Using ShipStation makes sense for some FileMaker users

We’re all about using the best tools for the job. While we use FileMaker for most of our day-to-day development needs, we also dabble with other technologies like MySQL, MS SQL Server, Xojo and PHP. The same can be said for enabling shipping functionality for our customers. ShipStation has a workflow where Orders from multiple soures are turned into shipments during the fulfillment process. This is very similar to how NRGship is can be integrated with other FileMaker databases, but there are instances where sending order data from FileMaker to ShipStation, or pulling order data from ShipStation to FileMaker make sense.

NRG’s multi-carrier Ship Connect supports over a dozen parcel and freight carriers across the US, Canada and Australia and can be integrated to your FileMaker database so you have labels printing in about 10 minutes. In addition, Ship Connect has integrations to many of the top ecommerce providers like Shopify, Big Commerce, Magento and Amazon so you can download orders directly into NRG. For most FileMaker users, NRGship is the most cost-effective option to add shipping functionality to your database.

Where ShipStation makes sense is if you have multiple sales channels and need to manage inventory between them. For example, ShipStation could be used to download orders from Amazon, WalMart and other sources but also take in internal order data from FileMaker Pro. Building out all of the API integrations into your FileMaker system and then maintaining them is a monumental task – no in-house developer wants to be taking on that development and maintenance, nor do they want to pay an outside developer to code and fix future problems at an hourly rate. Note also that ShipStation does not allow shipping FROM FileMaker. ShipStation is simply an order manager that allows you to fulfill orders thru the ShipStation interface – whereas NRGship offers a full feature set for address validation, rating, shipping, pickup requests and tracking in FileMaker.

Send Orders to ShipStation from FileMaker Pro

We recently did a project where the customer was already using ShipStation and didn’t want to spend the monies to upgrade their FileMaker application nor integrate their FileMaker system with multiple channels due to overall cost. With our 20+ years of experience building solutions that simplify workflow, we took an alternate approach to create a simple replacement for an existing NRGship integration which would push order data to ShipStation and pull back tracking data after shipment. We started by adding a Ship button script that calls the ShipStation API with order data so it’s in queue for fulfillment. We then built additional scripts to get order status along with associated shipments so that the user can invoke a refresh on the order, otherwise a scheduled server-side process updates records so that FileMaker shows the proper order status to internal staff. One caveat was that in order to create an Order in ShipStation, we had to add additional scripts to capture ID values from ShipStation for Carriers, Services and Stores so that we could populate the correct values when creating orders.

Sample: FileMaker Scripts for ShipStation Orders

Downloading Orders to FileMaker Pro from ShipStation

Another project we did pulls order data from ShipStation for fulfillment. This customer didn’t like the actual shipping workflow in ShipStation, but did like utilizing all of the eCommerce integrations that were built-in. To start, they had bene downloading CSV order data and importing into their order system as a manual process. For this customer we built a server-side script which periodically downloads any new orders from ShipStation and creates records in their FileMaker order entry system. Orders are then shipped thru NRGship for more finite control. After shipment, we then update the ShipStation order status and provide tracking data. ShipStation then facilities updating the eCommerce system to reflect the order status with no additional development effort.

If you’re interested in hearing more about how NRG can connect your FileMaker database with services like ShipStation, please contact our sales department.

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NRGship Pro for FedEx adds additional return options

NRG Software is excited to announced that NRGship Pro for FedEx now supports two additional return label options in additon to the existing print & return option.

The first option is FedEx Call Tags. When you submit a call tag request, a FedEx driver will be dispatched to pickup the package and provide a printed label for the package. With this option your customer does not have to have access to the internet or a printer as FedEx will provide the shipping label.

The second option is an Email Return Label. With email returns, your customer will receive an email with a link where they can print a label for the package. In addition, they can take the package to a FedEx shipping location like FedEx Office or Walgreens and show a barcode in the email and the location can print out the shipping label for them.

Please contact NRG Software if you need assistance in upgrading your application or integrating return labels with FileMaker Pro.

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Here’s how to create FileMaker server-side Snapshot Links

Have you tried to create Snapshot Links in your server scripts but they fail when users try to open them? When creating Snapshot Links with server-side scripts, the IP of the host is used to create them which leads to invalid Snapshot Links for clients running outside the local network. Often, the host IP is an internal IP number which is not accessible to the outside world. When these Snapshot Links are emailed to users, they throw an error when they try to open them. Snapshot Links created using the FileMaker Pro application don’t have this issue because the links are built using the host used to access the database file, which should be a fully-qualified domain name (FQDN) if you’re using best practices.

Snippet from a Snapshot Link file showing the internal IP numbers

Using the Data File script steps that have been available since FileMaker 18, you can easily read in the Snapshot Link file, replace the IP number for 127.0.0.1, and then send the Snapshot Link in an email from a server script.

In the sample script below, we first go to the proper layout, record and sort order that we want the user to be on when they open the Snapshot Link. We then save the Snapshot Link. Once saved, we open the file and read the contents. The contents then have a simple subsitute to replace 127.0.0.1 with the valid FQDN of the host. We then write the file back to disk and send it out as an email attachment. Problem solved!

Using FileMaker Data File script steps to fix the Snapshot Link file

NRG Software has utilized Snapshot Links to automate server-side reminders for common business needs like Reorder Emails, CRM follow-ups, etc. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss adding server-side automation to your FileMaker Pro solution.

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InsureShield™ Shipping Insurance vs Carrier Liability: What’s the difference?

You’ve heard about InsureShield™ shipping insurance, but may be wondering how it differs from standard carrier liability.

The short answer, it’s a night and day difference.

Carrier liability is the standard liability offered by the carrier for a shipment, in the event of loss or damage (e.g. up to $100 for small package, or $25/lb. for LTL). Excess liability is excess-value coverage (e.g. more than the carrier’s standard liability), up to the cost of the shipment.

Carrier liability is based on small-print terms and a web of governing statutes, some of which date to the 1930’s. At their core, all the statutes allow carriers to limit their exposure and exempt a variety of situations from their liability.

Here are the key points of differentiation between carrier liability, excess liability and InsureShield shipping insurance offered through UPS Capital.

InsureShield shipping insurance provides coverage beyond carrier liability and excess liability. InsureShield shipping insurance covers the following1:

  • Reimbursement up to the full invoice value of the goods, plus shipping
  • Concealed damage coverage when reported within 90 days
  • Expedited reshipment up to 20% of the insured value of the goods

To learn more or add InsureShield shipping insurance to your account, click here.

1 Information on insurance services and coverage provided by UPS Capital Insurance Agency, Inc.

Insurance Disclaimer

Insurance coverage is underwritten by an authorized insurance company and issued through licensed insurance producers, including UPS Capital Insurance Agency, Inc. (“UPSCIA”), a subsidiary of UPS Capital Corporation (“UPS Capital”). The insurance company, UPSCIA and its licensed affiliates reserve the right to change or cancel the program at any time. You may be offered the opportunity to insure eligible shipments under a policy of insurance (the “Policy”) issued: (i) directly to you; (ii) to UPS Capital; or (iii) to the sender/ publisher of this communication.  Where the Policy is issued to UPS Capital or such sender/publisher, such Policy extends coverage to your eligible shipments, but you are neither an insured nor an additional insured under such Policy. In the event of a loss covered under such Policy, any resulting claim payment shall be directed to you as a loss payee. This information does not in any way alter or amend the terms, limitations or exclusions of the applicable Policy and is intended only as a brief summary. Insurance coverage is not available in all jurisdictions and coverage is governed by the terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions set forth in the applicable Policy.

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NRGship Pro for UPS now supports QuickBooks Online

Recent updates to NRGship Pro for UPS include support for QuickBooks Online. Now you can easily ship from QuickBooks Online with ease from your Mac. Once configured, simply enter an order # to have destination information auto-populated. You can then capture weights from a digital scale and output labels to thermal printer or other device. After shipment, the order will be updated in QuickBooks so that tracking data is displayed for full visibility.  Contact NRG Sales for further information on integration with QuickBooks Online.

Connecting NRGship Pro to QuickBooks Online
How to ship QuickBooks Online invoices from NRGship Pro

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