf manufacturing automation solution.

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Souris Mini's FileMaker solution integrates with front-end retail software and now provides updated reports on sales and store traffic.

Fully adaptable for a growing business

On the manufacturing side, the entire process is managed using FileMaker software, from the moment a garment is designed, to the point it is received at the warehouse. By tracking barcodes and easily outputting them using the company’s FileMaker solution, suppliers can print stickers for itemizing and shipping the products in orders.

The FileMaker solution also integrates with the front-end retail software from Raymark used at all store locations using ODBC links through Microsoft SQL. Essential data, such as sales and inventory, is pushed from Raymark to the FileMaker Solution to keep front- and back-end processes in step and enable FileMaker to generate comprehensive reports on sales and store traffic.

FileMaker is also integrated with the system for counting in-store foot traffic, TMS Enterprise software from St. Michael Strategies. Users can monitor traffic in real-time through their web browsers to see the activity in their stores each day. Data from retailer database, Raymark, and the traffic database are replicated in the FileMaker solution every half hour.

“Reports analyzing sales performance are sent periodically to product managers so they can make the right decisions in distribution of goods,” says Paquet. “We would have to pay our vendor thousands of dollars to have them develop these reports, yet with FileMaker, it’s quick and easy to do, at no cost other than a little of my time.”

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Using the FileMaker, Souris Mini can analyze business results down to fine details such as sales by week and region, either on desktops or mobile devices.

Significant savings due to FileMaker

Although Paquet says it is difficult to tally up all the returns from the custom FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Go for iPad solution, he’s convinced that FileMaker has saved tens of thousands of dollars while powering significant growth, all because it allows him to create solutions that are adapted specifically to the fast-growing business’s needs. The company does not need to endure the expense of trying to customize off-the-shelf solutions or connect the dots between piecemeal systems such as spreadsheets and text-based documents. He adds that the FileMaker Platform is extremely stable so no time is wasted trying to fix bugs.

“Users at Souris Mini love working with FileMaker and FileMaker Go,” says Paquet. “They feel more confident with our custom FileMaker solution than with any of the other systems in our enterprise. They tell me every day that it is easier and faster. In short, FileMaker will be used far into the future to manage and drive growth at Souris Mini.”

For FileMaker:

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

For Client:

Michel Paquet
IT Manager for Souris Mini
418-524-6464
mpaquet@sourismini.com
http://www.sourismini.com

For Developer:

Michel Paquet
FileMaker Consultant
418-262-5227
mpaquet@me.com

Direct Impact Consulting
Philippe Lazzaroni
450-663-0005
philippe@directimpact.ca
http://www.directimpact.ca