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Eclipse Users Group (UFO) NewsletterNovember, 2012

In early October the Eclipse Users Group board had its second yearly face to face meeting (Reminder. We have two face to face meetings per year) in Westminster Colorado. The two day meeting was very productive and informative and I'd like to update you all. Attending the meeting was the UFO board and the full Eclipse development team (Epicor/Eclipse Attendees: Neil McLaughlin, Steve Schmitt, Bill Wright, Camille Alberico, Justin Ward, Kami Kurth, Mark Artim, Sean Smith and Lance Brierley)

Epicor Eclipse has made significant investments in development staff. In the past 12 months, 7 new developers have started, 3 new QA have started, 4 new developers will start October 16th, and 1 new developer will start October 22nd. This puts the development team to the numbers they were in the past and once the new developers get up to speed we should see an increased development surge.

Epicor Eclipse also presented on the upcoming future release roadmap. Major improvements are coming soon to your Eclipse system: Product lifecycle (Identifying, preventing, and disposing of dead stock), ICE (Real time SQL replication), CRM improvements, document imaging updates (OCR and workflow routing), and fully solarizing the product (No more Eterm screens for the Solar users). Also we have started to discuss with the product development team how to improve the purchasing process in Eclipse. I'm sure there will be upcoming updates to all of these improvements but I wanted to give you a high level view of what's on the horizon. New development is happening with the Eclipse product and if you want to have a voice make sure to let us know so we can get you involved in a steering committee.

The UFO training for 2013 was also reviewed. The training committee has recommended that we continue to offer web based classes for free during 2013 and the board has approved. More free training for your company!! Also we are always looking for new topics to provide low cost training on, so after you review the training schedule and feel we need to add classes in a certain area let us know. We are always interested in hearing what our member companies training needs are.

Planning for Insights 2013 has already begun! We have taken your feedback from the 2012 Insights UFO survey and given it all to Epicor. Both Epicor Eclipse and the Eclipse Users Group will be working to improve the conference experience. Mark your calendars - Week of May 13th, 2013 in Nashville.

As always, I invite any feedback be sent to Mary Barlow or myself. Also if you want to be part of the Eclipse Users Group and want to help further improve the Epicor Eclipse system you use daily, volunteer and be part of the group.




Terry Kin, President
Eclipse Users Group/UFO Board


Upcoming November Classes
Ten Ways to Turn Eclipse Into a 21st Century Program - Vendor Partner
Attention Delegates & Alternates
How One Companion Products Helps Johnstone Supply, Jacksonville, FL
Simple Business Intelligence Unlocks Eclipse Data to Drive Sales - Vendor Partner
New and Returning UFO Members
Upcoming November Classes
Check out the details on all of these November classes and presentations on our website.
  • New Hire 1 & 2 Eterm and Solar - Zerion Consulting Group - Webinar 
  • Job Management  - Kris Hopkins and Kami Kurth - Roundtable Webinar 
  • Schmitt ProfiTools - Vendor Product Presentation Webinar  
  • Tour de Force - Vendor Product Presentation Webinar     
  • Return Goods Queue - Zerion Consulting Group Webinar
  • PO Expedite Queue - Zerion Consulting Group Webinar 

 Remember you must be logged in to register. 

Ten Ways to Turn Eclipse Into a 21st Century Program

By Zerion Group Inc

The business world at large is in a season of efficiency; and, that isn't changing anytime soon. Customers and business owners alike want better, faster, cheaper and easier. This presents a challenge, at least theoretically, for some Epicor Eclipse users because the software originally was released in 1989. Yes, 1989 ... when the first Bush president moved in to the White House and Milli Vanilli was all the rage. We know Eclipse isn't considered "hip" or "hot"; but, that doesn't mean it needs to be replaced or retired. Eclipse is a sound piece of software that serves hard goods distributors quite well.


In an article that we wrote last year about Epicor's purchase of Eclipse, we said, "The Eclipse software has impressive capabilities perfectly suited for the wholesale distribution market. It is a program that can aptly serve the needs of distributors for a long time to come."


In addition, implementing a new ERP can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in software, licensing and consulting, plus time lost due to training and ramp up time.


Instead of replacing Eclipse, we recommend you simply consider enhancing it ... going more "electronic" so to speak. When the computer and software are doing work instead of people, and you're eliminating paper, your business will become more streamlined. In some cases, we've seen automation turn a fifteen-person job into a one-person job. Electronic business operations also reduce errors and protect you in cases of fraud, or customer disputes. Yet, every day Zerion encounters Eclipse users who hardly touch the breadth of functionality that exists in the system or that easily can be added on.


For a relatively small investment of time and money, you can tap into these under-utilized features and make Eclipse seem new. Your software can function as if it had been created for today's business needs!


Here are ten suggestions for going electronic:  

  1. ACH - An Automated Clearing House (ACH) cuts down on stamps and paper going from one place to another. It also requires less involvement of personnel. 
  2. Billing - You can use Eclipse functionality to eliminate paper tickets and create a more structured, automated and efficient billing process.
  3. Eclipse POD - Eclipse's proof of delivery tool is still fairly new. We see some benefits for larger distributors who can use this real-time tool to improve customer service, profitability and efficiency.
  4. EDI - When you use Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to send a PO to a vendor, the creation or submission of an order, invoice and payable have virtually no human involvement. It is a long-term commitment to move to EDI; but, this change can have huge returns by way of reduced errors and headcount.
  5. EFT - Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), such as wire transfers, direct deposit, direct debit and electronic checks, is now considered a business standard that is fairly easy to comply with.
  6. Electronic Signature Capture - Capturing signatures electronically reduces filing and paperwork; and, it also makes signatures easier to find when you need to supply proof of delivery.
  7. Emailed Invoices - Paper is still the most prominent way to send invoices, though some Eclipse users do it via fax or EDI. Emailing invoices straight from Eclipse can be a simple change that brings you savings and efficiency.
  8. FTP - File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and Secure FTP are beneficial when a bank requires information on a customer's check and bank, which they usually want encrypted.  Typically, this is important when dealing with Canadian banks.
  9. PosPay - Positive Pay is used to ensure that checks cashed actually were written by your company. The process of sending your check register to your bank is completed daily and helps to eliminate fraud.
  10. RF - We're passionate about Radio Frequency (RF) technology for streamlining warehouses; and, we are never shy about that! This is considered a more significant change; but, as we mention here it can increase your correct up-rate by 90%.


We also have developed reports, created processes for integrating with third-party vendors and written code and settings for other clients that may be useful to your business' quest to automate operations.  Here's a link to an ever-expanding list of other ways our clients have gone electronic.


Implementing any, or all, of these changes will make your software appear newer without incurring a massive undertaking or expense. Eclipse users don't take advantage of these opportunities because they're unsure of how to approach them; or, they don't have the knowledge to do it themselves. Most of the changes do indeed require a third party like Zerion, Epicor or someone else to set it up. They also may need some custom code, settings or training. But, consultants, programmers and trainers are easily attainable and not nearly as costly as new software. And, the expense is well worth it for a more up-to-date operation! 


If you're interested in learning more about how we can help, contact us. We're also in the process of reaching out to all Zerion customers to let them know about the latest ways we can help supply knowledge and deliver efficiency. 

Zerion Logo

Three Free Hours
Want to bring your Eclipse software into the 21st century?
If you need assistance with any of the 10 changes listed in our article,
Zerion will provide three free hours of consulting or programming.
Contact Tony King at or 321.229.1089 to start your updates.   
Offer Expires: November 30, 2012

Attention Delegates and Alternates - Users Helping Users is what we are about, Right?

by Mary Barlow, Executive Director, Eclipse Users Group (UFO)


 As a member of the UFO, you have access to the Sortable Membership List which you could find very useful if you are looking to connect with someone who is in a similar industry, state, on Solar, or has a companion product you are looking to purchase.  This is why we are asking you, the Delegate or Alternate to make sure that your company information is up to date and correct.
Company Information

 The company information form is found after login in the My Profile link. Please make sure all of the information is updated including Industry, the number of branches and licenses (used by the UFO office and not published anywhere). Click the drop down arrow on the Type to select Solar, Eterm or Partial Solar (some Solar licenses but mostly Eterm). Entering your web address might be helpful if a member is looking for a product or distributor of a particular line.

Now for the information many say is the most useful on the membership list, which companion products you have installed or have purchased. We have listed all, or at least what we have as current, of the Epicor Eclipse companion products along with our Vendor Partner names. Checking the products that apply can be very helpful to members considering a companion purchase or looking at a vendor partner's product.

Companion Products screen

This information is used by the Sortable Membership List in the filter for companion products.

Companion Products Filter
















Click the arrow on the Companion Product and select the product you are looking for. You can further filter the results by choosing an industry or state.

We appreciate you taking the time to update your company's information. As the Delegate it is part of your responsibility, but you can delegate it to the Alternate if you wish. Just don't duplicate the work, choose which of you will update the forms.

Your fellow members will appreciate your effort as well! Thanks!

How One Companion Product Helps Johnstone Supply (The Ware Group) Jacksonville, FL
by Alexis Robb

The Ware Group dba Johnstone Supply, has been an HVAC/R supplier in the state of Florida since 1981 and was recognized last year as one of Northeast Florida's Top 50 Companies. They attribute their success to a number of things including: the strength of the national Johnstone Supply cooperative with its 5 regional distribution centers that allows them to act as a Fortune 500 Company and give them buying power with some of the best HVAC/R vendors across all market segments in the industry, their 12 stores within Florida that allows them to respond quickly to customer's needs, and their strong focus on customer service and making sure their customers are successful. For the past 30 years, The Ware Group has grown every year despite tough economic conditions.


For the Ware Group, 2012 is the year to prospect. They define prospecting as increasing business from current customers who do not already use them for 100% of their business needs, seeking brand new opportunities and developing a system to track unmanaged business. In January, a Sales Analyst was hired to focus on finding new sales opportunities and to look for holes in existing business. "We want to find out which customers are buying flashlights, but not batteries. That's just an example but we want to obtain a higher percentage of every customer's business until we eventually have it all," said Eric Neal, Director of Sales for The Ware Group.


One of the key tools that's being used to prospect is MITS Discover 7.0. MITS is a data mining tool that provides a browser-based Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) via access to a MultiValue host. It is a MultiValue database that is designed specifically to maintain interlinked historical data in a hierarchical fashion. This allows the user to get almost instant responses to requests and inquires. The information returned is used for further analyses and review.


MITS extracts the data from Eclipse-the leading technology provider for wholesale distributors. It contains Vendor data, Sales and Order data, Pricing data, Customer data and Product data. Within MITS, the information can be manipulated by column positioning, sorting and filtering, adding and removing columns, arithmetic functions performed on columns, breaking on values and summarizing column data. Any report can be exported into Microsoft Excel or Adobe PDF. One of the best features of MITS is the scheduling feature that allows reports to be automatically emailed to multiple users on the date and time requested. A library for each user can be created where their commonly used reports can be saved, stored and viewed.


The information generated from MITS is particularly useful to The Ware Group's sales representatives and executive officers looking to make decisions about their customers and the company. It can offer an overall view of almost any aspect of the business, perform data comparisons and drill down data all the way to an invoice level in a relatively short period of time. MITS is a highly valued tool that The Ware Group relies on to make sure they are putting their efforts in the right place in order to continue success and growth throughout 2012 and beyond.



Simple Business Intelligence Unlocks Eclipse Data to Drive Sales.  

drive up margins  By Phocas Software

We frequently hear that it is a daunting task to make sense of the huge wealth of data that has been captured by an ERP system. Although performing critical business functions, the analysis, reporting and dashboarding abilities of ERP systems such as Eclipse can fall short, particularly for non-technical users. Which means turning this data into meaningful results that deliver opportunities can be missed.


The solution often lies in business intelligence. Get it right, and business intelligence can transform your business. Working alongside existing ERP systems, a good BI tool should allow non-technical users to answer any legitimate business question from any location on any device in real time, helping to make better business decisions. Good BI should help:
  • increase stock turnsPhocas article picture
  • expose potential link-sales
  • lower aged debt
  • enhance customer service
  • improve financial reporting

Importantly, BI should be simple, enabling users to unearth opportunities across Sales, Purchasing, and Inventory that might otherwise have been missed. Which means it should pay for itself almost immediately.


One such BI tool is Phocas, which has been delivering real results for Eclipse users in manufacturing and distribution businesses. With particular focus on Plumbing HVAC, Electrical and Industrial sectors, more and more Eclipse users have turned to Phocas; leveraging data from Eclipse and improving the reporting, dashboarding and analytical capabilities of their business.


A number of Eclipse users have shared their experience in using Phocas business intelligence. Advance Electrical president Steven Anixter states that "Phocas gives us that powerful, easy to use business tool that Eclipse users can finally extract that wealth of information that resides in their system. The more you use Phocas, the more intelligent you become."


Other Eclipse users agree, and Kevin Manning from Aaron & Co points out that "with Phocas we can analyze anything in minutes. Now with Phocas I can stay in the same thought process and nip things in the bud a lot faster." Bill Salek from Universal Supply Group has spotted an opportunity where "Phocas enabled us to gain an additional $20,000 for our business in incentive growth rebates. And Phocas delivers in seconds - not the months, weeks and days we previously experienced".


For more information, have a look at the brochure, visit or contact Marian Moyer on 856-727-0766.


50% OFF
Phocas Software is offering a discount of 50% off the implementation of any new contract signed during the month of November 2012. To take advantage of this offer contact: Marian Moyer or call 856-727-0766.   
Offer Expires: November 30, 2012
New and Returning UFO Members since September

New Member 

Corpus Christi Electric Co., Corpus Christi, TX -  Electric Supplies  

Keller Supply Company, Seattle, WA -  Plumbing, HVAC, Leisure (pool, spa, etc)

Neenan Company, Kansas City, MO -  Plumbing Heating, Industrial 


Returning Member  

Aramsco, Inc Thorofare, NJ, Safety 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.