FileMaker | CranstonIT - Blog

At Patete, it’s IT management for everything but the kitchen sink

Steve Erenrich has made a career of dealing in variables.

As the President and CEO of Patete Kitchen and Bath Design Center, Erenrich has helped hundreds of families in Western Pennsylvania choose everything from fixtures to faucets to flooring in the process of renovating and remodeling the most important rooms in their homes.

“We do the best we can to help our clients narrow down their options,” Erenrich said with a grin.

And that’s an understatement. Patete has been remodeling Pittsburgh-area homes since 1960 with an ever-changing array of materials, designs and environments, all with an eye on creating the perfect kitchen or bathroom space. Variables? Seemingly endless. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, are shared with Patete clients every month.

So when it comes to managing the technology that drives his business, you can’t blame Erenrich for choosing the path of least resistance, a simplified approach with the fewest options.

Success Story: Gymkhana Gymnastics sticks its landing with FileMaker, Apple and CranstonIT

As competitive gymnasts for the University of Pittsburgh back in the 1970s, Elliott Sanft and Ed Swerdlow learned at an early age the importance of precision. They learned how one misstep can often unravel years of diligent training and preparation.

Today, as owners of Gymkhana Gymnastics, Sanft and Swerdlow count on that precision not only in their gymnastics instruction but in their technology environment, as well. Gymkhana offers gymnastics programs and competitive training in four Pittsburgh-area locations — Point Breeze at The Factory, Bethel Park, Monroeville/Plum and Wexford — and depends on its FileMaker database for on-point student evaluations, record-keeping and accounting across all four sites.

Success Story: Momentum Builders Builds Buildings, Not Apps


Why builders build buildings, not apps

As one of the industry’s leading building envelope contractors, Momentum Builders prides itself on solving problems. In fact, the team welcomes the engineering challenges that structural, roofing, siding or pre-engineered metal building opportunities often bring.

“We’ve developed a culture of service and problem solving,” declared Kyle Smith, Owner/Operator and Business Manager of Momentum Builders, based in Mercer, PA, for the past 35 years.

But information technology is an entirely different animal, and finding solutions to tech glitches and roadblocks can reduce even burly construction engineers to wimps.

Smith oversees administrative processes related to production, account management, sales and marketing, and ensures that all documentation appropriately flows to every part of the business. Momentum Builders operates on a small Apple
® network — Mac® workstations, notebooks and servers — an anomaly in the largely PC-based construction world.  

“Because of our long history with Apple, we now expect everything to just work and just work quickly,” Smith said.  “We depend on a smooth, glitch-free environment that is fast and flexible.”

All is good, all is calm.

But it wasn’t always that way.

Back in the early 90s, when Momentum Builders was about a decade old, the company needed a fresh look at technology to keep pace with business growth.  It needed an administrative portal that would connect the key processes of construction projects with each arm of the company — sales to estimating to production and back to sales.  It needed an entirely new database, as well as a new network and IT management tools.

All was not good, all was not calm.

Ownership at that time had a vision, but not a solution, The team connected with CranstonIT, an emerging IT services company that specialized in Apple and FileMaker technologies.  Momentum Builders sought CranstonIT because of its reputation to remediate the tasks at hand while planning, solving and projecting for future business growth.


Success Story: Breathe PA develops custom app in fight against lung disease


Breathe Pennsylvania, a non-profit organization that empowers individuals to breathe better and live healthier, was gasping on its outdated technology.

The company was relying on a PC-driven FileMaker database that had not been updated in more than 10 years, especially problematic for a team dependent on fresh contacts and new fundraising opportunities.

“The old database was essentially becoming a black hole,” explained Brittany Zuckerman, Director of Development and Communications for Breathe Pennsylvania.  “Our staff was having trouble producing accurate data, and even with a second database for fundraising we became frustrated we couldn’t leverage our new contacts."


Keeping up? Create custom apps to automate tedious business processes

As companies expand, existing workflow processes don’t always keep up — especially if you are still relying on spreadsheets, word documents or even paper. Performance can lag, capabilities are compromised and solutions don't often scale as needed. Today’s growth-oriented businesses demand applications that are highly specialized, hyper-connected and quickly customized as needed. Read More...

Integrate Slack into your FileMaker App for Instant Notifications

Have you every wished that you could get instant notifications on your desktop or mobile device whenever something changes in your FileMaker solution? Now you can by leveraging the power of Slack. Keep your whole team up to date by integrating Slack into FileMaker. Past Due Invoices, new orders, missed deadlines, upcoming events, and routine daily reports are just a few ideas of how to use notifications in Slack to keep you and your team up to date where ever you are. Read More...

Maximize Your Business with a Custom App


When finding the right software solution to run your business seems like an exercise in futility, it may be time to consider a custom app. To decide whether or not a custom app is the right solution for you, there are a few questions you should first ask yourself.

  1. Have you ever found yourself wishing you had the software to run your business more efficiently?
  2. Are you tired of using software that wasn’t really built for your specific needs?
  3. Are you doing everything in spreadsheets or even still using paper and pencil?
  4. Do you have a workforce that needs access to the same information whether they’re at their desks or on the road?
  5. Do you find yourself constantly re-entering data because you’re using multiple different software solutions that don’t talk to each?
  6. Are automated reports on business activities just a beautiful daydream that you wish you could achieve?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, CranstonIT can help. Our in-house staff of full-time developers will custom build a software solution for your business.


New Cranston IT Employeee Creates Custom Apps for Business

Topher Reed and sons
Not everyone can create a convenient way for businesses to track data, details, dates, and other information in one convenient place, but for Cranston IT’s newest staff member, it’s all in a day’s work. As a FileMaker Developer for Cranston IT, Topher Reed spends his time developing custom FileMaker solutions for clients.

Topher has done just about everything in an IT department including development, data analytics, database management, network administration, and hardware administration. One of the aspects he likes most about his new job is being able to flex his creative muscles in problem solving. Read More...

Custom Business Solutions

As a small business ourselves, we at Cranston IT understand that there are lots of challenges that the modern small business face. You may need to be able to access your important data from different locations such as your office, warehouse, production floor or on the road. It is often critical that your information stays up to date or you may need to create a workflow process that employees can follow. Maybe you’re looking to make the transition from working on paper to electronically or perhaps you are trying to eliminate double entries of data. Whatever problem your business is looking to overcome, we at Cranston IT have a solution. Read More...

Success Story: GasketsRock rocks FileMaker Custom App

The Big Picture
GasketsRock, headquartered in Pittsburgh, is a manufacturing and installation company that develops commercial refrigerator gaskets of the highest OEM quality for hotels, casinos, restaurants and others. The company depends heavily on technology to streamline its business processes and improve its bottom line. In fact, technology enables GasketsRock to reduce the cost of supply chain management, product design and the overall manufacturing process. When the business experienced a surprise growth spurt, it needed to outsource an IT support company to help keep up with customer demand.

The Challenge
Job 1 was clear — GasketsRock needed to rebuild its database to modernize workflow and optimize scalability. The company was working with a database developer unable to keep pace with its growing business and evolving IT needs. Worse, its FileMaker database was experiencing numerous problems and wasn’t as scalable as needed. GasketsRock needed to make a change, according to Christopher Bladen, Director of Business Development. “We had issues trying to create an efficient process that would allow us to receive orders from across the country,” he said. “A process that would then convert those orders into a format that the factory could utilize for the manufacturing process.” Read More...

CranstonIT Welcomes New FileMaker Developer

Cranston IT is pleased to welcome Brad Cranston to our team of FileMaker Developers. Brad has been working as a subcontractor for Cranston IT since January, 2013, however, we felt hiring Brad as a full-time FileMaker Developer would truly benefit our business and our clients. Brad joined our team on January 1st, 2014.
When we started to grow rapidly, we realized we needed to hire another FileMaker developer to assist with developing and handling custom databases for our clients. Patrick Cranston, President at Cranston IT, took Brad under his wing to teach him how to build, troubleshoot, and update databases. Read More...

FileMaker 13 - A Step Forward in Business Management

Filemaker has been our go-to database solution for years. It’s great for custom building a business software solution for managing your business. If you need software to run your business but can’t find any pre-packaged software that suits your needs, a FileMaker database may be your solution. It’s cross platform and will work on Mac, PC and iOS.

FileMaker just released FileMaker 13. This new version introduces Web Direct. It’s now possible to get the full FileMaker experience through a web browser. That means that FileMaker can now be accessed directly from a web browser on your desktop or laptop. The FileMaker software no longer has to be installed on a computer. The connection is direct to the live database. Changes are immediately available just like you were working in the FileMaker Pro application. Read More...

FileMaker Databases for your Business

It’s a competitive world. That means businesses must be as efficient and productive as possible. This is especially true for small businesses. Often businesses cannot find a pre-made software program that works the way their business operates. That’s when a custom built database can help you take your business to the next level of automation and efficiency.

We recommend FileMaker Pro. This database software has been an industry leader for small and medium size businesses for over 20 years. It’s cross platform and data can be accessed from your Mac, Windows PC, web browser or iOS Device. Multiple users can access the database simultaneously from anywhere there is an internet connection. Read More...

Integrate Google Maps into your FileMaker database

We have numerous clients using FileMaker Pro databases to manage their business.  Sometimes these databases are used to schedule crews and salesmen. Being able to visualize where your crews or salesmen are going is a huge asset in a scheduler’s arsenal. We are able to integrate Google Maps directly into your FileMaker database to help you see where your employees are.

With the integration of ProMaps, the locations of your projects, contacts or any other needed address records are beautifully displayed so that you can keep track of all that is going on in your company’s business abroad.  Mapping also allows scheduler’s to see exactly where crews and salesmen are at any given time, allowing them to easily add in additional appointments.  Read More...