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A Non-Exhaustive List of How VSS Can Make Your Life Easier

December 16th, 2016

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What is Vessel Service Solutions (VSS)? It is a solution designed for the boat assistance and towing industry. Simply stated, your business is assisting boaters and managing a fleet – and VSS is here to help you efficiently manage every aspect in between.

You’re asking, as the owner of a boat towing company, how can VSS help me?

First we’ll ask you a couple questions:

How do you currently handle your order processing? When you receive an order from BoatU.S. do you copy and paste, re-type, or hand write information before you dispatch your captain? What if, with the touch of a button, you could populate a form with the BoatU.S. order details and then send it to a captain?

How do you submit orders for payment? Do you use a two-part carbon copy form that you have to collect from your captains before you can scan and email or fax to BoatU.S.? Ever lose one overboard with a gust of wind? Do you find this process to be time consuming and results in payment delays? With VSS you don’t have to hassle with paper. Your clients can digitally sign a tow order and your dispatcher can email it to BoatU.S. the same day.

Still curious how VSS can assist you in streamlining your business operations?

Reduce paperwork or actually go paperless: Make your dispatcher’s life easier, reduce costs and waste. With VSS all order processing, log tracking, and timesheets are handled on your computer or iPad. There is no need to print forms.
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Assist boaters faster: When BoatU.S. sends a tow order to your dispatcher, VSS imports the order email directly into a standardized form. Dispatchers can add additional information and assign the order to a captain’s iPad – all with just a few clicks.

Send texts to alert captains of new orders: Once an order is assigned, VSS can send the assigned captain a text about the pending order – no need for additional phone calls.

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Captains can receive orders at sea: When an order has been assigned, captains can retrieve the orders on their iPads – there is no need to come back to the office or spend time on the phone discussing the new tow order with the dispatcher. iPads must have access to the internet to retrieve pending orders.

Easily update orders: While at sea, captains can update and edit orders on their iPads (no internet connection needed). Adding service items, updating time tracking, and getting customer signatures is quick and easy.

Quickly sync between central and remote: After the captain is done assisting the boater and has an internet connection, he can send the order back to dispatch for review and final processing.

Get paid faster: With VSS, you can create, edit, sign, and submit an order for payment all from your computer or iPad – there is no need to print or fax documents. When you’re ready to invoice BoatU.S., simply click a button and an email will automatically be generated with the invoice attached and the required BoatU.S. subject line: Tower ID – Member ID.

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Analyze your business’s success: Pull reports on orders, boats, and time sheets to review data, trends, performance, and profitability.

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Process payroll faster: The Timesheet’s module handles commission percentages, straight hourly rates, and day and night rates.

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Protect sensitive information: VSS has robust privilege settings, allowing management to dictate what information and modules employees can view, edit, and delete.

Maintain Employee Records: Store employee information in the system with the ability to easily and quickly update pay rates and contact details.

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Maintain fuel logs: Tracking fuel use not only helps you monitor boat expenses, but also helps you reconcile your monthly fueling expenses. Users can add fuel logs on the iPad and record the date, engine hours, cost per gallon, number of gallons, total cost, and fueling location.

Ensure all boat maintenance is performed on time: With maintenance schedules, you can ensure you never miss an oil change again. By creating schedules, you can track mileage and plan for boat maintenance, ensuring your fleet is always in top shape and you’re never down a boat on a busy weekend.

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Log maintenance performed: With the Maintenance Log you can track all maintenance on all boats, log the date, engine hours, services performed, and the total cost.

How VSS Helped Baltimore Marine Recovery Operate More Efficiently

December 14th, 2016

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Baltimore Marine Recovery, LLC provides emergency towing, salvage, refloat, charter, and launch services to the Chesapeake Bay area. Dale and Christine Plummer have been using Vessel Service Solutions (VSS) for three years. In 2015, they won the BoatU.S. Smooth Sailing Award for “Superior Operational and Organizational Standards” – with help from VSS.

Q: Why did you decide to start using Vessel Service Solutions?
A: We have 10 boats, about 14 staff, and we work out of 3 ports (Annapolis, Baltimore, and Middle River). On top of being busy all year-round, there is a lot of paperwork to deal with on a daily basis. We wanted something to make our lives easier and enable us to continue to deliver great customer service. Plus, VSS allows our captains to handle dispatch orders, fuel and maintenance logs on one iPad application.

Q: What goals were you hoping to achieve with a new solution?
A: Reduce paperwork! Before VSS, we used the standard issue 2-part carbonless TowBoatU.S. invoice. Forms were lost overboard, misplaced, or just were not returned by the captains in a timely manner. With three ports, it was hard to manage and the captains complained that managing paper in a windy, wet environment sucked!
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Q: How has VSS helped your business?
A: In addition to allowing us to go virtually paperless, we’ve seen an increase in boaters assisted and faster turnaround time on payments from BoatU.S. Being able to email a completed, signed order to BoatU.S. directly from VSS is great. I can also share the completed invoice with the boat owner by email.

The system has also made it is easier to process and track orders. I have an accurate and extensive historical record of all orders processed, that I can sort, filter, and search through. I no longer have to flip through old orders in a filing cabinet when BoatU.S. has a question on an invoice. VSS orders can also be submitted directly to my QuickBooks file. Three years ago, I hand entered every order into QuickBooks after I scanned and emailed it to BoatUS. Today, I push a couple of buttons and it is done.

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The Time Sheets module has made payroll much easier, as well. Instead of calling the captains for their hours, I run a simple report and see all timer entries. If something looks off, I can ask the captain to review and update the timer entries. Once that is done, the updated entries are immediately available to process payroll using the Time Sheet reports. I can run one report and have all employees’ time sheets for any time period complete with details for easy reference.

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Q: What is your favorite feature of VSS?
A: I have a couple favorite features. The first is remote dispatching. It is a total game changer. I can take my entire office with me. I have the ability to handle calls and dispatch orders from my son’s football game or from my home in the middle of the night – without getting out of bed.

The second would be ease of use. The system is very straightforward and user-friendly. Even those captains who aren’t tech savvy have found the system easy to use. Now that they know the VSS system, my Captains can’t stand using paper. If they manage to leave without an iPad aboard, they always come back and get it!

And third would be the text notifications that the captains receive when they have been dispatched an order – my guys use that as the basis for their timers. Each email has the invoice number and every invoice needs a timer so at the end of the day they have a running list to use to create or review their timers.

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Introducing Core5 Starter Edition CRM – Intuitive, scalable, and pre-configured for QuickBooks

October 20th, 2016

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CRM – that ubiquitous acronym you hear a lot in business. Customer Relationship Management or a Customer Relationship Manager can mean and do a lot of different things. It embodies how you handle your customers, how you structure your workflow, and how you build relationships with clients. The market is flooded with various CRMs for your business. Some are simple, some are robust, some are industry specific, and some service a broad spectrum of businesses. However, it is our opinion that the best CRMs are those built in FileMaker. FileMaker allows you to design simple, intuitive solutions, as well as complex, specialized, and expansive databases, capable of processing and analyzing mass amounts of data.

Our latest offering builds upon to the existing repertoire of FileMaker CRMs, but what sets it apart is it beautiful simplicity, unlimited possibility, and affordable price tag. If you are looking to get started with FileMaker and (or) are interested in quickly integrating your QuickBooks file with a CRM, the Core5 Starter Edition CRM is the perfect pre-built solution for you.

This solution is designed to integrate with your existing QuickBooks company file (Desktop or Online). After purchasing our FM Books Connector or FM Books Connector Online Edition plug-in, you can quickly import your contacts, tax rates, items, and vendors in to the Core5 and then begin pushing contacts and invoices to QuickBooks and pulling payment and balance information back into Core5.

Some of you may be familiar with our existing Core products, the Core5 Starter Edition joins this family and provides an option for those who are interested in a simplified, yet surprisingly versatile, CRM solution.

The Core5 allows you manage the following aspects of your business.

Contacts: The Core5 is designed for you to easily import your contacts from your QuickBooks file or other data source. Once you are up and running, you can easily add leads, customers, and vendors.

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In the Contacts module you can also track related notes, maintain appointments and to dos, and link contacts to estimates, orders, invoices, and documents.

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Sales: Create estimates, orders, and invoices for contacts and track your sales progress as deals develop.

 

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Integrate with QuickBooks to easily push invoices to QuickBooks and pull invoice balance information back into the Core5 for your team to view.

 

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Documents: Go paperless with secure document storage, link documents to related contacts and tag with keywords and descriptions.

 

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Dashboard: Managers can use the Dashboard to analyze various graphs and charts on customers and sales and get an overview of contacts, to dos and appointments, and all sales transactions. The bookkeeper can use the Dashboard to perform batch pushes of contacts and invoices.

 

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There are three licensing options for the Core5 Starter Edition:

1. Free Core5 Starter Edition Desktop – A free, single-user desktop CRM. This is a great option if you are a one man team and want a quick way to get started with a CRM.  Interested in taking Core5 for a trial run? We encourage you to order this free runtime solution as a way to get an idea of what the Core5 Starter Edition can do. However, this version of the Core5 Starter Edition is not customizable and all infomation is local to the machine it is installed on.

2. Core5 Starter Edition SaaS – This is the ideal option for a team. We host the solution allowing you and your team to work seamlessly across iPad, Windows, Mac, and the web. Customization is available for an additional fee, and we provide all necessary FileMaker licensing.

3. Core5 Starter Edition Site License – The site license is fully unlocked allowing you to customize it to your heart’s desire. You also have the ability to host the file for mobile and multi-user access.

All plug-ins for QuickBooks integration are sold separately.

Please visit www.Core5CRM.com for more details, to request your free runtime, and for additional product and training resources.

macOS Sierra Compatibility Update

October 13th, 2016

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Apple’s newest OS roll out, macOS Sierra, not only comes with a new naming convention, but also features new Siri functions and the ability to copy and paste from device to device!

If you’re as eager as we are to upgrade to macOS Sierra so you can open your MacBook with your Apple watch, don’t hesitate, because all of our Mac plug-ins and solutions are macOS Sierra compatible.

Here is a full list of our Mac products and a brief explanation of how they can help you automate your workflow!

Solutions:
Core4 CRM v3.0.0.3: Core4 is our flagship CRM solution. Built to be robust and expandable, this business tool allows you to track everything from contacts to sales transactions and from calendar appointments to notes and documents. You can connect the Core4 with your QuickBooks file, Outlook accounts, Address Book, and iCal.

Core5 Starter Edition v1.0.0.1: The Core5 Starter Edition is an intuitive and easy to use CRM solution. It is pre-configured to connect with your QuickBooks file, the Core5 is designed to be immediately deployable.

Vessel Service Solutions v2.3.0.0: VSS was designed for covering ship or water craft breakdown emergencies and allows users to eliminate time-consuming paperwork and processes. Users can tracks boat mileage, maintenance, and fuels ups and use it to track time sheets and pull various reports.

Plug-ins:
FM Books Connector Online v2.0.0.0: Want to save time and energy by eliminating double entry of contacts, invoices or sales transactions? Use this plug-in to connect your FileMaker solution with your QuickBooks Online file.

Address Book Manipulator v4.0.1.0: Avoid the hassle of having to add contacts to your Apple Address Book and then re-type the details into your solution when you back to the office. The Address Book Manipulator allows users to update all contacts in FileMaker or Apple Contacts and then easily push the information from one application to the other, ensuring contact information is always up to date.

iCal Manipulator v2.0.1.0: Add an event once and have it on all your devices. This plug-in directly connects FileMaker with Apple Calendar and supports multiple calendars, recurring events, and tasks.

PDF Manipulator DC v1.0.1.0: Process forms faster by extracting and inserting data between PDF form fields and FileMaker.

Change Printer v4.0.7.0: Automatically changes printers, sets optional printing attributes, facilitates the coordination of large and complex print procedures, and easily switches between various types of printers/drivers.

File Manipulator v4.0.1.0: File Manipulator can copy, move, rename or delete files and folders directly from a FileMaker solution. In addition, you can compress and encrypt file data with password protection, as well as decompress and decrypt file data.

For additional details on product functionality and integration details, please contact sales@productivecomputing.com or call 760-510-1200.

FileMaker 15 Compatibility Update: Plug-ins and Solutions

May 11th, 2016

I am sure you have been following the FileMaker 15 release updates as closely as we have, so I know you’re just as excited to hear that we’re FileMaker 15 compatible as we are to announce it!

Here at PCI, we’ve been hard at work testing and developing to make sure that your favorite PCI plug-in (or solution) is FileMaker 15 compatible. To the extent that we could, we wanted to ensure that you experienced little hesitation and headache when making the decision to upgrade.

Please see below for a full list of our products that are now compatible with FileMaker 15. As we’re always innovating, we invite you to peruse the entire list—maybe there is something new that could be of benefit to you!

Licensing:
FileMaker Licensing: Purchase FileMaker Pro 15 today! Being Platinum Partners with FileMaker, Inc. we are able to work directly with FMI’s sales team to secure better pricing on new FileMaker Pro licenses and maintenance contract renewals than what customers have access to on their own.

Solutions:
Core4: A customizable CRM solution that allows users to efficiently manage areas including: contacts, calendars, tasks, correspondence, sales opportunities, estimates, invoices, inventory, projects, reports, and more.

Vessel Service Solutions: A vertical solution for the marine assistance industry that operates as a virtual command center to manage vessel assistance orders.

Plug-ins:
Outlook Manipulator: Exchange data with Microsoft® Outlook Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Mail, and Notes for the “user’s” default folder, public, and shared folders within the Exchange Environment and with any Exchange mailbox.

FM Books Connector: Connect QuickBooks® to your FileMaker solution and save time and energy by eliminating double entry of contacts, invoices, or sales transactions.

123sync: Accelerate the development of a personalized QuickBooks integration with your existing FileMaker solution.

FM Books Connector Online: Using QuickBooks Online? You can reap all of the benefits of connecting your FileMaker solution to your QuickBooks Online file.

Address Book Manipulator: Exchange data dynamically between FileMaker Pro and Macintosh’s Address Book in a “one-to-many” format that handles group and individual contacts, multiple addresses, phone numbers, and e-mails.

iCal Manipulator: Provides a bidirectional data exchange between FileMaker Pro and Apple Calendar / Reminders eliminating double entry and syncing FileMaker Pro with any iCal supported calendar type. Please download latest plug-in to ensure compatibility.

eSign Signature Capture: Decrease labor and processing time of your standard forms and increase security for your organization by capturing signatures and binding them to information stored in your FileMaker solution.

Biometric Fingerprint Reader: Allow for fast identification and secure verification capabilities that enable your FileMaker solution to recognize individual users without requiring passwords or card swipes.

PDF Manipulator: Search text contained within a PDF document, extract data from PDF form fields, create a searchable document management system, and process forms faster by eliminating the need to hand key information into your solution.

Change Printer: Automatically change printers, set optional printing attributes, coordinate large and complex print procedures, and switch between various types of printers/drivers such as: inkjet, laser, label, and PDF – all from your FileMaker solution. Please download latest plug-in to ensure compatibility.

File Manipulator: Access, copy, move, rename or delete files and folders, as well as compress/extract and encrypt/decrypt file data directly from your FileMaker solution.

For more information on compatibility or product details please contact sales@productivecomputing.com or call (760) 510 -1200.