When Kevin at Clutch Studios contacted 360Works, he was looking for a way to get out of the one- size-fits-all, high-end, subscription photography studio software they were using. The FileMaker solution that 360Works created for them streamlined their inventory and created a fast, online solution for clients. 360Works helped Clutch Studios get everything they without features they didn’t need, for less than a quarter of the price of their old software.
Clutch Studios is a pre-media, marketing photography studio that began in 2005. They are creative retouching artists and photo professionals that deliver on tight timelines and budgets for clients such as Harley-Davidson, BMW, Caterpillar, Kimberly-Clark, Kraft, Miller Coors, MINI USA, Motorola, and Nestle.
Clutch Studios manages inventory and detailed photo-shoot instructions for each piece of inventory that is sent to their studio from each client. For example, Harley-Davidson sends Clutch Studios a motorcycle jacket with specific instructions on how many and what kind of shots they want for each item. Clutch takes all the shots, then sends them to Harley-Davidson for changes or for approval. Once the photos are approved, the inventory is shipped back to Harley-Davidson. This process presents a number of logistical challenges for the Clutch team. Keeping the photos connected to each piece of inventory until they are shipped back is crucial. Given the high volume of inventory and associated shots, the possibility of inventory and instructions slipping through the cracks is high.
To manage the tracking of this process, Clutch needed software that filled their specific needs. Kevin Vogelhut, in-house database manager said, “There are a few studio management software solutions and there are inventory management solutions, but I could not find a solution to tackle both.”
Clutch Studios was using expensive studio management software through a subscription. Although this software had much of the functionality they needed, they were only using a small portion of the product’s capability. When it was time to re-new their subscription, their software provider required an expensive upgrade on top of a monthly subscription fee. Kevin used FileMaker in the past and knew that if they could find a good developer to customize a solution specifically for Clutch’s photo needs, it could save the company a lot of money and time. Kevin found 360Works after many local developers recommended SuperContainer, a software application that offers fast speeds, web browser uploads, smaller file sizes, and cross-platform file path compatibility that works well with FileMaker. Kevin recalls, “Part of what the local developers were going to do for me was buy SuperContainer, so I decided to go right to the source and contact 360Works directly.”
As soon as Kevin spoke with 360Works, he knew he made the right decision. There were the only one who was able to clearly understand what Kevin wanted. 360Works agreed that SuperContainer was a perfect solution. With SuperContainer, Clutch project managers can drag and drop studio-size photos into the online web- viewer and it will automatically resize the photos to a thumbnail for the customer to browse. The customer can go online through Clutch Studio’s website and click on the photo to view a larger version that is still small enough to download quickly. Then they can instantly approve or add comments. The Clutch Studios team can view the comments right away to make timely revisions. Additionally, 360Works came up with a way to track each piece of inventory through the entire process by using a system of bar codes for each item. Now when an item arrives, it is scanned during each phase including receiving, shoot instructions, the actual shoot, customer sign-off, and item return. Every shot has a bar code and status associated with it so they do not have to add the status into FileMaker manually. Kevin couldn’t believe how great the development process was with 360Works, “they were patient with us during the design process, we had a great working relationship and they executed the design well.”
Clutch Studio clients now have easy and quick online access to their photos as soon as they are posted. The client immediately views the photos and quickly makes comments or approves the shots without scheduling a meeting. The process allows Clutch Studios to provide faster more accurate service. Now that the entire process is tracked using the barcode system, they have avoided mistakes and headaches. Both solutions are incredible time and money savers for the studio.
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