Client name . Fairprint
Sector . Business services – printing
Summary comment . Alan Stirling, Director, Fairprint
"Anybody can pick up FileMaker and build themselves a system. I've been adding to ours for five years now. It's a never ending process because our business is always changing. So our FileMaker solution is always changing, as well."
FileMaker Print Management Application Keeps the Presses Running
Based in Dundee, Scotland, Fairprint provides printing services both to the print management trade and directly to a variety of clients ranging from small local firms to large national and multi-national brands. It's a growing business, reporting revenue of nearly £3.5-million, up from £900,000 just five years ago.
Since its founding in 1997, Fairprint had grown such that its manual order system was limiting its ability to expand further. Under the paper-based system, sales reps would write out an order form which would then follow the job throughout the company. As a result, there was no way of accurately tracking a job. As one director put it "there was a constant stream of people running about chasing jobs." By 2004, management had recognised the need for an automated solution.
Fairprint never actually intended to use FileMaker permanently. But after three failed attempts to adopt an expensive and complicated off-the-shelf print management application, company director and self-taught FileMaker developer Alan Stirling used it as a stopgap measure to bridge the gap from manual to electronic ordering. But since then, Stirling's initial one-page FileMaker order form replica has grown into a complete solution that manages nearly all aspects of Fairprint's business.
- Marketing e-mails can be created via FileMaker. Once the mailer is done, mailing lists can be generated according to specific criteria and e-mailers sent.
- The company website can be completely managed through FileMaker. Content can be added, removed or changed. When all changes are made, upload to the server can be done with a few clicks.
- Quotes are generated automatically either from a customer request through the website or by a sales rep through the FileMaker interface.
- Quotes generate an automatic "accept or decline" email which is sent to the customer. Once the quote is accepted, a job ticket is automatically created.
- Every job is tracked as it moves through the system from pre-press to production and delivery.
- All files are scanned, identified, tagged and managed. The FileMaker system tracks the location of all files on the company server.
- An audit trail is automatically created. All changes to files are recorded and tagged with the name of the person making the change.
- Timings and deliverables are updated based on client deliverables. If, for example, a client is one day late with an approval, the final delivery date is pushed back. The customer then receives a notification email to this effect.
- FileMaker solution is fully integrated with courier firm Parcelforce. When delivery is ordered the client receives an email notification and tracking number.
- Future plans exist to add an invoicing function and a feature to make it easier for customers to re-order previous jobs.