MaxHOME, LLC, makes high-end furniture - sofas, chairs, and ottomans. Headquartered in Fulton, MS with manufacturing facilities in Alabama and Mississippi, the quality and design of their furniture are unique. The struggle to create forms using AFP, however, is not unique. It is a common issue that affects many companies.
For years, Max Home used AFP to produce Order Forms, Invoices, Bills of Lading, Purchase Orders and Customs documents such as NAFTA forms. The forms were printed on older, expensive IBM printers using the IPDS option. Using AFP to create and design their forms meant any modifications required changes to the printer files (programming). AFP provided limited fonts, and margins varied from printer to printer which made it difficult to line up forms. The forms also used overlays, and any modification to the overlay required the overlay to be changed, re-uploaded, and re-tested.
Missy Dawson is the Programmer/Analyst at Max Home responsible for programming the forms. When Dawson called TL Ashford to discuss Barcode400, the bar code labeling solution by TL Ashford, Keith Suedkamp from TL Ashford told her about the TLAForms software. Dawson downloaded TLAForms, and Suedkamp walked her through a demo of the package. Missy’s response was “Oh wow, this is awesome, and I want to do this with every form because it’s so much easier [than AFP]!”
With AFP, Missy was stuck working with overlays to create complex forms. When asked how she liked working with overlays, her response was quick and direct. “I hate them,” she said. The TLAForms Graphical Designer provides tools, like full-color lines, rectangles, and images that provide the ability to create complex forms without the hassle of overlays. She also has a wide variety of fonts with which to work, and it is easy to import and resize color images to use on the forms. When asked if there were specific features in TLAForms that convinced her to switch from AFP, “All of it!” she said.
TLAForms provides additional functionality to output the forms. Using AFP, Missy settled for printing the forms to old, expensive IBM printers. With TLAForms, she can print to any type of printer. MaxHome chose HP printers that are much more affordable. The forms can be saved to a network drive and/or automatically emailed. She used the SQL and Actions features within TLAForms to dictate whether a form is printed or emailed. The SQL statement searches the BUYER file to find an email address. The Action she created instructs if the email address is found, email a PDF of the form (don’t print it). If an email address is not available, print the form. In addition, all forms are saved as a PDF file to the network, so they have an electronic copy of all of their forms.
Missy hasn’t quantified the savings from switching to TLAForms, but it’s fair to say the printers they now use are less expensive, and the amount of time to create and change forms is dramatically reduced. The ability to generate the form as a PDF, archive the form, and automatically email the form would be worth switching even if the savings were neutral. “We are saving money and time,” Missy said.