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Eclipse Users Group/UFO Newsletter
March 2012 Vol 112

President's Update

Terry Kin, UFO President


Even though the winter was fairly easy on us, I'm happy that Spring and warm weather are fast approaching.

Please remember what tools your UFO membership affords you and your company: Bulletin boards; Enhancement committees; Newsletters; UFO sponsored Training; opportunities to network with your fellow Eclipse users; and much, much more...

Free Training..... Who doesn't like free training? Remember that now all archived classes are free and all training for the first half of 2012 will be free also. You can't beat great training at zero cost. Please make sure your company is taking advantage of this great offer from the training committee.

Insights (Formerly Summit) is fast approaching and I'm hoping you are able to attend to learn, share, and network with other fellow Eclipse users. Insights will be a very busy and productive time for the UFO board:

- Make sure to stop and visit the booth to find out what's new and get in our drawings to win great prizes.

- The UFO board will have one of our yearly face to face meetings. Many topics will be discussed to further the impact of the UFO group.

- I hope you'll make time to sit in our UFO membership update and get an update on our activities and plans for 2012.

- The UFO Exec board will be meeting the Epicor Executives to discuss the opportunities our users face and work towards common goals for everyone.

- You will see UFO board members at the booth and in general during the conference and I invite you to stop and talk to any board member regarding any UFO topics you may have.

Lastly, I hope to see and speak to as many UFO members as possible at Insights. Sharing your thoughts and ideas is the simplest way to help the group improve.


Thank You


IN THIS ISSUE - Click the Title to go to the Article
SPA - TSC Case Study
Did You Know? News & Events Calendar
User Tip - Internal Order Entry Comments - Solar
REAMS - MITS Case Study
Class Registration Closed
Data View Business Intelligence - SMP

New Members

B.A. Robinson,
Winnipeg, MB Canada 
Mountain Contractors Supply,
Salt Lake City, UT

Shore Distributors, Inc

Salisbury, MD

Returning Members
Auburn Supply,
Markham, IL

Strategic Pricing TSC Distribution Case Study


"For us, Strategic Pricing was the most effective, systematic way to improve our margins."

Joel Becker, President/CEO | TSC Distribution Group


Strategic Pricing Case Study


TSC Distribution Group / Torrington Supply Company

Company Facts

  • Location: Waterbury, Connecticut
  • Industry: Plumbing/HVAC/PVF
  • Number of Employees: 135
  • Number of Locations: 13

Success Highlights


  • Help a successful New England plumbing/ HVAC distributor to retain and improve margin in an increasingly competitive market.


  • Margin improvement of 4.9% on 30% of 2011 sales yielded an overall margin increase of 1.5% that went directly to the company's bottom line
  • Increased bottom line margins by 3 percent
  • Minimal customer pushback on price increases



TSC Distribution Group, the parent for Torrington Supply Company, based in Waterbury, Connecticut, is a plumbing/HVAC distributor that has been serving contractor, industry, and institutional customers throughout Connecticut and western Massachusetts since 1917.


TSC has relied on the Epicor Eclipse enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to help run its business profitably and efficiently since 1995. "For years, we used a combination of activity-based costing and the Eclipse velocity pricing programs to maximize our margins," notes Joel Becker, TSC President/CEO. "We knew there was additional margin opportunity with slow-moving customer/product combinations, but we did not have the analytical or computing skills to analyze the millions of customer/product combinations that would give us the thousands of small margin gains for specific customer/product sales. In 2009, Epicor introduced Strategic Pricing, which was what we had been looking for." 


Strategic Pricing: The Basics



For every product/customer sale combination, there is an optimal price-the highest price a distributor can obtain while retaining the customer's business. This is often different for different product/customer combinations.Strategic Pricing is a pricing architecture based on the principle that there are many small margin opportunities which, in aggregate, can yield 2-4 percent in additional pricing margin points for the distributor.



Recognizing the value that strategic pricing would provide to distributors, Epicor formed an exclusive relationship with Strategic Pricing Associates (SPA) to seamlessly integrate a strategic pricing module into its Eclipse product. Since all that is needed is sales history, the data already exists in most distributors' systems. Epicor customers can easily export the data for analysis and then load the resulting pricing structures/files into the system.


Achieving Incremental Margin Gains



According to Becker, "I always thought we had additional pricing opportunities and were not using our sales history data effectively to set our pricing. When I heard about Strategic Pricing from Epicor, it was exactly what we had been trying to do on our own."



TSC began implementing Strategic Pricing in July 2009. It was a gradual and incremental process. Explains Becker, "To reap the full advantage of Strategic Pricing takes a good deal of time and thought during the setup phase. It requires a fairly detailed understanding of your customer segments, product segments, and markets, as well as recognition of how your company currently sets pricing policy."


SPA Table



 As indicated by the data, in 2011, 30 percent of the company's sales and 52 percent of its lines were priced using the SPA matrices. The "SPA effect" is the price difference between how the product is priced with the SPA matrix and how it would have been priced if TSC did not have Strategic Pricing (which is recorded for every sale).



"For sales priced using the SPA matrix, we earned an additional 4.6 and 4.9 percent in margin in 2010 and 2011, respectively. These are enormous margin gains with virtually no customer pushback that we never could have achieved without Strategic Pricing," observes Becker.



 He concludes, "As you can see, the impact of hundreds of thousands of small increases in price adds up to be very significant. For us, Strategic Pricing was the most effective, systematic way to improve our margins."










Did You Know? News & Events Calendar on Website

By Julie Driscoll, Marketing Committee Chair


Did you know... that the Eclipse Users Group website has a News and Events Calendar? There is a News & Events Calendar link at the top right of every web page.

News & Events Link


Check the calendar to see important information like upcoming classes, workshops, vendor presentations and news items.


News & Events Calendar


Did you know... If you double click on the top line of a link it takes you to the page with the information. If you click a news item like the Official Response from Epicor it takes you to the News page and that article or if you double click a class it takes you to the class detail page, where you can register. It is a "quick look" at monthly events.

Internal Order Entry Comments - Solar

by Dennis Bach, Consumer Pipe & Supply Co.


Internal OE Line Item Comments: This comment when added to the line items doesn't show or print on any customer documents, it's strictly an internal comment that follows that line item on the Sales Order or Purchase Order.


Comes in handy for adding buying sources, quoted cost, availability, etc.


From the System > System Files menu, select Order Entry Comments Maintenance to display the OE Comment Maintenance window.

  1. In the Comment Type field, press F10 and select a comment type. Alternatively, to create a new comment type, select File > New and enter a new description when prompted.
  2. For each area, in the Display Allowed column, select the check box if you want to display or print the comment.

For example, to make the comment visible in sales order entry, select the check box adjacent to SOE. To make the comment print on sales order entry forms, select the check box adjacent to SOE Printing.

  1. In the Entry Allowed column, select a check box to enable entry and editing of the comment. For example, to make the comment available in sales order entry, select the check box adjacent to Sales Order Entry.
  2. In the Header Comment field,enter text that always displays above the comment itself as an introduction. On an order, this text signals the beginning of the comment and what it pertains to. For example, with a replacement product description comment, you could enter a header that always reads, "**Replacement Description**."

 We know for sure this is in Release, but users say it was there before that. You can find this documentation in the Eclipse Help F11.

Leading Irrigation & Landscape Supply House Enhances Popular ERP Solution For Distributors 


Management Information Tools, Inc (MITS), an Epicor business partner, has been supplying reporting, analytical and business intelligence software to distributors for nearly 16 years. The new offering, MITS Distributor Analytics TM is being very well received by Eclipse customers wanting to improve their business operations by providing meaningful, actionable information to both management and staff. In the example below, Bryce Bousquet from REAMS describes some of the early results they have achieved with MITS Distributor Analytics.


REAMS is a leading distributor of drainage, landscape lighting, ponds, edging, weed mat, tools and irrigation supplies. The company serves organizations involved in residential development and commercial projects including sports fields, vineyard development and a wide range of other projects.
REAMS President





REAMS uses Epicor Eclipse to manage its business and run day-to-day operations. The solution is very well suited to REAMS' business, and the company uses it extensively-including an array of pre-defined reports that make up part of the solution.


The REAMS team learned about an analytics solution designed specifically to help wholesale distributors get more from their Eclipse systems. The MITS Distributor Analytics solution is designed to speed and simplify key tasks, providing easy-to-use tools for tracking and optimizing inventory levels, inventory profitability, sales trends, cash flow and collections.


Part of the appeal was the solution's completeness and maturity. The MITS solution encompasses four sets of cubes, dashboards and reports. One analyzes Inventory Return on Assets (ROA), another tracks Sales, a third covers Receivables and the fourth focuses on Inventory On Hand.


Getting started was smooth. The solution was 100% live and running well just a week after the process began-a pleasant surprise to team members who have seen their share of time-consuming, labor-intensive software implementations. "All the information was there in what felt like a snap of the fingers," says Bousquet. "Our biggest task was a simple, one-hour online training session-and then we were off."


At the executive level, Bousquet keeps tabs on the overall business. An Executive Dashboard reveals key business metrics at a glance, and he regularly consults a handful of interactive dashboards to look for unusual patterns in sales, inventory, receivables and more. At month end, he blocks out a few hours for an in-depth look at inventory return on assets, margins, and other important reference points.


Bousquet cites time savings as one of the most important benefits the solution offers. Even where a MITS report is very similar to a canned Eclipse offering, there's a tremendous difference. If an Eclipse report revealed a possible issue, it might take hours of downloads and Excel studies to get to the root of the problem. With the MITS solution, managers can drill down from an online dashboard and pinpoint the cause in a matter of seconds.


Bousquet gives an example. "Say there's a potential issue with a vendor. Using the MITS viewer, you can isolate the problem to a specific item, for example, with just a few clicks. Without MITS, you could have the answer, too-but it might require looking at seven different reports and cross-referencing them manually until something jumps out. MITS saves so much time in situations like these we can't really measure it. It's that good." And, because the REAMS team is able to make better-informed decisions on inventory and in other areas, the firm is more easily reaching the goals it set for itself.


As the next selling season kicks into high gear, the REAMS team expects the MITS solution to be a key enabler. "We'll continue to stay on plan for inventory, which is critical," says Bousquet. Even more importantly, the team will be able to analyze, at the customer level, who's buying and who isn't-in time to do something about it.


"We'll also see where we might be leaving margin on the table, in plenty of time to re-calibrate and capture more revenues," Bousquet concludes. "The ability to make these adjustments in-season, on a dynamic basis, will be invaluable."


Bousquet finishes up with "MITS paid for itself in the first 60 days by highlighting some areas of concern, that at the time were not red-alert issues, but would have become so had we discovered them farther down the road."


For more information, contact Colin Sherman, MITS Corporate Accounts Manager, at 206.550.6854 or to learn more! Or visit  for a video demonstration.



 MITS logo

Questions about Our Class Registration Process

by Mary Barlow, Executive Director


If you haven't taken advantage of the FREE TRAINING benefit so far please make sure you check out the classes on the website. .


Because our classes are free until June 30th we have had a few questions or issues arise regarding registration.


On-site Classes


We close the registration for these classes 10 days in advance of the first date of the two day class session. We do that because we have to print and ship the handout booklets for the correct number of attendees in addition to names tags and other documents. We also give the total number of attendees to the contact at the host site so they may order the proper amount of food for the two days.


These session are just that ON-SITE at a specific location which is detailed in the class description. If you register for an on-site class you receive an immediate email from the system stating that you have registered for the class. Two weeks before the class an individual email is sent to each attendee telling them when the class starts, the location of the class and hotel information you might need. The hotel information is Always on the website along with the physical location of the class, in the right border of the class detail page.


When you don't register before the "Closing Date" and want to attend it may not be possible for us to get all the pieces in place in time.  This date is stated in the class description and on emails sent out about the class.


If you register and don't show up, it cost the Group money so please either drop the class if you cannot attend (before the registration closing date) or email Suzanne, if it is already closed. We might be able to reduce the amount of food purchased and save some money.  Please consider that your registration, though free to you, cost the Group money.




We close the webinar registrations 24 hours prior to the class. The reason for this is because we manually register each attendee with GoToWebinar, to save you a step and avoid confusion. If you are registered you receive an email from GoToMeeting (domain with the links to join and to add the session to your Outlook calendar. Suzanne then sends out the handouts to each attendee along with the "just in case you didn't get the email from GoToWebinar" link to click to join the webinar. Suzanne starts the session right at 2pm EDT giving information to the attendees. When someone tries to get onto a class at the last minute it is impossible for her to send them the information while managing the class.


If the Webinar Class Registration is Closed and you wish to attend you MUST send an Email At Least One Hour Before the Class Starts. The person to be registered MUST be a Contact in your Company file or they cannot be registered even by us.


We want as many people as possible to take advantage of the UFO training but please understand why we have to close registrations as we do and make every effort to register before the class registrations are closed.



Data View Business Intelligence:

See How SMP is Integrating Business Intelligence, CRM and Eclipse to Better Your Business


Business Intelligence. It's the latest buzzword in sales and marketing. But, people are buzzing about it for good reason - it's helping teams work smarter in a time where some sales staffs are still lean from the economic downturn. Business Intelligence, or BI as it's often called, mainly refers to reporting tools used in identifying, extracting and analyzing business data, such as sales revenue by products, branches or sales team. BI has often been thought of as a tool exclusively for executives. Now, your entire sales team can gain access to key BI information simply by subscribing to Sales Management Plus - the easiest to use CRM and Analytics tool available for Eclipse users.

Recently, The SMP Team introduced a fully-incorporated BI tool for Sales Management Plus called DataView. When coupled with your Eclipse ERP, it provides historical, current and predictive views of your company's business to support better business decision-making processes. And, because DataView is a part of Sales Management Plus' easy-to-use CRM and Analytics environment, it's accessible to everyone on the team - executives, managers, outside and inside reps, and marketing.


No more hearing groans about difficult-to-manage reporting processes, endless requests going to the IT team seeking this report or that report. All members of the sales team have everything they need to develop and tweak reports to get the BI intel they need to be successful. Best of all, managers can create canned reports for their teams to access, including the same types of key indicators that executives use to monitor success.  


DataView by SMP is different from other products on the market because it allows you to marry the BI with customer activity touchpoints, opportunities and customer intelligence. It features key data points from Eclipse, including vendors, part identifiers, classifying codes, selling branch, cost/sell and more.  In addition, customer data such as location (address, city, state and zip), bill to/ship to accounts, and assigned account manager, as well as values like customer profiling, credit status, and more are also integrated.  It truly helps your team maximize the value of existing Eclipse data, and even allows you to go from thought to execution by incorporating SMP push-marketing tools based on report insights. 


Key benefits include:

  • Empowering your reps with the data they want AND need
  • Arming your team with the customer intelligence and buying trends they need to up-sell, cross-sell and meet overall sales goals
  • Reduce the report workload on your company's IT team
  • Providing the marketing team the information and tools they need to promote your product lines in a smart, effective manner.

What does DataView Business Intelligence tool look like? How does it work?

  • Checklists allow users to determine up-front what data points are most important for their specific pivot table/report needs.
  • Drag and Drop functionality inside a pivot table- style form makes the manipulation and layout of reports easy to manage.
  • Sorting, grouping and filtering functionality is similar to MS Excel, shortening the learning curve.
  • Options for saving data as "private," "admin only," or "public" allows the user to determine which types of SMP users can access the report, or save it for their own purposes.
  • Many options exist for graphing the data, allowing each user to customize the view AND determine the volume of data graphed.  Only want to see the "top 10" in graph form?  It's no problem with DataView.

These factors make BI accessible to everyone on the sales team, and allow any SMP user the ability to access the data they want to see, when and where they want. No more involving IT every time a user wants to see a certain sales breakdown report. No more wondering "what am I going to get back when I ask for this report".


Current customers are raving about the DataView Business Intelligence tool. Here's what they have to say.

"SMP did an awesome job with the creation of DataView. It's intuitive and takes pressure off me as the IT systems manager, because my salespeople can get whatever reports they need - formatted the way they want - without the need for extensive coaching or training, and without my involvement."


"DataView lets me slice and dice information quickly and easily. I can get what I need and get on with my day."


"SMP's DataView business intelligence module is an awesome addition to the already-rich SMP CRM platform. It provides flexible reporting and analytics that I can act on with my team. I call it 'actionable business intelligence'."


To learn more and get a tour of SMP's DataView Business Intelligence, contact Joe Raventos at or call (949) 258-0414. The SMP Team will also be showcasing DataView at this year's Epicor Insights Conference, so be sure to stop by the booth in the Solutions Pavilion.


About SMP

SMP is the developer and exclusive marketer of Sales Management Plus, the leading CRM & analytics choice for durable goods distributors. Sales Management Plus is a comprehensive software application with direct integration to Eclipse. The product's core focus is to save time, increase sales and allow for effective management of a company's sales and marketing activities. The application features key hooks into the MS Office suite of products, synchs with Outlook, and features a mobile platform that is compatible with Android, Apple and Blackberry. SMP empowers companies to manage people and processes more effectively, so teams can focus on selling. For more information, visit  

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The information contained in this newsletter is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by UFO and while we endeavor to keep the information up-to-date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to this newsletter or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained in the newsletter for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data arising out of, or in connection with, the use of the information in this newsletter.