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Independence Cryogenic Engineering (ICE) specializes in remanufacturing, servicing and installation of cooler systems used on MRI magnets. Founded in 1994, ICE is an almost $4 million company offering an alternative to high-priced original equipment manufacturers' replacement parts and labor costs to medical companies, such as General Electric, Phillips Medical, Siemens Medical, as well as hospitals and medical group research organizations.
The company's unique parts inventory, product offerings, vendors and customers, and service contracts have grown significantly in number and complexity over the years and the methods the company had in place for tracking key business data became outdated and inefficient.
Over the years, ICE had developed and modified individual FileMaker databases for its various operations (i.e. purchase orders, tracking parts, tracking services numbers), but realized that to efficiently manage this growth it needed to streamline its processes with one database.
"In addition to streamlining processes in the office, we also needed to become more efficient in our shop," said Sue Hughes, managing director at ICE. "By streamlining processes, we hope to better control costs by being able to identify trends and effectively plan for the future."
If ICE knows how much it actually costs to repair each product that comes into its shop, the costs of its light manufacturing processes, and has a better handle on its inventory, the company will be better able to improve its bottom line. Having worked with FileMaker Pro for a number of years, ICE was very familiar with its ease of use and customization capabilities. However, with no in-house developer available, the company had not been able to utilize FileMaker's fully relational and dynamic functionality for easy and accurate data storage and tracking.
ICE evaluated numerous off-the-shelf solutions and determined that FileMaker was still the best product to meet its needs and its price point. ICE selected IT Solutions Consulting to develop its comprehensive FileMaker solution to be used companywide. "IT Solutions is one of very few FileMaker developers on the East Coast," explained Hughes. "They are close to our office and have the expertise to develop a top-notch solution."
The new FileMaker Pro 7 database will be used for ICE's everyday operations from tracking orders, parts that are in-house to be repaired, customers, shipping data and inventory control.
As a part comes in to be repaired, for example, it will be scanned using one of the shop's three barcode readers and the information will be automatically entered into the FileMaker database. An order will then be created, the inventory control module will be updated, and if the inventory is getting low for that particular part, a notification will be sent to the appropriate person.
"The inventory control module helps us track our inventory costs more closely and be more productive," said Hughes. "The primary benefit is in our streamlined processes - saving time and increasing accuracy of information. We now know where the parts are and whether we have the right inventory."
"We pride ourselves in the high level of service that we provide our clients and expect this same level from our vendors," said Hughes. "IT Solutions is superior in their service. They took the time to learn our business and understand our needs. They are very easy to work with and extremely professional."
"IT Solutions is superior in their service. They took the time to learn our business and understand our needs."
Susan Hughes, Managing Director, Independence Cryogenic Engineering