Guardian Pro Mouthguards

GuardianPro Mouthguards provide bespoke, handmade mouthguards for contact sports, specialising in large orders for schools and professional teams.

GuardianPro came to in need of a bespoke solution to help them manage their busy and rapidly growing business. They were unhappy with the various existing web and SaaS solutions that they had researched, and had already established very clear principles of what they wanted.

The Situation

The bulk of GuardianPro’s work is from schools and sports clubs. This results in a fairly complex workflow:

  • GuardianPro receive a list of names of people who are due to have mouthguards made for them. This list will also include the design and colour(s) that the mouthguard is due to have.
  • GuardianPro visit the school or club, and take an impression of the teeth of everyone who is to have a mouthguard. Names may be added or removed from the list at any time due to absentees or additions.
  • GuardianPro return to their lab in Lewes and create a perfectly fitting and very tough mouthguard to the customer’s specification.
  • The mouthguards are then posted back to the school or club for distribution to the individual wearer.

Even with a single order, payment could be coming from multiple different sources (e.g. a school could pay, or a parent could pay).

In a single order, GuardianPro can process hundreds of mouthguards, and this was all being handled with paper, so as is typical when developing FileMaker databases, the need to remove this paper usage was paramount. This was causing issues with legibility and order tracking, in particular because GuardianPro build physical, made to measure items that follow a manufacturing process from start to finish. Also included within the paper was a manual invoicing system that was hard to manage and felt disjointed from the business.

The Solution

GuardianPro would require access to their app on desktop computers and iPads in their laboratory, and they would need offline access on an iPad when they visited locations to take impressions. FileMaker fulfills these requirements perfectly. iSOS’ FileMaker developers have an established and highly-flexible framework that provides iSOS with a significant starting point for their development, the only major addition to which was an interactive mouthguard configurator.

Even before GuardianPro came to iSOS, they had very clear intentions of printing various labels to aid their production process. For example, a large label, affixed to a bag containing the impression of a person’s teeth, was required. This label would be a summary of the mouthguards to be made from this impression, allowing lab technicians to work without even needing to look up the order in the app. Because this label had to be printed from the iPad without a wi-fi network, iSOS had to integrate the app with a Bluetooth label printer. Other labels would be made back in the lab, allowing iSOS to directly AirPrint to networked printers, nearly all of which also had to work with the desktop version of the app.

Several barcodes were included on the main bag label, each directing to a different part of the order: the wearer, the order itself, and the impression which may be used again in the future. These can be scanned by any commercial barcode scanner to bring up details of the order within the app.

Challenges for iSOS

Presenting all necessary information in an app can be tricky, especially on the smaller screen of an iPad, but iSOS have created multiple FileMaker custom apps for iPads of all sizes, and they have refined their methods on their previous successes. In particular, showing who was paying for any particular mouthguard was a challenge due to some mouthguards being paid for by the schools, and others being paid for by the client directly.  

GuardianPro also required a mouthguard configurator to allow their customers to create their own mouthguard designs, and present it to them visually. iSOS’s solution allows customers to choose from the various styles that GuardianPro produce, and also to pick from a list of colours (which can be edited by GuardianPro). This configurator is also on GuardianPro’s new order website, which was an additional challenge because it allows customers to order mouthguards online before or after their dental impression was taken.

Syncing entries between two apps can be difficult, but iSOS’s solution allows GuardianPro to choose which orders they will need to access offline, and these will be pushed to their iPad for processing without an internet connection. When the impressions are taken and they’re back in the lab, they can sync the orders with the main app, including any new wearer and mouthguard information added whilst offline.

The Results

Before their app, GuardianPro had to organise all orders in a spreadsheet and sometimes even by hand. With their new FileMaker database solution, they have all their information at their fingertips, and can search through it instantaneously. Customers can now upload their information directly on GuardianPro’s website which is fed into their app, saving GuardianPro the effort of entering hundreds of customer details per order.

GuardianPro are now a paperless company and have their entire business solution in one integrated FileMaker system. Even something as simple as printing name labels for the mouthguards is now taking seconds instead of minutes because the wearer’s details do not need to be manually duplicated. They are already seeing huge benefits in the amount of time taken for impressions to be made, especially as clients can now fill out their own details on the app before being seen by the mouthguard clinician. Even something as simple as sending an invoice is now a one-click operation which will automatically email the recipient a PDF of their outstanding payments.

The FileMaker Go app is also allowing GuardianPro to audit their manufacturing process more effectively. For example, seeing the amount of resources they have used, and scanning teeth impressions when they reach the lab to establish that each impression has arrived safely.

As with all of their FileMaker solutions, iSOS built the system with future development in mind, ensuring its longevity and allowing futures upgrades to increase its abilities in the future.