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How to spec out a Filemaker solution and find a competent provider?

Question asked by banterer on Oct 28, 2008
Latest reply on Oct 31, 2008 by banterer


How to spec out a Filemaker solution and find a competent provider?


While I believe myself to be capable of developing an elegant solution for my needs, being new to this and a perfectionis is just not a good combination if I want to get it done in this century. So, can you more experience FM people tell me how one goes about creating a spec and then what kind of search terms to I use to find the appropriate category of 'solutions' for my needs?


We are a small manufacturing company and ideally would like a cross-platform (if cross-platform poses a challenge, then we would prefer a mac based system but would be open to listen to why a pc based filemaker db would be work just as well), relational filemaker db to handle the:


accounting - billing, invoicing, payables

  • generate emailable pdf quotes (this may not need to be programmed since it is easy to do on a mac)
  • generate emailable pdf invoices (same as above, it may not be needed)
  • aging of invoices so that it could automatically generate reports for past due invoices,
  • aging of payables so that we could enter payment terms and have the system remind us when to pay in order to get out discounts and/or pay within terms if there are no discounts


  • integration with UPS worldship or elimination of worldship and direct connection with the thermal label printer if that is an option. If integrated with UPS, it would need to retrieve the shipping cost from UPS for invoicing
  • calculate shipping costs based on current UPS rates
  • generate bills of lading for LTL shipments for freight carriers such as ABF, FDX freight and UPS freight
order entry:
  • manual entry of telephone orders and
  • regularly checking for online orders and automatically importing the contact info data as well as the different line items that customers might order
  • online ecommerce sales - this is not necessary as long as it can simply reach into and retrieve our online orders for the proper data to create the UPS labels
  • and if possible the receiving and therefore inventory of raw materials as well as materials we happen to buy and redistribute.

One consideration is that UPS software is PC only so unless the developer can write software similar to NRG's Mac based filemaker UPS module, they would either have to purchase and integrate their module or write one themselves.If that is not an option, UPS' software would have to run on a pc and probably use an ODBC scheme to retrieve the data from UPS' Worldship software.


We now use quickbooks for our accounting so an elegant import solution would enable a less disruptive transition.


I would prefer to have the database in a form that would allow me to tweak things as I went along.


Thanks in advance for your input or suggestions,