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Eclipse Users Group (UFO) NewsletterOctober, 2012

Thanks for taking the time to read over the articles in this October edition of the Newsletter.
The articles have helpful tips, tell you about new class offerings, Implementing  Software Asset Management, what UFO Enhancements are planned for in 8.7.5 and finally a request to update your companion products on the website.
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 October 31st 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 October Classes
Implementing Software Asset Management - User Tip
Optimizing Inventory Throug Better Forecasting - Thrive Technologies Vendor Partner
Enhancement Committee Update What's cominmg soon
Tour de Force CRM - Vendor Partner
Search to See Which UFO Members Have a Companion Product
New and Returning UFO Members
Upcoming October Classes
Check out the details on all of these October 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 
  • Average Cost Discussion - Roundtable Webinar  
  • Computer Pundits - Vendor Presentation 
  • epaCube - Vendor Presentation 
  • Month End Procedures - Zerion Consulting Group 
  • Variable Dating - Zerion Consulting Group

 Remember you must be logged in to register. 

Implementing a Software Asset Management (SAM) Program

By Robert Hascall, MSI HVAC

If you've worked in the information technology field for any length of time, you've likely read through countless licensing agreements for the software you install on your organization's computers. All of these agreements focus on a single goal, to institute an agreement between your organization and the owner of the software to ensure the legal use of said software. And while the software industry is quickly moving to the SaaS (Software as a Service) model and improving its ability to self-manage software management, there still exists the need for organizations to implement an organized process to account for the proper licensure of the software it uses. As such, a successful software asset management (SAM) program should be in place which includes taking an initial inventory of the software being used, organizing your documentation for the inventory, performing a policy review, and implementing an ongoing management system.


The first step is to take an inventory of the software installed in your organization. This includes servers, desktops, company-owned laptops and other devices. There are free tools that can be found for this purpose, but in general it's recommended to purchase a solution that will allow you to manage your software assets on an ongoing basis. Googling the term "software asset management" yields many results from reputable sources. Some are more expensive than others but it's not necessary to spend a fortune to find a good solution. For example, the ManageEngine  solution starts at under $1000 (depending on the number of devices) and covers the entire lifecycle of your software purchases from purchasing to an on-going asset discovery process. Another great resource to utilize is your technology vendor (i.e. CDW). Once you have a tool to take the inventory, you are now ready to scan your organization's devices to compile an inventory listing of the software in your organization.


With a completed inventory, you'll need to organize your supporting documentation, or proofs-of-purchase, for the software in the organization. Not only is this step necessary to ensure the effectiveness of your software management process, but it is crucial should you be the target of an audit. Typically the actual invoice for each copy and title is the best proof of purchase. But in some cases, if the software was registered at the time of installation, a registration could suffice. In any event, being able to show an invoice for each title in your inventory will serve you best.


The next step is a policy review. Creating and maintaining a policy is perhaps the most important aspect of a SAM program. A good policy lays the groundwork from which all coworkers within the organization can be educated. It is very important that the end users understand your software asset management policy. The first step in creating a policy is to assign someone to be the Software Manager. The person filling this role will be responsible for the SAM program from start to finish. Of course, there's a strong likelihood that the person you've tasked with taking the initial inventory and gathering its supporting documentation is a good candidate for this role. In any case, the Software Manager will be responsible for the ongoing lifecycle of software procurement and management within your organization. The policy that the Software Manager will manage should include provisions for who in the organization approves software purchases, who installs the software procured, as well as outline the ongoing management of the software inventory and its usage. It is of course important to recognize that with technology continuing it's blistering pace of advancement, that software management becomes more and more difficult. Even so, a written policy that is communicated to the user base could save you days, weeks, or even months of work in the very likely event that you face an audit.


Finally, implementing an ongoing management system not only automates and creates a process that allows you to monitor the software you have, it will also be looked upon favorably in the event you are audited. After all, should an audit occur, being able to show that a SAM program exists in your organization that can quickly produce inventory reports and proofs-of-purchase will not only save you time, it will show the auditing entity that you are serious about software license compliance. The underlying structure for this ongoing process should have been previously outlined in the SAM policy and it is the responsibility of the Software Manager to ensure that monthly automated audits are performed and verified.


In conclusion, it is clear that we live in a world in which technology is quickly advancing. As a result, as it relates to a SAM program, this presents opportunities for problem solving when discussing things like iPads/iPhones and apps that are used for organizational purposes, mobile workers who need to purchase software, etc. But make no mistake, it is important to take the time to research and seek assistance in order to implement a SAM program for your organization. The two organizations (SIIA, BSA) that identify and target organizations they suspect of non-compliance of software licensure are organized and aggressive and will certainly ensure an unpleasant experience. Don't take for granted that your organization is in the clear-prove it. After all, you may have to show the proof someday.



SIIA - Software & Information Industry Association (

BSA - Business Software Alliance (

LicenseLogic LLC - Providers of educational seminars for software asset management and content & licensing rights (

Optimizing Inventory Through Better Forecasting

by Thrive Technologies 


Many companies today struggle to balance properly stocking their inventory during high seasonal demand. Most depend on ERP systems and other inventory replenishment systems that use formulas from the 1950's that were intentionally designed to be simple and could run quickly on computing equipment of that timeframe. Yet these systems cannot respond to the demands of today's market.


Now more than ever, companies need agility and responsiveness in their stocking needs. Through major advances in forecasting science over the last 10 years, it is now possible to employ hundreds of different forecast model variations and pick the best fitting forecast for each item at each stocking location, optimally push order quantities up to get prepaid freight, or to hit vendor minimums, or to cube out a full container, if desired, all while honoring pack sizes.


 One company that recognized the competitive advantage of utilizing a more robust supply and demand planning tool, was Matco-Norca. A leading distributor of plumbing products, and an Epicor Eclipse customer, Matco-Norca went searching for a solution. "We often stocked out of items in season due to inadequacies in our ERP system. The ERP system we use employs a moving average to calculate inventory buys. So it uses the sales numbers of prior months (when we were not in season) as our forecast and repeatedly did not buy enough for our upcoming seasonal demand," says John Grasso, Vice President of Operations.


To address these challenges, Matco-Norca began the search for an advanced inventory forecasting system in January 2008. "We looked at several vendors but in the end we chose Thrive not only because their solution addressed our specific challenges but because they understood our business and had experience in our space. We also wanted a company that would partner with us to help us continually improve our supply chain processes," states Grasso.


One of the first processes in the implementation was setting up automated interfaces from the ERP system to Thrive's system so that Thrive is constantly updated with appropriate inventory data like inventory balances, open orders, etc. "The current version of our ERP system does not have a database or a good export utility so we really relied on Thrive's technical staff to make it happen. Thrive did a tremendous job developing custom interfaces for us," says Grasso. "Every day I get an updated overview of inventory position so that I can manage trends and drill down into any issues. Thrive's system crunches all the numbers overnight and in the morning the buyers have an organized, efficient workflow of vendor POs they need to place, as well as alerts for items thatare stocked out or that might stock out soon."


Through the implementation of Thrive's cloud based model, today Matco-Norca has realized significant benefits including improved line fill rate by 8%, allowing more accurate stocking of products customers want to buy, reduced freight costs because inventory is in stock at the warehouse closest to the actual demand and increased agility to adjust inventory to respond quickly to changes in demand. In all, over the past two years Matco-Norca has reduced inventory by 30% by utilizing Thrive's patent pending forecast engine.


Free ROI Analysis  


Improve your profit margin by at least one point­--before the end of the fourth quarter 2012


By looking at the valuation of your existing inventory and the number of items and locations that you stock, our specialists can quickly estimate the inventory savings that you can realize with Thrive's system without any commitment.


 As a way to help Epicor users identify were their existing system may need updating, Thrive will offered a free ROI evaluation demonstrating where you can increase you profit margins.


Special for Eclipse User Group Members for this month only:
Contact: Ty Angell-Replenishment Consultant @ | (770) 222-8599, x105

Offer Expires: October 31, 2012

 Enhancement Committee Update

by Kris Hopkins, UFO VP and Enhancement Chair

You might recall back in January, some of the Enhancement Committee members, as well as others that are active on the Bulletin Boards, met with Eclipse for what we called a Deep Dive Session. During this session we threw out our wish lists for Eclipse and voted on what was the most important to complete first. This was a very diverse group from different industries and company sizes. The one thing that all of us had in common however, was "Dead Stock", which ranked 1st on the list of things for Eclipse to help solve. As a result the Product Lifecycle - Dead Stock Enhancement was started and is being programmed for Release 8.7.5, this release will be GA January 2013. All the information that I have from Epicor at this time says it will be programmed in Eterm and Solar both.


We have had a couple of conference calls to review the Product Lifecycle - Dead Stock Enhancement. The Enhancement Committee went to Chicago in August for a meeting and this topic was discussed there as well. There are 3 main points that Eclipse is focusing on that came from our January meeting: Prevention, Identification, and Disposition.


I don't want to get too detailed since this is a work in progress but here are a couple of things that have been discussed so far:



    • Ability to remove a customer demand from the customer file
    • Improve the return process (customer returns)
    • Improve Max Day Supply
    • Some sort of approval needed for large purchase orders to be placed
    • Superseded products / Forced Substitution  


    • Creation of a queue to manage & select the products
    • Ability to set up pricing/commissions based on these lifecycles


    •  B2B as part of Core Eclipse to allow us to connect with other distributors
    • Ability to download our list to excel or create a return

The other items that are flagged as Under Consideration for Release 8.7.5 are ones that were flagged for prior releases and due to time constraints with programming the earlier releases did not get done. Because of that we chose to not relook at the ideas site for new top contenders but to get the ones done that were already flagged.


Tour de Force CRM 
Tour de Force Efficient

Tour de Force CRM is a software solution that provides customer relationship management, sales force automation, in-depth business intelligence, mobile CRM, integration with your Eclipse ERP system, and full integration to Microsoft Outlook. The system was created specifically for distributors by the former owner of an electrical automation distributor. Over the past 11 years, our distributor clients have contributed to the continued development, growing feature set, and overall direction of the system, resulting in a CRM solution that has truly been created by distributors for distributors.  


We commonly hear from our Eclipse clients that, although Eclipse contains a huge amount of data, it's not in a format that many people can easily access. This poses a challenge, especially for your sales team; if they can't easily access and analyze the valuable business intelligence that exists in your systems, how can they use that data to drive sales? Lisa Jaswinski, Marketing Promotions & Communications Manager at US Supply, recalls that "from the first demonstration we saw of Tour de Force CRM we were able to see how easily we would be able to narrow in to see products, individual sales of products, and branch performance. All this great information that we would have never even known was available in Eclipse could be available to us in this easily accessible format."

When you choose Tour de Force CRM, you can do so with the confidence that you are choosing a provider with a long history of integrating to Eclipse, a proven implementation process and experienced implementation team that has led to a 98% customer retention rate, and a wide range of features designed to drive your sales team to be more efficient and more effective. To make your decision even easier, in Aug. 2012, Tour de Force CRM and Epicor announced a strategic alliance, and Tour de Force CRM is now the recommended solution for Eclipse clients with advanced CRM requirements.


Want to learn more?


For any new Eclipse customers who sign on during the month of October, we will provide one free tablet per every 10 full user licenses purchased. For more information including restrictions, terms, and conditions, contact Ashley Kurtzman ( and mention the Eclipse Users Group October promotion. This promotion cannot be combined with any other discount or lease program.  
Offer Expires: October 31, 2012

Companion Product Update on UFO Website 

Many of you have told us that you really like the ability to search the membership list (About Eclipse Users/ Sortable Membership List) on the website. All you have to do is select the companion product you are looking for from the drop down list of what we hope is all of the Eclipse companions and our Vendor Partners.

We just found out that there has been a bug on our website regarding the Companion Products. We need your help to make sure that each companies Companion Product information is correct and up to date.


If you are the delegate, alternate, or administrator for your company on our website, you should see a list of companion products on the Company Information page. You must be logged into the website, My Profile / Company Information in the left menu. Check the Companion products your company is using or has purchased and update the information.


We thank you for assisting us in updating the files. It really is helpful to other members who are looking to speak to companies who already have the products they are thinking about purchasing.


New and Returning UFO Members since July

New Member 

Capp USA Inc , Clifton Heights, PA, Parts Distribution 


Returning Member  

Baker Specialty & Supply, Logansport, IN, Industrial Products 



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.