Oakdale Precision, Inc. is a rapidly growing, full-service manufacturing job shop that supplies parts, assemblies, fixtures, and capital equipment to over 100 companies. They pride themselves in producing high quality items, with quick turnaround and short lead times. Their specialized equipment and workers can produce sheet and turned metal components specified to incredible tolerances.
FileMaker custom app
Mechanical Design Engineer John Watson wears many hats at Oakdale Precision, managing many of the IT resources. This included taking their project management from a paper process to a custom app, built in FileMaker Pro. John recounts his history with FileMaker:
“I started using FileMaker as a personal hobby back on version 4. When I came to work for Oakdale Precision in 2000, everything was done on paper. There was a rolodex of customers and a yellow tablet on a clipboard listing all the parts they needed to make. They also had multi-part forms for purchase orders. The system worked OK for the 6 people working here, but they were growing fast and the clipboard was not keeping up. In 2001 I decided to recreate the clipboard into FileMaker 5 . Then I added additional tracking for Purchase orders, Customers, and Suppliers. Eventually we had about 20 databases in FileMaker 5. Eventually, we got a server and migrated to FileMaker 7. We spent a couple years trying to migrate the 20 databases to one. The databases were a mess because I had no training and we just kept adding stuff to a bad foundation. I learned the hard way not to use repeating fields. As FileMaker became more capable, everyone wanted more. I was not able to keep up on my own, so we started getting some consulting help from LuminFire. That is when things really started to improve. In 2000 we could handle 2 or 3 jobs a day, making a dozen or so parts. Last year we completed over 3,800 jobs (almost 600,000 parts). This could not be done with a clipboard!”
These great results came with the help of their custom FileMaker solution that allowed the company and their profitability to grow. LuminFire worked to move Oakdale’s codebase to industry best practices, improving processes by making them efficient, repeatable, and documentable. The design of the user interface and printed or PDF forms were also improved, utilizing FileMaker Pro themes and styles. Oakdale is incorporating mobile technology through iPads with FileMaker Go into their workflow as well. Due to their improved processes and technology support, Oakdale Precision was able to become ISO 9001 certified in 2015.
Responsive WordPress site integrates with FileMaker
Oakdale Precision realized that they needed to improve their website in order to better meet their clients’ needs and also to save time and resources. They approached LuminFire for help creating a fully responsive website with customized capabilities to meet their needs.
Their original website was built in-house, and while it served them well for years, their growth made it necessary to have a more advanced system. Oakdale Precision previously accepted quote requests on their website, however their website didn’t communicate with FileMaker. All information needed to be re-entered into their FileMaker system to generate a quote. To complicate matters, along with their quote request forms, customers needed to submit CAD files along with their product design specifications, and these files can be extremely large and difficult to send through email.
LuminFire built a fully responsive WordPress website with an updated look and feel that also solved the challenges that Oakdale Precision faced with their old site. LuminFire built custom post types for Oakdale Precision’s career listings, inspection equipment, and portfolio pages. They also provided training in search engine optimization, digital marketing, and Google Analytics, explaining best practices and helping Oakdale Precision understand what they could do to improve and track their new website’s performance. All of these changes resulted not only in a more efficient and profitable website solution with a better experience for their customers, but also with the tools and knowledge to continue to improve into the future.
Using Gravity Forms and BrilliantSync, LuminFire built a custom quote request form that syncs with FileMaker, automating the request form process and eliminating the need for double-entry. It also allows customers to directly upload their large CAD files, automatically importing the data and the file into a FileMaker container field that Oakdale Precision can then view and download when needed.
If your business has a FileMaker app or web site that was developed in-house, and you need to take it to the next level, we can help make that happen. From simple form submission, to full multi-table sync, ecommerce, and web service integration, our expert developers can provide exactly what you need. We build elegant and affordable custom solutions to many paper and work-flow management problems. Contact us to discuss options for your situation.
Also published on Medium.