Eclipse Users Group (UFO) Newsletter                                                                                         May 2014
May Web Classes Posted
Onsite Class Canton, MA
Date
Class TitleFormat / Presented by
May 5, 2014
New Hire #1 Solar Basic System Navigation 
Webinar - Zerion
May 6, 2014
New Hire #2 Solar Basic System Navigation Sales 
Webinar - Zerion
May 7, 2014
New Hire #3 Solar Basic System Navigation Purchasing 
Webinar - Zerion
May 8, 2014
New Hire #4 Solar Basic System Navigation Warehouse
Webinar - Zerion
May 15, 2014
Valuable Inventory Reports Eterm
Webinar - Zerion
May 20, 2014
"Breakthrough Growth with Existing Customers with SMP and Industry Expert 
Neil Gillespie
Vendor Product Webinar - SMP
May 22, 2014
Product File Fields Used in Purchasing - Eterm
Webinar - Zerion
May 20 & 21, 2014
Solar - The New Frontier - It's What You Make It!
On-site at Needham Electric, Canton, MA
May 27, 2014

Populating Eclipse with Product Content that Sells 

Vendor Product Webinar - Idea (IDW)
May 29, 2014
Product File Fields Used in Purchasing Solar
Webinar - Zerion

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Claiming Your Share of the 637 Billion Dollar B2B Market

By Computer Pundits Corp

 

Last year alone, one industrial B2B distributor claimed more than 3 billion in revenue. The way customers purchase online is one of the fastest changing factors of selling in today's B2B environment. Accounting for these changes in buyer preference and usage is critical to the success of your business in the long term. Learn what is required to claim your share of the 637 billion dollar B2B market by attending Computer Pundits webinar on July, 15th.

 

As the demands of customers change, so does the type of eCommerce solution and the features required to serve them properly. Computer Pundits will be discussing ways to target and engage users of your eCommerce web storefront to drive sales. In addition, a variety of tactics will be presented about how to offer each user of your web storefront a personalized display tailored to their interest and needs.

 

Simply having a web storefront is not enough; proper implementation and use of a web storefront is crucial to successfully satisfying the needs of customers. During its presentation, CPC will demonstrate how offering tailored content and a customized user interface improves customer experience and creates repeat business. Computer Pundits will also teach you how to most efficiently utilize an eCommerce solution to target niche markets and the most demanding of customers using a single database.

 

As a bonus, the presenter will highlight what some of the most successful companies in B2B eCommerce are doing to achieve their success and how your business can learn from and replicate this success. The training will round out when CPC teaches you how to induce purchasing decisions by reaching out for customers using mobile applications and integrated eCommerce marketing campaigns.

 

Finally, CPC will discuss how to reach out for customers using mobile applications and integrated eCommerce marketing campaigns to induce purchasing decisions. The money is there for the taking. Want to learn how to take back your share? Join Computer Pundits on July 15th, 2014 to learn how.

 

     

Support Corner
by Bill Wright, Sr. Product Manager

Epicor Eclipse Release 8.7.9 will be in beta testing the month of June and anticipating that it will be generally available for any customer the beginning of July after the holiday.

 

High level features include:

  •  Three new forecasting methods (Solar)
    • Single Exponential Smoothing
    • Holt Model
    • Holt-Winters Model
  • Best Fit Analysis (Solar) - Eclipse will determine the best forecast method compared to your sales history and display the information in the new advance demand forecasting analysis screen.
  • User Defined Queue Builder (Solar) - Build any queue you want using the Eclipse files and dictionary's.  Fields can be updated based on file and dictionary permissions.
  • Suggested Purchase Order Enhancements
    • Added the ability to suggest a second target (Solar & Eterm)
    • Updated Suggested Purchase Order Report to add the second target suggestion information (Solar & Eterm)
    • Updated Suggested Purchase Order Queue to compare two targets (Solar)
    • Added the Suggested Purchase Order Detail Queue (Solar)
      • Displays same information as the report
      • Edit unit cost, short and line buy quantities
      • Queue has a vendor input to calculate vendor pricing for suggested items
      • Convert to a purchase order from the queue
    • Suggested Purchase Order Queue Return On Added Investment Calculation (Solar)
      • Added industry standard ROAI calculation for quantity or volume and price increases
  • Progress Billing (Solar)
    • Invoice based on progress or phases of an order.  Billing is done on predetermined dates and not based on shipment of inventory.

 

Companion Products 

  • Carton Packing Enhancements
    • Added the ability to define a carton master, pallet, container, etc...
  • Avalara Sales Tax - New product that calculates sales tax.  More features and functionality compared to other services.
  • RF Pick and Pass -  New core RF flow related to wave picking that allows additional control over the flow between picking zones.
Enhancement Committee Update

by Chris Bohn, Enhancement Committee Chair

 

By the time you read this, Eclipse release 8.7.9 will probably be in beta and soon to be released.  The exciting part of this release is it incorporates many of the purchasing ideas that came from the Eclipse / Enhancement Committee led Purchasing Deep Dive that was help in February of 2013.  You may recall that we had Dr. Barry Lawrence of Texas A&M College of Industrial Distribution present at that session to help guide the discussion on future trends and best practices in purchasing and inventory management.  We had 14 users from 12 companies guiding the future of purchasing in Eclipse.  Many enhancements were documented from that meeting and ultimately will make their way into the 8.7.9 release. 

 

In addition to the Face-2-Face deep dive enhancements, each and every idea that is in the Purchasing and Inventory Community of the Ideas site have been reviewed in detail by both Eclipse and members of the Enhancement Committee.  The goal was to review every idea and see if it can or will be incorporated in the purchasing enhancements.  I'm pleased to report that several of the ideas will be incorporated just as part of the 8.7.9 enhancements.  A big thank you goes out to Rick Black of ABR Wholesalers, Inc., our committee lead for the Purchasing and Inventory Community for the extra work he has put in during that review process.   Additional thanks goes to Bill Wright, one of Eclipse's Product Development managers for his efforts in reviewing the ideas with us and trying to squeeze more ideas into an already loaded development schedule.

 

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that your ideas were the starting point of this review.  Thank you for those ideas.  Your votes are also important.  While we reviewed each and every idea, the number of votes did influence how much effort we spent on an idea. 

 

There is my plug for stating as always, remember to visit the communities of your expertise, review the ideas there and finally place your votes!

 

My challenge to each and every member company is to have a representative of your company assigned to each community and spend an hour or so a month logging in and reviewing and voting on what is there.  

Ideas Spotlight 

Here is a sample of some of the new ideas on the Ideas Site.  If these seem like a good idea, please vote!

 

Warning that Item being Quoted is on Other Quotes

Order Entry Community - Posted by JHEINZEL on 4/1/2014

We need a customer level option to "Warn User When Part Entered Is On Open Bid"  When entering a part on a quote or order, it would be nice to know that the item has been quoted to the customer already on another quote. Currently we have no idea that the customer was already quoted - perhaps for an entire BOM. If the customer doesn't reference the quote number, we will end up recreating the entire order as well as not using the previously quoted pricing.

 

Window closes after use

Solar Community - Posted by larry.mcmullin on 3/26/2014

As someone who runs a lot of reports for analysis, I find that closing a report window each and every time after a report is kicked off a waste of time.  For example: say a separate sales statistic report needs to be run for every sales person.  Currently, after the report is selected, the sale person is selected and the report kicked off, the window closes and the user has to start all over again. This is very time consuming and unproductive. 

 

The UFO Advice Column
by 'Uncle' Frank Ousterhout

 

Dear Uncle Frank,

                Now that my company has moved to Solar I REALLY like that when I open new tasks in Solar they do not 'pile up' vertically like in Eterm.  I no longer have to 'Esc' to close my current activity to get back to a previous activity.  If I want to get to the activity three items 'deep', I do not have to close off the top two.

 

                Now, while at my busy counter, I can be working on a bid from a phone call; have a customer walk up to the counter and start an order with me; go back to the first bid while the guy in front of me calls his boss or jobsite for more information; then get back to the order for the counter pickup when he is ready.  And anytime in the middle of that I can print an order in the system for pickup for another customer who just walked in!

 

                But I do have one problem.  When I exit (close) a current window in Solar, it automatically opens up the previous open window.  Often I do not want to go immediately back to that window but I want to keep it available while I am doing something else.

 

                Should I suggest this as an enhancement?  I am told that using the UFO bulletin boards are how good ideas get back to the Eclipse programmers.

 

                Counterman Charlie from Chattanooga

 

 

 

Dear Charlie,

                No need to suggest an enhancement on this idea.  It is already in the software!

 

                Start at 'File' on the main menu bar, and then go to 'Preferences'.  Click on the 'Advanced' tab and UNCHECK the item "Upon Window close, set focus to next window".  That will make the change you want.

 

                Since you are using multiple windows to handle multiple customers at the same time, I hope you are taking advantage of the setting on the Quick Sales Order Widget that lets you start Order Entry from ANYWHERE or ANY SCREEN without using the mouse.

 

                Edit your Quick Sales Order Entry Widget (Right click on the widget and click Edit) then set the 'Activation Key Stroke' to a Function Key.  I use 'F2'.  Then, ANYWHERE that I hold down the CONTROL Key and the ALT Key and at the same time touch 'F2', I am immediately back on my Solar desktop and my cursor is ready at Quick Sales Order Entry.  When setting up multiple Quick Sales Widgets for different customers, you can assign each one a different Function Key.  Note: If you are unable to edit your widget, ask your IT person to take care of this for you.

 

                Regards,

                Uncle Frank

  

PS: In a previous column I mentioned that when you set up the CTL+ALT+"F-key" function you should also edit the Widget Title (top line of the setup.)  It will then always show you the keystrokes to use for direct access.  For example, if you are using 'F2', then the Widget Title should be edited to "Quick Sales Order Entry  CTL+ALT+F2".

 

 E-Branch vs. Brick Branch

 by Second Phase

 

There has been a lot of buzz around the conferences, blogs and trade media about beginning to look at your website as an E-Branch.  When you open yourself to that kind of thinking it really changes the whole way you look at investing in your website.  As you well know, the success of a new branch is based on the investment you put in with time, money and people.   Cutting corners or getting too aggressive on any of those 3 will usually result in a poor return on your investment.  If you treat your website as the main customer portal to your business, focused on 24/7 sales, marketing and support, and invest in it as if it was a branch the results can be substantial. Some of the major distribution players have been doing that for years and are now reaping the rewards.  For example, Grainger.com is bringing in close to $2B in web based sales which represents 30% of their revenue and they project that to reach 50% in the next 2-3 years.  What do you think their return on investment (ROI) is when compared to a brick branch?

 

When thinking of your company website as an E-Branch it is important to prioritize what will give the best return on your investment.  Here is list of critical features you need to maximize your customer portal's return:

  •    Your customer portal needs to leverage the biggest asset you have, long term customer relationships, by applying each customer's special pricing rules, ship via's, complete order history, unique ordering systems (based on Ariba / cXML or OCI) and other distributor focused needs.  Don't buy an eCommerce system meant for retailers or manufacturers.
  •    The right customer portal should not duplicate your data and require you to learn a new system for managing your product data, pricing, specials, product families, etc...  A truly tight integration with your Eclipse system minimizes the need for specialized staffing, manual order processes, training and extra expenses that kill your ROI.
  •    There are features to eCommerce that have quickly become must haves and ignoring them will impact your e-branch sales.  They are:
    • Dynamic attributes and intelligent search
    • Suggested, related, & popular products
    • Automatic smart phone interface
    • Multiple website storefronts
    • SEO friendly

For more information from the leader in Eclipse focused Customer Portals contact Second Phase at 303-582-9326, sales@ secondphase.net or check out www.secondphase.net

 

Second Phase Logo  

Did You Forget or Never Knew?? Entity Merge Utiltiy

By Elizabeth Richardt - CappUSA

 

Entity Merge Utility is only in Eterm. When you select the option in Solar, Eterm will open automatically for you if it is loaded.  Any one in your company, who will be merging entity records, must have Eterm loaded on their PC.

 

A big difference between merging and purging of Entity records versus Products, is the Entity is a one step process. When you merge one Entity to another, it automatically purges the record you were merging. There is no going back.

 

I.  Set up the key entity properly prior to running the merge utility. Make sure the following is done

a.  Branch access

b. Credit Parameters

c.  Entity-specific matrix records that need to be added or changed to the Key Entity

d.  Customer/Vendor specific part numbers you may need to add or change

II.  Control Maintenance - make sure any Entity records you are merging are not being used for any templates

III.  Not all Entities can be Merged/Purged. The following Check list will help you determine if records can be merged and purged.

 

 IV.  Additional Checks the system does before allowing Entities to be Merged/Purged

a.  CUSTOMER

i.  A customer entity to be purged cannot be listed as:

1.  A customer service stock entity on the Product Maintenance > Primary Inventory Maintenance > User Inventory Controls > Product Inventory Customer Service Stock screen.

2.  An add demand customer on the Product Maintenance > Primary Inventory Maintenance > User Inventory Controls > Add Demand > Add Demand Customer Information screen.

3. The Alternate Customer/Vendor on the Customer Maintenance > Customer/Vendor Specific Part Numbers screen.

4. A consignment ship-to entity on the Customer Maintenance > Additional Info > Miscellaneous Customer Information screen.

5. A contract pricing entity for another customer on that customer's Customer Maintenance . Customer Pricing/Printing > Contract Pricing screen.

 b. VENDOR

i. A vendor entity to be purgedcannotbe listed as:

1. A procure source in the Procurement Confirmation Queue.

2. An Emergency Procure Source in Procurement Group Maintenance.

3. The Default Direct Vendor for a product on the Product Maintenance > Additional Data > Miscellaneous Product Information screen.

4. The Alternate Customer/Vendor on the Vendor Maintenance > Customer/Vendor Specific Part Numbers screen.

V.   To Merge Entities

a. Solar - Select Maintenance from the Main Menu Bar -> Merge / Purge ->Entity Merge Utility. Eterm will open

 

 

b.  Eterm - Select F1 -> "U" Merge/Purge ->  "T" EnTity Merge Utility

c.  Key Entity: field - Enter in the Entity ID or name of the record you are keeping

d. .Entity Merge/Purge List - Enter the Entity or entities, IDs or Names to be merged into the Key Entity.

e.  Alt "B" to Begin - or use Options to schedule.

f.   Press F12 to exit without merging/purging 

VI   If for some reason the Merge/Purge can't take place, you will receive a message.

VII. When the process it complete you will receive a message from the phantom telling you a report is in "Your hold entries". Example of report below

 

 

 
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