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Creating database for work flow in print shop

Question asked by AmericanPrinting on Aug 10, 2012
Latest reply on Aug 10, 2012 by davidanders


Creating database for work flow in print shop


I work in a small print shop where we have been using a FileMaker Pro database that was created years ago (in a really old version) to track our jobs in case we lost our paper Work Order(s). We keep importing it into newer software as we update. The problem with this is that we have software that could do so much more than we are currently using.  We'd like to harness some of that power now and improve our database and get a little more efficient. Since I had nothing to do with the creation of the database years ago, and am only just now learning how to modify what we have, I'm not sure if it's better to start over with a new database, or if there's a way to effectively alter what we have.

Our end goal is to have a database that includes all contact info for our clients (which can be used to send periodic mailers), detailed information for every job in the shop (which can be used to create personalized work sheets for each employee listing what they have to do today), and the ability to incorporate pricing down the road. It also needs to be able to generate Work Orders for each job, with a unique number, as well as a prefix chosen from a drop down list which will identify the type of job it is (for example: D- for Digital, O- for Out of Shop, P- for Press, S- for Stamp, etc).

Our shop has several departments, and the same person may have duties across all departments. Somehow we need to generate a task list for each person for each day so we have a clear idea of what needs to be done. So you might have someone responsible for Data Entry, 8 of the 13 Bindery functions, Customer Contact, and Packaging. Someone else might have Customer Service, the remaining 5 Bindery components, Design, and Digital Printing. The last person might have Offset Press, Finances, and Deliveries. We also have con-call staff who fill in as needed. Once we have all of our data entered into our database, how do we pull the needed info into a report for each person? What's the best way to set up our database so that we CAN pull that info out into a report?

I know I've thrown a lot of information at you, but I'd like to do this right from the start, rather than have to cobble it together as I go (which is what we've been doing). And if someone knows how to make a screen capture on a PC (I'm a Mac person!), I'll post one of our records from our current database so you can see what we're starting with.

Thanks a bunch in advance!