Eclipse Users Group (UFO)
Eclipse Users Group (UFO) Newsletter                                                                                                May  2013

As Insights 2013 approaches on May 13-16, we wanted to remind you of some important things to remember when you arrive.  First, don't forget to add the Eclipse ribbon to your conference badge.  Doing so will set all of us Eclipse users apart from the others-and really, we are the most important anyway, right?  Whenever you see an Eclipse ribbon, make sure you stop that person and strike up a cool and productive conversation on how to make your companies better places to work with all the nifty tips you'll share with one another.  Next, we really recommend stopping by the UFO booth (#25/26) in the Solution's Pavilion to say hi.  The people at the booth in the really fashion-aware polo shirts are sure to impress you with their communications skills.  Oh, and there's the little thing about the $50 gift cards we'll be raffling off during the conference; guaranteed better odds than any lottery in the world!  See you there!

Robert Hascall
Marketing Committee Co-Chair
May Training Classes Posted

Check out the details on all of these May classes and presentations on our website.   


May 1st  & 2nd
New Hire 1 & 2 Solar
Webinar - Zerion Group
May 21st
Zerion Group Vendor
Zerion Group Vendor Partner
May 22nd
Your Insights on Insights 2013
Roundtable Webinar
May 23rd
Freight-Shipping, Receiving, Billing & Payables Eterm & Solar
Webinar - Zerion Group
May 28th
Strategic Pricing Associates - SPA Vendor Presentation
SPA Vendor Partner
May 30th
Control Files Never To Be
Forgotten Eterm & Solar

Webinar - Zerion Group

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Customer Activity Log - User Article
 by John Heinzel, Revere Electric

Have you been away on vacation, out of contact, and want to see everything that has happened with one of your accounts while you were gone? Have you ever told a customer you'd fax or email them an acknowledgment, then after you got off the phone you realized you didn't have their fax or email?

Have you ever done something in the system for a customer on a certain date, but you don't remember which ship to address, part number, or have forgotten some other bit of information?


You can see every Eclipse activity associated with a customer like e-mails, faxes, credits, payments applied, trackers, etc. and even filter the list by keywords like the name of the contact you faxed.


Here's what the screen looks like in Solar:


Cust Activity Viewing Solar

To get there from the main menu in Solar, go to AR>Customer Activity Log Viewing. Or, starting from the Body of a sales order for a customer, go to Inquiries>Customer Activity Log.


In Eterm from an order use Alt+Q, then Alt+W. When prompted, select Bill To if you want to see activity for the Bill To and all related Ship To's, or select Ship To to see only activity for the Ship To account.


You will then be prompted for (in both Solar & eTerm):

Show All Trackers for this Account: The system will display trackers for all related accounts. If a Ship To was selected, then the Bill To and all other Ship To's under that Bill To will be included.

Show Only Trackers for this Account: The system shows only trackers entered specifically for this Ship To account.

Tracker Display Options Solar

You can now filter the list further by going to Selection>Select Criteria (In Eterm, do Alt+S) 

   Cust Activity Selection Solar
  • Pattern (Text String in Eterm) searches the Comment column for any text you enter. 
  • User (From User in Eterm)
    filters the list by the User ID column. 
  • Show Only Open Items (Solar only)- a Yes here will show all trackers for the account that haven't been closed. The person with the Final Action on a Tracker should close it when the issue has been resolved, which means only unresolved issues should show if you check Yes here. 


You can open the sales order, cash receipt, or other document related to an entry by right-clicking on the entry and selecting View Cross-References, or in Eterm do Alt+V. 

The Three Hottest Eclipse Projects for 2013 Zerion Logo



Zerion does much of its business via the telephone. Our consultants talk on the phone a lot regarding new business inquiries, existing customer questions, follow-ups with past customers, and more. At Zerion, we're sort of attached to our phones! With all those minutes logged, we've noticed a trend. (Three of them, actually.) Every week, our phone conversations include these primary topics (in order of importance):

  1. Pricing matrix
  2. Web sites and ecommerce
  3. Purchasing and inventory control

 Why should these phone exchanges be of any relevance to you? Because this is the stuff your competitors and peers are buzzing about. The stuff the Eclipse community is focused on. And, it's time to follow suit. Let's dive a little deeper into each of them and find out why you should be thinking about putting these items on your "to do" list for 2013.


Pricing matrix

Properly priced product is a more important success factor than most of our clients realize, because a lack of emphasis in this area can run your business ragged. This has been a hot topic for at least five years; but, it's come into more prominence in the last year. We continue to be amazed by the number of distributors who don't take advantage of Eclipse's price matrix. Often times, salespeople are fixing the Gross Profit each time they enter an order. In effect, this creates multiple pricing czars in the organization. Unfortunately, not everybody can be an expert at product pricing. When you set up a pricing matrix, customers get consistent pricing, the sales staff gets to focus on what they do best, and you can manage your margins effectively and predictably.


The Eclipse pricing matrix is very robust and works well for our customers. In fact, we ranked this as #1 on our list because of how quickly it can pay for itself. If you don't have a matrix set up, then 2013 is the year to get it going. If you already have one that's functioning properly, then it's time to consider third party software to take your efforts to the next level. The right software package can help you find even more margin. Profit2 is the best choice we've come across so far; but, there are several vendors out there for you to review.


Web sites and Ecommerce

Selling product online continues to be a goal for many distributors, especially with the introduction of AmazonSupply last year. Ecommerce is an important consideration, both to keep up with the times and to remain competitive. It can be seen as a new source of revenue, as well as a necessity to customer service. You certainly don't want your customers migrating elsewhere just because of added convenience.

Many of our clients think a web store can be added to their offering with the flip of a few switches. That may be the case from a technical perspective; however, there's much more involved in going online. In fact, we'll be hosting a webinar soon on this very topic. Join our e-mail list or check our web site to find out more.  


Purchasing and Inventory Control

Quite often we encounter customers who don't use suggested purchasing in Eclipse.  This is a tool that can bring you much value by minimizing your holding costs and waste, as well as ensuring you have the right product on hand at the right time. Many times, buyers think they're smarter than the Eclipse system. They believe the Suggested PO queue can't come up with the correct buy; so, they consistently change buys. This undoubtedly results in unnecessary fluctuations in inventory that could be avoided if Eclipse was simply allowed to do its thing. If the buys don't seem correct, you should instead look at the data and the maintenance so that the queue can work as designed.

Remember, Eclipse's abilities in this area can be limited. For example, if you're dealing with exports or imports, then Eclipse methodologies may not work for you; and, you may need to seek out additional software resources. This type of demand planning outside of Eclipse is a newer focus among distributors we work with; but, we're seeing our customers gain even greater control over their costs and inventory with third party tools. With or without Eclipse, a focus on consistent, technology driven purchasing behavior is a must in 2013.

Are any of these projects on the horizon for you this year? Or, have you already tackled one or more of them and have some advice to share? Let us know your thoughts and how Zerion can help you be more efficient and profitable in 2013. We'd love to have a phone call from YOU!


About Zerion (

We leverage existing software through consulting, training and customizing to make your business run better. These services are applied to many focus areas, from RF and purchasing to custom forms and reports. While we're completely independent, our emphasis is on users of Eclipse software. Over 250 distributors have chosen our end-to-end support services because we help them to:

  • Streamline operational processes,
  • Maximize system capabilities,
  • Reduce costs; and,
  • Make employees more knowledgeable.

 Each of Zerion's consultants has been employed at a supply house, and share 75 years of combined experience. Since 2005, we've resolved challenges in water and sewer, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, HVAC, fabrication, feed and tile businesses.

Special Offer for UFO Members

Let us help you with pricing or purchasing today and get 10% off.

Contact Tony by May 31st and mention this newsletter to get your discount.


Contact Tony King by May 31 at 1.877.872.1726 or
Vendor Relations Committee Update 
by Bill Fitzgerald, VRC Chair

I can't believe it is already April! I hope everyone's year is off to a great start! We would like to bring everyone up to speed on some of the great developments happening with the Vendor Relations Committee.


Eclipse Users Group Networking & Training Conference this September in Las Vegas:

We have heard consistently from our vendor partners that they want more face-time with our members. So we've arranged what we know will be a mutually beneficial networking and training conference to bring our members and vendor partners together. On September 19th and 20th the Eclipse User's Group will be holding our first Training and Networking conference in several years at the Hyatt Place in Las Vegas. For these two days you will have unlimited access to our vendor partners to find out more about them and the services they offer. If you would like to attend the conference, please contact either Mary Barlow ( or Suzanne Saltmarsh ( We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas!!


On-Line Vendor Recommendation Form:

Currently we have 18 vendor partners. Please visit the Eclipse User's Group website Vendor page to learn more about them. We are always on the lookout for great new vendor partners. If you would like to recommend a vendor partner Login to the Eclipse User's Group website, mouse over the Vendors menu in the Main Menu, click on Vendor Recommendation.  The form is very short and easy to complete. Once completed click the Submit button and your recommendation will automatically be submitted. Please note, the vendor doesn't have to be directly related to Eclipse either, e.g. phone system providers, router support, etc., are all potential candidates for membership.


I look forward to meeting many of you at Insights in Nashville, and would love to hear your thoughts about how the Vendor Relations Committee can better serve you. Stop by the UFO booth #25/26 in the Solutions Pavilion. 


On behalf of the Vendor Relations Committee, we wish our members a very prosperous 2013!

MITS Gives Shepherd Electric a Reporting & Business Intelligence Upgrade

When Shepherd Electric, the oldest wholesale electrical distributor in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area, chose their ERP 5 years ago, they learned that they would need additional reporting functionality. "We just couldn't get the information out of Eclipse and into Excel," explains Jason Black, IT Manager for Shepherd Electric. "For example, downloading the data and then finding out you couldn't sort it because a particular row had different data sets in it was a major issue for us." It was clear that flexibility and ease of use were high on Shepherd Electric's wish list when they went looking for a new reporting solution.


The size of Shepherd Electric meant that many BI companies were actively seeking their business. After reviewing a number of potential solutions, they decided MITS had the required functionality, coupled with an ease of use that was immediately apparent even during the product demonstration. Another factor in MITS' favor was that they were a 12 year official Epicor partner. This gave Shepherd peace of mind that MITS was an established company with a track record of delivering proven solutions across Epicor's customer base.  

Upper level sales management and ownership are currently using MITS, with the sales force next in line for installation and training. "We think it's great because we can roll it out to a Sales person at a desk and he or she can only see information as it pertains to them," Jason explains. "That way they can have the tools to focus on their job and IT has the peace of mind that the universe of data is secure."  

Jeff Register, Vice President of Purchasing, is most impressed with the speed of MITS. "Reports in our old system took such a long time to complete that I could put one in motion, go to lunch, come back and work, go to dinner and come back and at that point it might be done. With MITS, if you want to run something, you just build a query and execute - it's that fast. And when you create a report in MITS and you realize it's not something you need, you just tweak it and rerun the report in minutes. 

MITS makes Shepherd Electric more efficient, but it also makes them money as well. A case in point: Shepherd Electric experienced a sales drop off with a particular line, with the net result being the company was set to miss a vendor sales goal and the $7,000 rebate that went along with it. In less than 45 minutes, Jason and Jeff, who at this point had no previous exposure to MITS, were able to review the trending data in the MITS Sales cube to pinpoint the cause of the drop off. It turns out that one customer in particular had relocated operations overseas, including the sourcing of their raw materials. Jeff was able to explain to the vendor that this customer was the cause of the sales loss and was an unforeseen circumstance as opposed to a lagging sales effort. Presented with the data, the vendor agreed that the drop off was beyond Shepherd's control and lowered their sales goals for that year. The net effect was that Shepherd Electric qualified for and received $7,000 of rebates that they otherwise wouldn't have, a result they attribute to MITS and its analytical capabilities. "It's one thing to say the tool is fast and it has increased efficiency, etc., but we can concretely say that MITS helped us secure a $7,000 rebate that we otherwise wouldn't have received. That in itself is pretty powerful."


"Vendors want to hear their successes," Jeff explains. "They may not enjoy hearing their failures, but they want to understand their failures. And from my perspective, MITS gives us the tools to go in and identify the root causes behind successes, or even failures. As an end user of MITS, what the tool has done for me so far, along with the benefits I expect to receive as I deepen my involvement in the product is nothing short of amazing. I truly think MITS product is excellent. There are dollars in value that I can associate back to the cost of the MITS product, and based on my understanding, it is well worth our investment and I am very glad I have it."


Jason agrees: "Even if you remove that $7K victory, there is no doubt that MITS has paid for itself many times over."  


To read additional success stories, visit  



Eclipse Users Group Members
New Install Special Offer - 10% Discount until May 31, 2013
  Contact Colin Sherman, National Sales Manager by May 31st at 206-550-6854 or
"The UFO Advice Column"  User to User We All Improve
by "Uncle" Frank Ousterhout

Dear Uncle Frank,

                I am looking forward to the Epicor Insights Nashville conference. How can I be sure to meet other Eclipse users in such a big meeting?


                Shy Sam from Birmingham


Dear Shy Sam,

                Yes, it is a big meeting but fear not. Although Epicor has many software platforms each person wears a ribbon attached to their name badge indicating which software they use. Look for the Eclipse ribbons (and be sure to add an Eclipse ribbon to your badge at the registration desk.)

                Most of your classes will be for Eclipse only topics so they are excellent places to meet users who want to learn the same topics as you do.

                But that is just a start. There are MANY other opportunities to network with Eclipse users.

                The Welcome Reception on Monday night is big, but again, just zero in on Eclipse ribbon wearers.

                Meals are organized by computer software, so be sure to sit at an Eclipse table. Then it is just "Hi, I'm Sam in Purchasing, what do you do in your company?" A very easy icebreaker.

                Tuesday evening's Wine and Cheese Reception is in the Solutions Pavilion. That's where the vendor booths are. Be sure to hang out in the Eclipse area and find the UFO booth (#25/26) where you will see a sea of Eclipse ribbons. While you're at the UFO booth, sign up for the free door prize raffles and be sure to introduce yourself to Magnificent Mary and Splendid Suzanne. They run the Users Group and are two of the friendliest people in the room.

                At 8:00am on Wednesday is the Eclipse Users Group Meeting. It will have the most Eclipse users per square foot at any one time. EVERYONE in the room is there for Eclipse. It is always a lively and informative meeting and definitely worth attending.

                Finally, be on the lookout for UFO Board members wearing special UFO shirts. They are the volunteers who work hard to enable the UFO to provide so many benefits to members. I guarantee you that they will be happy to greet you and discuss any Eclipse matter. I have learned a lot from them over the years.

                And, I would like to meet you. Let's meet at the UFO booth (#25/26). Just stop by and ask Mary or Suzanne when I am expected to arrive.



                Uncle Frank 


Returning Member During April

Multi Sales Inc., La Palma, CA

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