Eclipse Users Group (UFO) Newsletter                                                                                               October  2013
October Training Classes Posted
 
October 2nd & 3rdNew Hire Eterm # 1 &# 2 Webinar - Zerion
October 10thGeneral Ledger Set UpWebinar - Zerion
October 15thWhy Tour de Force CRM?Webinar - Tour de Force Vendor Partner Product
October 22nd
Optimizing Eclipse Forecasts and Inventory Purchasing 
Webinar - Thrive Technologies Vendor Partner Product
October 24thGeneral Ledger Report GeneratorWebinar - Zerion

New Video Posted - Managing Transfers - Eterm & Solar
New Member in September
 
Epting Distributors, Inc., Lexington, SC

In This Issue
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Las Vegas Conference Wrap Up
by Rich Chadwick, Training Committee Chair

The Eclipse Users Group held a very successful Training and Networking Conference September 19-20 at the Hyatt Place in Las Vegas NV.  The conference was a response to input from members who felt that "something smaller with just Eclipse people" was needed.  

  

The Eclipse Users Group developed some guidelines that the conference was built around: 

  1. Keep costs to a minimum.
    Registration - Suzanne Saltmarsh & Chris Thorpe help an attendee.
  2. Focus on training that can be immediately put to use.
  3. Allow vendor partners an opportunity to educate members on their offerings.
  4. Allow time for the interchange of ideas and experiences between members.  
     

The response from members, vendors, and Epicor Eclipse was extremely positive. The members, over 100, signed up so quickly that the conference was sold out before the end of the Early Bird Special. Many companies wanted to have additional people attend but the conference was full before they signed up. 

 

Vendor Partners

  

The vendors  not only wanted to attend but sponsored almost all of the meals and the reception, which directly helped keeping the member cost low.  Epicor Eclipse had some Product Managers attend, both to teach sessions and interact with members.  In addition Epicor Eclipse sponsored a thumb drive for each attendee.  


  
 
 
 
The conference schedule was three two day tracks:
 

1.      Purchasing and Inventory Control

2.      Product Lifecycle, RF Tips, Cut Products, Cycle Counts, and Programming Labels

3.      PDW, Pricing, Report Writer, TCL, Control files and Managing Users Queues.

 

From the member feedback the conference clearly exceeded expectations.  Great training was given and many people were ready to start taking advantage of these features back in at their individual companies.  

 

Shuttle to Johnstone LV

 

 

Of course some of the best outcomes are when Eclipse users get together and discuss what new things they are trying to do to get more out of the system.  This is the real magic of these types of events, the unplanned conversation that produces a great idea that you can take back and use.

 

Purchasing Class at Hyatt Place

 

 

 

  

  

With the 2013 Training and Networking Conference over, planning has already begun for 2014. Initial planning is for Atlanta GA around the same time period, likely at a hotel near the airport for easy access.  Expect the conference to be bigger with more members, more classes, and bigger rooms.  The Training Committee is looking for input on the schedule of classes/events so if you are willing to lead a Class or Roundtable discussion please let Mary and Suzanne know at edufo@eclipseuser.com 

3 Ways to Win on the Web

by Caxiam Group - Vendor Partner

 


Distributors and retailers alike are utilizing the power of web technology to take their businesses to the next level. It is not easy and the competition isn't letting up, but don't let that intimidate you from getting started! Let us give you some helpful insights as you think about your online presence.

 

Insight #1 - Have a Plan

The web is not a frontier. Although the web is constantly changing, its borders have been explored and are well documented. It is a known platform for conducting and promoting business. Companies that are successful on the web all share one common trait - they plan! What does a winning plan look like? While it differs from company to company, all good plans revolve around the customer - or what we call a "user" in the web world.

Every plan begins with knowing your audience and their buying behaviors. We refer to these as user personas. We attempt to research all your customers and categorize them into several main groupings. We then ask, on a group level, things like: What are they hoping to accomplish from our site? What are we hoping they will do on our site? What are their buying patterns? What type of devices are they most likely to use on our site? Many times we will use phone interviews and online surveys to collect information from your customers to help us better understand your audience.

Once you have established your user personas, it's time to start

thinking about how you will engage them. We refer to this as a content strategy. A content strategy answers questions like: What keywords and phrases will our users use to find us? How competitive are those keywords in our industry? What type of content will be most likely to help them succeed? And what type of content are they most likely to tell their colleagues about? In the world of the web, content is KING and you are invisible to Google without it.

The last hurdle to overcome in your planning phase is the functionality of the website. To help with this we develop wireframes (the architectural blueprints in the web world) for every page of the site. We ask things like: What are the actions a user might take on this page? What product attributes will be used on this page for filtering and searching? Where will each piece of data found on this page come from in our ERP system? All of these questions need to be answered before construction begins.

 

Insight #2 - Clean Your Data

Have you ever heard the phrase, "garbage in, garbage out"? Of course you have, and it's annoyingly accurate! Your website product and customer data should be presented in a way that is attractive to would-be shoppers. Imagine walking

through a clothing store that mixed men's and women's pants. What about a store where prices were not clearly marked on the items you were interested in? Or worse yet, a store where you couldn't find anything you were looking for because nothing was organized. In the world of e-commerce, this means you should categorize your products into a logical hierarchy. It means your products should have well-written descriptions. And most times it means you should have good product photography with clearly marked pricing.

But products are just one aspect. Have you thought about your customer accounts and their ordering history? What about accurate

inventory from warehouse to warehouse? Time and time again we see beautifully designed websites with bad data and confused owners wondering why they aren't selling more. Caxiam does more than just design e-commerce stores. We help clients position themselves to take control of their data. We offer tools and training to help them turn an ERP full of records into a powerful sales and marketing tool.

 

Insight #3 - Measure Your Results

Now that you have a plan to engage your users and your data is clean, it's time to start measuring results.

Enter Google Analytics. Analytics tell you how well your content strategy is working and what you need to do to make adjustments. Analytics can tell you where your users are coming from, what products they find to be the most important, and what other sites they found you from. It can even tell you the pages where users are most likely to leave your site and abandon their shopping cart.

Beyond Google Analytics there are a whole host of third-party tools that provide useful reporting. Have you ever wondered how many sites have links to your site? What about how much your customers are spending on search engine marketing? Did you know you can even find out how your competitor's website ranks for the very keywords you wish to have?

Lastly, never underestimate the value of human interaction. Sometimes the best way to know how your website is working is simply to ask your users. Regardless of the method, talk to your customers and make sure you have a good two-way communication channel.

 

About Caxiam

Caxiam is an experienced web development company. We work with SMBs, Distributors and Startups to build Web Applications & E-Commerce Platforms.

We are located in Orlando, FL and have an on-site team of professionals uniquely trained in design, development and ERP integration. We have helped distributors from all over the country develop a strategy for taking their business online. Please don't hesitate to contact us! We're excited to get started working with you!

 

Ethan Pitsch

CEO and Chief of Strategy @ Caxiam

"The UFO Advice Column" - User to User We All Improve

 

Dear Uncle Frank,

                I just came back from vacation but now I am sorry that I went.  My customers are very upset with me.  It seems that while I was away nobody was watching my CUSTOMER CALLING QUEUE.  You know, the queue that tells me when a backordered item has arrived and I need to get it quickly to my customer.  (I also try to build the item I am about to ship to a bigger order as a 'convenience' for the customer.)

 

                But no one was watching my calling queue so the incoming products just sat here until I got back.  A year's worth of great customer service by me was diminished.  How can I get my co-workers to pay attention to my customers' needs when I am away?

 

                Sam (the superior salesperson) from Sacramento

 

 

Dear Sam,

                It has always been a problem to get your coworkers to check your queues while on vacation BUT Solar now makes it simple.

 

                The CUSTOMER CALLING QUEUE Widget that you use can be set up on your coworkers (or managers) own desktop to monitor YOUR Calling Queue! 

 

                When they set it up, they just use your user ID for the Widget Parameters.  Then the widget on THEIR desktop will watch out for YOUR customers.  When you return, they can just right-click on the widget and remove it.  Of course, you will return the favor and watch their Calling Queue when they are on vacation.

 

                Managers: it is useful at times to set up this and similar widgets on YOUR desktop for the people you are responsible for.  For your employees on vacation, new hires, or others that need monitoring, widgets can be set up to watch their Calling Queues, Fax Queues, Suggested PO Queues, Bid Follow Up Queues or anything else you want to monitor.

 

                Regards,

                Uncle Frank


 by Tour de Force - Vendor Partner

 

 

Is an Epicor Alliance Partner, 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 12 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?

  

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.

  

Want to learn more? Contact us at 877-285-4800

Free Tablets!

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 (ashley.kurtzman@tourdeforcecrm.com) and mention the Eclipse Users Group October promotion.  

 

This promotion cannot be combined with any other discount or lease program.

Offer Expires 10/31/13. Contact Ashley Kurtzman ashley.kurtzman@tourdeforcecrm.com

How to Mass Load a Value to the End of a List (even if the list is stored as sub-sub-values!)

Warning: This article contains instructions on an advanced topic which should be used with caution.  Always test mass loads with one or two products selected and verify the result.  Furthermore, it is always recommended to consult with Eclipse regarding mass load best practices and limitations to ensure proper use.


There are often times when you need to add something in Eclipse to a large number of records - like a set of contracts that should be added to every customer in a certain category, or an additional keyword to the existing list of keywords in a product line, or a set of new branches to the list of authorized branches for users. The problem is that you can't know for sure how long the existing list is. Using the following method, you don't need to know - you'll always just be adding to the end of the existing list.

 

For example, let's say that we add 3 new branches. Every user needs to be authorized for those new branches. User information lives in the INITIALS file. The list of authorized branches is in the dictionary AUTH_BR as values.

 

As you can see below in my TCL print screen, user PGOODR has 10 branches listed in AUTH_BR (Value 10 is IL09).


However, a different user might not have these 10 branches - let's say IL02, IL03 and IL08 are no longer in use. They might only have 7 branches listed:

  

 


How can we add 3 branches to this list when we don't know how many branches are already loaded?

 

First, we make an I-Descriptor that looks like how we want AUTH_BR to look. The raw data for AUTH_BR actually is stored like this:

IL012IL042IL052IL062IL072WI01

The superscript 2 between each branch is a Value Marker.

 

Our I-descriptor needs to be whatever is already in AUTH_BR, plus the new branches WI11, WI13 and WI15. We want it to look like:

IL012IL042IL052IL062IL072WI012WI112WI132WI15

 

To write value markers in an I-descriptor use @VM for a value marker, @SVM for a sub-value marker, or  CHAR(251) for a sub-sub-value marker.

So my I-descriptor, (I called it JMH.AUTH_BR_ADD), is written like this:

 

AUTH_BR:@VM:"WI11":@VM:"WI13":@VM:"WI15"

It takes the existing AUTH_BR, adds a value marker, then adds WI11, then a value marker, then WI13, etc.

 

Now, using Mass Load, with a selection of only those users I wish to update, I can set AUTH_BR to be equal to my new I-descriptor JMH.AUTH_BR_ADD.

  

 


No matter what file you are updating, I HIGHLY recommend you test any Mass Load with only one or two records selected so you can verify the results are what you want. 

Eclipse Users Group/UFO | 813-643-1001 | edufo@eclipseuser.com | http://www.eclipseuser.com
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