Eclipse Users Group (UFO) NewsletterApril  2013

This issue has lots of good information from committees, users and vendors. We  hope you find it interesting and useful.
Insights is almost here. We hope you took advantage of the extended UFO membership Early-bird Discount. If you are attending Insights make sure you visit the Eclipse Users Group booth in the Solutions Pavilion. Don't forget our update meeting on Wednesday morning at 8 am.



Co-Chair, Marketing Committee
Eclipse Users Group/UFO Board


April 2013 Training Classes
Do Your SMEs Have Access to the Ideas Site
IDEAS - Featured Ideas
Your Company's One Stop Shop - Vendor Partner SMP Article
UFO Advice column by Uncle Frank
Eclipse Users Share SPA Results - Vendor Partner SPA
Reaching Out to Our Membership
New and Renewing Members
April Training Classes Posted
Check out the details on all of these April classes and presentations on our website.

  • April 3rd & 4th New Hire #1 & #2 Eterm - Zerion Consulting Group   
  • April 10th & 11th Inventory Control/Surplus & Purchasing Workshops On-Site Training - Zerion Consulting Group   
  • April 16th Phocas Vendor Presentation 
  • April 17th Accounts Payable Basics Eterm & Solar - Zerion Consulting Group 
  • April 18th Accounts Payable Reconciling Purchase Orders to Invoices Eterm & Solar - Zerion Consulting Group   
  • April 24th Sales Management Plus (SMP) Vendor Presentation
  • April 24th Contacts - Why Use Them? Roundtable - Nancy Ault, Independent Electric Supply  
 Eclipse Users Group Training Classes Remember you must be logged in to register. 
Do Your SMEs Have Access to the UFO Ideas Site
by Chris Bohn, Enhancement Committee Chair, VP UFO Board

The Enhancement Committee needs your wisdom and expertise! We are a very active committee and have direct impact on steering Epicor in development and improving Eclipse. We are relying on you and your subject matter experts (SME) in your company (Purchasing, Accounting, Order Entry, Showroom, IT, etc), to keep us informed of where you see improvements to help "future proof" Eclipse. The Enhancement committee pulls this information for our discussions with Eclipse product development. The ideas that rank highest get the most priority in those discussions for incorporation into an upcoming point release. The more activity, the more likely the ideas will become a new feature!


Let me pose a wild and radical idea! Each SME in your company should have a login account with the website and therefore the Ideas Site. Most companies only have one active person logging into the site, putting too much burden on that person to monitor the site for all communities. Spread the workload around! You can even set alerts to the communities you are interested in to notify you if there is something added to that community so you only have to log in when something happens! We are looking for your votes on the ideas and even your suggestions for improvements. If you need help navigating the site, there is a Quick Tour link at the top of the site for very short lessons on how to navigate and use the site. Remember you get to the Ideas site by logging into the Eclipse Users Group site then clicking on Ideas in the Main Menu. 


If your company already has these SME's set up for the Ideas Site, then I thank you and the "world of all that is right and decent" thanks you! If you don't, please seriously consider spreading the vast information and networking tools available to our members among more of your co-workers! The only logical outcome of this effort is that your Eclipse users become more efficient and productive, and it also increases their self-esteem, self-worth, and morale by being a contributing member to a worthwhile organization! (Yes! No more psychiatrist bills!)


Below, I have listed ideas we want to spotlight for this month. If the idea sounds like a good one, please vote accordingly. Even if you think it's the dumbest idea since tofu hamburgers, you can vote it a bad idea, which still helps us prioritize!


Thanks for reading!

Christopher Bohn - Eclipse User Group - Enhancement Committee Chair 


IDEAS - Featured Ideas

This Month's Featured Ideas (enter the community and search for the idea subject below to find the idea)


Accounting: Imaging print and Email the entire document

The area of Image viewing needs the Print command updated. We need to be able to print or email the entire document or any single page.


Advanced Technologies: Include images attached to products in bid and/or orders

When submitting a bid via email, we need the ability to attach images / tech specs stored in Eclipse to the products on the order.


Inventory & Purchasing: RF pickup order notification for credit holds

RF guns beep for a priority order but if the order was on credit hold and then released, the priority is lost and the pickers do not know to expedite the order.


Sales & Marketing: Invoice Register Report

It would be nice to have an option where you could select both Normal and Directs and the report would list net sales for Normal sales and net sales for Direct sales all on one report.


Solar Community: Transaction Numbers should always be hotlinks to open the Transactions

Some places you can link to the transaction and some places not. Make Solar universal in that if a transaction number is displayed, it should link to and open that transaction number.


Web Commerce: Automate Web Order Entry Password Resets

Create a better method developed for existing customers to reset their password without any manual intervention by an Eclipse user to sustain the security integrity of the password. With hundreds or thousands of customers, this is a very inefficient method for resetting passwords.


Your Company's "One Stop Shop" for Integrated CRM, Business Intelligence & Marketing 


  SMP Logo


Wholesale distribution is a tough industry. Every day new competitors start-up in your own backyard. Margins are eroding. Costs are increasing. New sales are harder to find than ever. But capitalizing on integrated solutions for CRM, analysis and marketing can really save your team time and effort.


Sales Management Plus is set apart from the competition by its "Software as a Service" or SaaS model, providing hosted applications for CRM, sales and marketing collaboration, as well as e-marketing. Most importantly, SMP seamlessly integrates with your existing Eclipse system - so all the valuable data in your ERP is available to you in an easy-to-use front end system your entire team can use. Here are a few of the turnkey features of SMP.


Integrated CRM

At SMP, our viewpoint about CRM is simple. Integrated CRM empowers your team to do more. Customer and contact data points (names, phone numbers, addresses, email addresses) and key relational data - such as customer/contact notes, contact preferences and profiling - are all centrally housed and integrated with your key systems. Sales reps and inside sales team members can add new information or update information inside SMP directly, via Outlook or their smartphone, and all changes are reflected for everyone's use.


Real-Time Data from Eclipse

Taking integration to a whole new level, SMP will soon roll out a customized Eclipse module to allow for real-time review of customers' accounts receivable balances, open orders, open bids, plus price and availability tools. In addition to price and availability, users will be able to search for products, add them to an order pad and submit directly to Eclipse via SMP. For on-the-go users, this will allow on-site order entry and confirmation of price and quantities all while they're meeting directly with customers. For others, it makes SMP a one-stop-shop not only for data entry, but also order tracking and new order placement.


Business Intelligence Reporting

Which of your customers are (and more importantly, are NOT) buying to their full potential? Which customers are buying product A, but not complementary product B? Which customers provide you the highest return on investment from a profitability standpoint? SMP can help you leverage the sales data in your business system so you answer each and every one of these questions. With turnkey analysis and reporting tools, SMP can help you answer key questions about your business today, and identify new opportunities for sales growth from day one. All of this - without involving IT every time you need a report (or a change to a report).  


Marketing Made Easy

With SMP, you have integrated CRM information and you can use knowledge gained via our business intelligence tools to identify opportunities. Here's where SMP takes it to the next level. Because all the information lives in a central repository, now you can go from thought-to-execution with your marketing initiatives. SMP incorporates key marketing tools that allow you to hone in on the right contacts at your targeted customers, set up and execute a call-out campaign, direct mail effort or e-marketing campaign in a simple fashion. SMP even provides tracking tools, so you can identify how successfully a given campaign drives key sales.


SMP Mobile - for the "always-on-the-go" workforce

SMP Mobile is a direct connection to Sales Management Plus that allows your team to take SMP and all its customer intelligence with them everywhere they go. Customers, contacts, activities, scheduled meetings, notes, sales history and more-all combined into native applications for your smartphone and/or tablet. Designed specifically for the mobile user, SMP Mobile provides all the flexibility users typically enjoy in the full version of SMP from their computer, but allows them to take it on the road.



If you're interested in hearing more about how SMP can help you improve your customer relationships - as well as your bottom line - and how SMP is working to create ever-tighter integration with Eclipse, join us on April 23rd for a special UFO Vendor Partner Presentation. Click here to register!  If you're unable to attend, but would like more information, please email Jeff at to schedule a demonstration and Q&A for your team. 


Eclipse Users Group Special 
SMP Mobile - 6 months free subscription (up to 10 seats) with any new SMP contract.
Offer ends April 30th.
Contact  Jeff Kroeker
for more information.

Offer Expires: April 30, 2013
"The UFO Advice Column"  User to User We All Improve
by "Uncle" Frank Ousterhout

Dear Uncle Frank,

                I have been encouraging my users to take advantage of the free UFO education online classes. It's a real win-win as the users learn valuable stuff and my boss is very happy with me. The Multi-Enroll button on the class registration page is a real time-saver. The one hour webinar classes or roundtables are just so convenient. The only problem is that when I as company administrator go to register additional people for a class, I first see those already registered. I don't want to register them again. What do I do?



                Perplexed IT Hero


Dear P-IT-H,

                Fear not! You will NOT be registering them again. Just add the additional enrollees by checking off their names and LEAVE THE PREVIOUS ENROLLMENTS. Mary and Suzanne's computer is really smart and will only add the registrations of the added names. In fact, if you uncheck anyone, they will be removed from the class and they won't get the handouts or reminder notifications. Be sure to tell this to anyone in your company who can register people for classes so they don't accidentally remove people. Mary tells me that it was thought that people were mysteriously being unregistered when the system was just doing its job - uncheck anyone at any time and they are dropped from the class. Always leave everyone 'checked' when using Multi-Enroll.

                I suggest that you also check out the FAQs for the website for more information on using our wonderful UFO site. You will find a link on the bottom border of every page.



                Uncle Frank

If you have a question for "Uncle Frank" please send it to Mary Barlow. Put Uncle Frank in the Subject Line.

Eclipse users share their Strategic Pricing results...



Strategic Pricing Associates, Inc. (SPA) partnered with Epicor/Eclipse to develop a unique Strategic Pricing program which integrates SPA's pricing services with Eclipse. SPA provides pricing analytics and training to hundreds of distribution companies (over 40 Eclipse users) in a broad cross-section of industries: electrical, plumbing/HVAC, building products, industrial supplies, and many more. Three of these Eclipse users share their results below.  


Torrington Supply has relied on the EpicorŽ Eclipse™ software 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. "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.


"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."


Joel Becker, President/CEO - Torrington Supply Co.  


Larry McMullin states, "The results are as predicted...Strategic Pricing works! As long as you spend the time to analyze the data properly, there can be a fast payback. We are more disciplined and not as emotional in our pricing process, so there is more consistency. Prices are the same across the board, and there has been very little customer pushback."

The benefits were both quantitative and qualitative, according to McMullin. "We see real potential for increased profit, and better insight into our customer base. We learned that some customers were not as profitable as we thought," he says.

McMullin concludes, "Strategic Pricing has had a significant impact. Executive management is very pleased; we had training sessions for them as well as the sales force. We now measure sales statistics regarding overrides, etc., and make the results public internally."


Larry McMullin, CFO - Harry Cooper Supply Co.


In spite of the initial resistance from sales, Granite City Electric has been able to execute Strategic Pricing and reap the benefits. Smith estimates that the company has seen a 2-point increase in its overall margins due to Strategic Pricing, and for customers that are on the system, it has been closer to a 4-point improvement. The salespeople themselves have directly benefited through this increased profitability, as their commissions are based on sales. In addition, Granite City is now maintaining a 2˝ percent sales-override ratio, as compared to 30-40 percent before Strategic Pricing.


Greg Smith, VP of Marketing - Granite City Electric Supply Co.


For UFO Members

Off the first year of our 5-year or 7-year  

subscription program valid through April 30, 2013

Please contact Dave Lienert at or

Direct dial:  440-668-6901    
Offer Expires:4/30//2013

Reaching Out to Our Membership! 

by Robert Hascall, Co-Chair Marketing Committee

Did you know the UFO is on Facebook? If you didn't know, then go to our Facebook page at Oh, and make sure you like us! That way you'll get all of the updates we post!


So, we know we've been a little, well, dormant in the social-sphere but there is never a better time than the present to get going. And because of our new found appreciation for social networking, you might have noticed that we're reviving our posting on Facebook. What will we post, you ask? We look at Facebook as another way to interact with our membership and those who aren't, but should be, members-smile. Hence, we will use Facebook to share short bits of information that we hope is useful to you. If the post is something you're interested in, then all you need to do is click on the link that will be provided in the post and you'll be directed to the detailed information. We'll post training notifications, event notifications and even tips that may be applicable to your use of the Eclipse system.


So while we know that everyone reads the monthly newsletters--ahem, yes you--we hope that you find our use of Facebook as useful for you as we intend it to be. Oh, and if we add a little humor or fun stuff to the mix, we hope you're okay with that as well. After all, Facebook is supposed to be fun!


We need your article for the UFO Monthly Newsletter!

As our dear old Uncle Frank Ousterhout would say, "User to user we all improve." Truer words were never spoken when it comes to the real power of UFO Membership-members helping members. And that's why we need your help! We need your expertise and learning experiences down on paper-well, in a Word document actually. For instance, if you just implemented an RF system, we'd love to hear about it in an article so that other members can benefit from the learning and hurdles you conquered. How about some great tips on Solar that you implemented in your organization that would help another member company?


Whatever your idea is, we want to hear about it. And for your trouble, the UFO will give you a $50 gift card when your article is used in a monthly newsletter. If you're interested in participating, please email your suggested topic to  for more details. Please don't create the article until your topic is approved. Also, please note that there will only be one article used per month but approved articles will be scheduled according to availability.


New Members January thru March 2013
New Members
The Johnson Electric Supply Company, Cincinnati, OH
Walters Wholesale Electric Company, Signal Hill, CA

Returning Members

Smardan Supply, Fountain Valley, CA


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.