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Eclipse Users Group (UFO) NewsletterAugust, 2012

Thanks for taking the time to read over the articles in this September edition of the Newsletter.
The articles have helpful tips, tell you about new class offerings and announce the winner of last month's drawing for an American Express gift card!
The vendor partner articles tell you about their products and offer you a discount if you use their coupon during the month. The discounts end on September 30th so make sure  you read about their product to see if you are interested.
Kevin Edmondson
Newsletter Committee Chair
Eclipse Users Group/UFO Board
Upcoming September Classes
Eclipse User Reduces Cost-per-Bill 61% - Vendor Partner
Making Pricing More Consumer Friendly - User Tip
UFO Board Nominating Committee Letter to the Membership
Offering The Best Webstore in Your Market - Vendor Partner
Contact Title Update Drawing Winner
Upcoming September Classes
Check out the details on all of these September classes and presentations on our website.
Eclipse Users Group Training Classes
  • SOE Advanced Eterm & Solar - Zerion Consulting Group
  • Inventory Control & Purchasing Workshops - Zerion Consulting Group 
  • Doing RF Cycle Counts - Roundtable Webinar  
  • Kilmartin Consulting Presentation 
  • SPA Vendor Presentation
  • Physical Inventory Prep - Zerion Consulting Group 
  • Price Matrix - Zerion Consulting Group

 Remember you must be logged in to register. 

Eclipse User North Coast Electric Reduces Cost-per-Bill 61% with Billtrust

North Coast Electric is one of the largest regional electrical distributors in the United States. A family-owned company since 1913, North Coast operates 33 locations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska and Arizona, delivering a full range of electrical equipment to customers in the contractor, factory automation, industrial MRO and commercial and institutional markets. The company uses the Eclipse ERP system to manage invoicing.


North Coast used to process invoices in-house. But Rick Bumpus, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at North Coast, is always on the lookout for new ways to streamline processes and improve efficiency. He thought the in-house billing operation was a good candidate for a makeover: Invoicing was a time-consuming, paper-intensive process that was costly and frequently sidetracked employees from more strategic tasks. Bumpus knew there had to be a better way. 


He began searching for a more efficient alternative to the company's in-house invoice delivery process. Bumpus wanted to find a way to save time and money, improve customer satisfaction and support the company's sustainability objectives by moving to a paperless system. Finding an outsourcing partner with Eclipse experience was also a top priority. After reviewing a number of alternatives, Bumpus chose to go with Billtrust, a leader in the outsourced billing industry that was already being used by other Eclipse distributors.


Although moving toward paperless billing was a top priority, one of North Coast's original concerns was mail time for paper billing: Bumpus was skeptical that Billtrust could significantly speed the time of delivery. But after conducting a test, Bumpus found that Billtrust could deliver an invoice to a recipient in Alaska faster from any of their seven print and mail processing locations than North Coast could from its Washington office. Billtrust's mail bundling techniques accelerate the postal service's sorting process to deliver mail at a lower cost while also speeding mail times.


The partners quickly made progress on one of their top initiatives: converting customers from paper billing processes to eBilling. Using Billtrust's eAdoption program, North Coast was able to improve participation in eBilling from zero to 49% for their non-EDI invoices and continue to work together to promote eBilling.


"Billtrust is playing a key role in our drive to convert customers to eBilling," Bumpus reports. "We have used onserts - messages imprinted directly on invoices - to encourage customers to go paperless. So far, nearly half our non-EDI customer base is on board, and we hope to drive that rate higher as we move forward."


North Coast has also made major progress toward payment goals in the online arena. Today, over 25% of their Invoice Gateway users are paying their invoices online. The eAdoption program has helped North Coast reduce the amount of paper generated in both the bill delivery process and the round trip payments.


But for North Coast, perhaps the most impressive result of the partnership with Billtrust is the cost savings. Since implementing the Billtrust solution, North Coast has reduced their cost-per-bill by 61%. Prior to outsourcing their billing, North Coast had an average cost to a bill of $0.49. Now it is down to $0.19 - even with an increase in postal fees of $0.07 during this time period.


With a look ahead, North Coast is working together with Billtrust and the UFO to develop an interface that will automatically apply online payments through Billtrust's portals (Invoice Gateway, Invoice Central, CustomerCare) back into Eclipse, bringing significant efficiency to the process of applying payments.


"North Coast is an innovative, forward-thinking company," said Flint Lane, Chief Executive Officer and President of Billtrust. "We're pleased to work with them to continuously improve the billing process and business operations."


To find out more about Billtrust, please visit


  Billtrust Logo


Save 10%

Billtrust has been a Vendor Partner of the Eclipse Users Group for over five years.  In recognition of our partnership with the UFO, we are offering a 10% discount on the setup fee for our CompleteBilling service to Eclipse Users that sign a contract by September 30th, 2012.  To learn more, schedule a demo at  Make sure to mention this offer..

Offer Expires: September 30, 2012

Making Pricing More Consumer Friendly 

by Laurie Gross, Gross Electric Supply

We learned about rounding rules in an Eclipse seminar about 5 years ago, and it has been very helpful in making our pricing more consumer friendly.


First you need to set up global rounding rules, then you can decide which customers, vendors and sell matrixes you want those rules to apply the rules to.


In Solar: Maintenance/ Price Maintenance/ Sell Matrix Rounding Rules. Which takes you to the Eterm Rounding Rules Screen.          

In Eterm:  F1 Files/ R Price Maintenance/ X Sell Matrix Rounding Rules 


Rounding Rules Solar Path     Roundint Rules Eterm Path

Sell Matrix Rounding Rules Screen


Sell Matrix Rounding Rules Screen  

The rules we came up with were somewhat arbitrary. You'll notice most retail pricing ends in .95, .75 or .50 that's why we came up with those adder values. The round to was based on what we had done when we manually priced items. If an item was under $300 we would round it to the nearest $1. And on up from there. People won't notice an extra $10 when they're looking at products over $1000 and it gives us some extra margin and makes the pricing more logical. So an item that the computer prices at 1023.21 will now come up at 1030. Also, in that price range you will very rarely see a price tag with cents on it.


After you've figured your rules you need to assign them. In F1 R for Pricing Maintenance then S for sell matrix maintenance. In our case we use Class Retail, but you can pick any class, then select the sell group or product. Next assign effective dates, then Alt A for Additional Maintenance and Y for yes to enable rounding rules.

Sell Matrix Enable Rounding Rules Screen 



That's it! Now your price tags or invoices make more sense than some of the strange prices the system calculates. It also allows you to make some extra margin without playing with your multipliers.



UFO Board Nominating Committee    

Letter to the Membership

 by Larry McMullin, UFO Past President and Nominating Committee Chair 


The Eclipse Users Group has been working hard for many, many years to influence the enhancement and development of Eclipse and to provide our members with a valuable source of education, training and networking. In order to accomplish this, the UFO has relied on our Executive Director, Mary Barlow, and a valuable network of volunteers to staff the Board and various working committees.

The UFO continues to have a need for volunteers to serve on the board and to lend their experience and expertise to our mission and goals. Currently, we have two openings on the board due to term limits.


This article is an open invitation for our members to apply for these openings.


The commitment to the board includes monthly telephone conference meetings that last for about one hour and two yearly "face to face" meetings. These usually occur around the Insight conference in May and in October. A member of the board is also expected to participate in one or more committees of the board and the business of a committee is usually conducted via telephone conference. When travel is required for the face to face board meeting in October or, when necessary, a committee meeting, the UFO pays for travel and lodging. This basically eliminates any financial obligation to your company. The October meeting usually last from 2 - 3 days. The term of service for a regular board member can be up to three two year terms. Of particular importance is that the company the individual represents be fully committed to allowing service to the UFO.


We recognize that there are many very experienced individuals with a broad range of expertise in our membership. We are looking for individuals that will commit to working hard for the UFO and will not hesitate to be active in sharing their experience and knowledge. It has been a very rewarding experience for me to serve on the board. I have learned much from many different individuals and it is a joy to work with people who are committed to the same goals and mission. I trust that you will feel the same way if you serve on the board.

Do you want to apply to serve on the Board? I hope that you are interested! If so, please forward your contact information to Mary Barlow and also provide a brief commentary on your vision for the board and Eclipse. If you would like to discuss this in greater detail before you submit your volunteer application, please feel free to call or email Mary or I. Mary's contact information is 813.643.1001 or and my contact information is 417.875.7260 or Also, if you know a candidate that you think would be a great board member, please feel free to forward that name and contact information to Mary or I.


To facilitate the process, I request that all applications be submitted no later than September 15.

We look forward to hearing from you!


Offering The Best Webstore In Your Market
Wholesaler Rich Schmitt
by Rich Schmitt

As some UFO members know, I write a monthly column for THE WHOLESALER, a magazine focused on plumbing, HVAC and PVF wholesalers called: Smart Management. I am also Vice President of Schmitt ProfiTools, Inc. (SPI) a software and services company that provides webstores and more.     

As I coach wholesalers, I try to help them understand that the internet will play a huge part of our future in the wholesale industry.     

The message: "You don't want an average or second-rate webstore." You want customers to believe that yours is the best in your market.


One of our customers converted from their average webstore provided by their ERP vendor early this year to our SPI webstore and our marketing product content. The month they went live, the webstore year-over-year sales volume jumped 300% and that's after washing out growth from the improved business climate.


Their marketing manager called us and said, "It was a tough decision to abandon our old web store. We knew it was bad but we had invested a lot in it. Now customers are calling us all pumped-up about our new webstore. It turns out they hated our old one. They love our new one [provided by SPI]. They tell us that nobody else in our market can touch it."


SPI webstores serve three customer needs:

  1. The need for easy access product information.
  2. The need to easily order product.
  3. The need for information about their account..

A good B2B store should have 4 things:


1.  Good content. SPI provides images, specs and descriptions constructed to help customers buy products.

a. Customers don't like the ALL UPPERCAE, HVLY ABBRVTD DSCRPTNS in most ERP systems.

b. They hate those 5-line ALL-UPPERCSE, run-on sentences many old-style B2B sites include. 

2.  Good operational flow - The flow of the transaction should be intuitive and easy.  Some customers like to drill into the products, others like to search and others want a handy list of "favorites". SPI provides them all.

a.  The biggest customer gripes are:

i. "How can I buy it from you, if I can't find it?"

ii. "Don't expect me to memorize your 6 digit item numbers or your internal search keys."

3.  Good integration with the wholesaler's ERP system - SPI can connect in real time to Eclipse for pricing, availability, customer account information and order submission.

4.  Analytics - SPI provides analytics to understand what your customers are doing on your site/store so you can better serve them. 


In summary, Schmitt ProfiTools can help with the whole project:

  1. We can gather, organize and format specifications, create good selling descriptions and provide some of the highest quality images available. Few wholesalers staff to get this done.
  2. We can provide great webstore software that was designed to operate "Your Way" -- in appearance and "Your Way" in terms of the logic and flow of the transaction.
  3. We connect to Eclipse using Web Integration so the real time connection is there.

For information about our webstore product:

Rich Schmitt



Schmitt ProfitTools NL Logo




Purchase Schmitt ProfiTools' Eclipse-Integrated Web Storefront software by 9/30/2012 and you'll receive a 5% discount on software setup and installation. (Projects are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. Requires Web Integration Module from Eclipse.)

Mention this Eclipse Newsletter Coupon when you contact us at 314-872-9199 or 
Offer Expires: September 30, 2012

Contact Title Update Drawing Winner Is...... 

On August 31 we selected a winner out of the 104 contacts who updated their "Title" information on the UFO website.

Out of the over 3,000 contacts we have in our files only 104 of you updated the information for us. Not so good for us but great for you who did take the time to help us out.

And the Winner Is.... Carol Nepi of United Electric Supply. Carols title is Systems/IT.

We want to thank all of you who have and those who will now update the title field on the "My Profile" link of the UFO website . You must be logged in to activate that link which brings up your personal information page. Change your title right there in the first field. Make the best choice for your work area and if none are appropriate choose Unassigned. If you choose unassigned please send us an email telling us why you chose that and what your best match would be. We are working with the web developers to allow us to add other work areas to the choices.

Why do we want this information? So we can keep you informed about User Tips, classes, posted videos or events which you might find beneficial in your work area.


Disclaimer  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.