Archive for category Tools & Tips

Updating FileMaker data with Zebra mobile devices

We were recently working on a project where we needed to verify order fulfillment and staging prior to pickup by the shipping carriers.

In most instances, we’d use FileMaker Go on an iPod Touch or iPad for mobile users, but this project required that we scan barcodes quickly for optimum performance.

As a proof of concept, we created a simple FileMaker Web Direct interface so that staff could scan boxes as they were packed, and before they were put onto a pallet. The Zebra TC20 is an Android 8.1 device that accesses Web Direct with it’s Chrome browser thru a wireless connection. The TC20 is ruggedized and features a built-in barode scanner which is perfect for use in a warehouse environment.

In the video below, you can see how this streamlined interface works. The user can choose from two scanning modes – one to verify packing and the other to mark which pallet the package is on awaiting pickup. We used just a single field for barcode scanning to reduce the overall complexity.

One option we considered was using FileMaker Go on an iPod Touch or iPad. We decided not to go this route for a variety of reasons:

  • Scanning barcodes is trickier with multiple appearing on the package. We wanted to reduce the chance of false-scans using the camera on the mobile device
  • External barcode scanners on iOS can be clunky to use. With the Zebra it’s one device to manage.
  • Using the the iPod Touch or iPad would require a ruggedized case
  • There’s greater chance of loss of device with an iPod Touch or iPad with seasonal staff
  • Using a iPod Touch sled like the Linea Pro adds considerable cost and requires the use of custom plugins along with the iOS App SDK.

Another alternative to using Web Direct is building a native web app that communicates with the FileMaker backend using the Data API to update order status.

Please contact our Sales Department for further information if you’d like help creating a mobile warehouse solution.

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What’s the best way to ship from FileMaker Pro?

With NRGship and FileMaker Pro you have two options for shipping and choosing between them often depends on what makes sense for your workflow.

Integrated shipping is our preferred method and it allows you to utilize the full capabilites of NRGship across your organization on the desktop or iOS. We often suggest that things start during order entry with address validation. This ensures that the recipient information is correct before the order ever hits your shipping department, and allows you to have a clean address in your backend CRM for future use. From your order, it’s easy to add simple rating functionality based on the content of your order so that you can charge your customer based on the estimate, or provide expedited service options based on a certain delivery date. Once the order has shipped, cost information can be returned back to the order along with the tracking number. The tracking number then provides visibility right on the order without having to check the carrier software or website. With integrated shipping you can seamlessly utilize the power of your shipping carriers without ever leaving your own database.

Overview: Integrated Shipping

Keyed shipping most closely resembles the process you would have using carrier software integrated with FileMaker. You would key in an order number and the data would appear in the shipment. The shipping staff then adds packages, validates the address, runs rates and produces the shipping label. After shipment, the cost information is returned back to your order so that you have visibility across your organization. Since NRGship is built with FileMaker Pro, you can leverage it’s functionality to provide far more complex shipping than you could with the carrier software alone.

NRGship is a Carrier Certfied provider that powers hundreds of businesses who ship UPS, FedEx and USPS with FileMaker Pro without the need to setup external services or perform complex API coding. Contact our sales staff to setup a time for a demo of NRGship and see how it can improve your entire business.

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Turn an unprecedented peak into unprecedented success: Get Holiday Tips from FedEx

Between managing your customers’ expectations, safety and the rising demand for buying holiday gifts and essentials online, planning for this unprecedented peak season can make your head spin.

But it’s also a chance at unprecedented success. Industry experts and retailers share ten tips for getting a head start, from promotions and inventory to scheduling shipping for on-time delivery, all with the superior customer experience that builds year-round customer-loyalty.

Get Holiday Tips

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Sanitize for Safety: How to properly disinfect your devices

Thoroughly disinfecting your Zebra devices on a routine basis is essential to controlling the spread of infections and maintaining the safety of your employees.

Follow these guidelines — organized by product and model number — to implement an effective cleaning protocol.

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How can I export my UPS Address Book for use in NRGship?

Whether you have been using UPS.com or WorldShip for your shipping needs, you can easily export your address book information for use in NRGship.

UPS.com Address Book
WorldShip Address Book

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