Eclipse Users Group (UFO) Newsletter                                                                                        June 2014
June Web Classes Posted
Onsite Class San Jose, CA
Date
Class TitleFormat / Presented by
June 2, 2014
New Hire #1 Eterm Basic System Navigation 
Webinar - Zerion
June 3, 2014
New Hire #2 Eterm Basic System Navigation Sales 
Webinar - Zerion
June 4, 2014
New Hire #3 Eterm Basic System Navigation Purchasing 
Webinar - Zerion
June 5, 2014
New Hire #4 Eterm Basic System Navigation Warehouse
Webinar - Zerion
June 12, 2014
Cash Receipts & Cash Box Eterm
Webinar - Zerion
June 17, 2014
The Case For Outsourced Billing by Billtrust 
Vendor Product Webinar - Billtrust
June 18-19, 2014
Solar - The New Frontier - It's What You Make It!
On-site at Electrical Distributors, San Jose, CA
June 19, 2014Cash Receipts & Cash Box SolarWebinar - Zerion
June 24, 2014

Optimizing Eclipse Forecasts and Inventory Purchasing by Thrive Technologies 

Vendor Product Webinar - Thrive Technologies
June 26, 2014
Valuable Inventory Reports Solar 
Webinar - Zerion

In This Issue
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New and Returning Members during April and May 2014
It was nice to meet so many current and potentially future members at the Eclipse Users Group (UFO) booth during Insights 2014. 
New Members


Company Name
City 
State
Bernie Electric IncKansas CityKS
Ed's Supply Co., IncNashville
TN
European SinkAtlantaGA
Johnstone Supply CorporatePortlandOR
SW Anderson SalesFarmingdaleNY
The Salina Supply CompanySalinaKS
Returning Members


Portland GroupBillericaMA
Leeps Supply CompanyMerrillvilleIN

Why attend ENCOUNTER 2014

By Rich Chadwick, UFO Training Committee Chair

 

After a successful kickoff in 2013 the Eclipse Users Group Training and Networking Conference now has a new title, ENCOUNTER, and a plan for the future.  The plan is to host a yearly conference of Eclipse users that works in tandem with Epicor Insights to provide low cost training and a venue for exchange ideas.  With Insights in the spring and ENCOUNTER in the fall there will be an opportunity to exchange ideas and network every six months.  There are many good reasons to attend ENCOUNTER, but let's concentrate on the four most important:

 

1.     Training sessions on specific Eclipse software features:

The baseline for ENCOUNTER is low cost high value training. With five unique training tracks consisting of 54 sessions, the conference has something for a wide variety of needs.  From purchasing and pricing to accounting this event is targeted at the people who use the Eclipse software on a daily basis.  As with any comprehensive software package, Eclipse is changing to meet new market requirements.  It's important for your company to be informed about the latest improvements.  When a new feature becomes available, should your company take advantage of it, or is it not something that fits how you operate?  The best method to answer that question is a detailed understanding gained through training on that feature. The Eclipse product is expensive to purchase and to operate, the best way for you to get a return on that continuing investment is a make sure that you are taking full advantage of every enhancement possible.

 

 2.     Meet and interface with Eclipse professionals:

The Eclipse Product Mangers are the people who make the decisions on what new features are added to the product and how those features interact with the users. They are also a great source of information about the current product and its features.  The Product Managers will be laying out the "Road Map" for future development in Eclipse and what changes are coming and in what release you can expect to see them.  If you want to have some input on the future direction of the Eclipse product, this where that process starts. This is a great opportunity to influence the people who make change happen in Eclipse.  In addition this year many members of Eclipse Professional Services will be conducting sessions and meeting with clients. These are the people who have a lot of experience with the Eclipse product and can offer insights on how different companies configured the product to improve their business performance.

 

3.     Meet and exchange ideas with industry peers.

One of the top reasons to attend ENCOUNTER is to exchange ideas and experiences with other Eclipse users.  Attending a session with people who share the same challenges, likely from the same industry, and who are using the same software is a great way to learn new ways to accomplish your job.  When any person is confronted with a new problem, they reach into their past experiences for a possible solution.  Now consider that same problem, but with a room full of people with different past experiences.  One of the great things that happen is people commenting "I never thought of that solution for my problem". Or at least "Everyone has this problem and nobody has a better solution yet".  This is the time to start or improve your personal network of industry contacts. Your ability to share experiences and learn from the others makes you a more effective employee for your company.

 

4.     See the latest Third Party products and services.
With Eclipse being such a widely used ERP system in wholesale distribution, third party companies have developed products to interact with Eclipse to solve problems and add additional functionality.  Over 15 of these companies will be attending ENCOUNTER and hosting sessions about their products.  From training and consulting to Web sites and mobile apps there is a wide variety of products and services that can improve your company.  It's important to keep up with the new features in Eclipse, it's also important for your company to know about additional products that can improve productivity or enhance a customer experience.  Many impressive innovations have come from small companies that concentrate on doing one great thing. 

Now what are you waiting for, go the Eclipse Users Group web site, view the conference schedule, and register.  If your company is unsure if it's worth the investment in education, consider the cost to your organization when your competitors start taking advantage of new products and features and you don't.

The UFO Advice Column
by 'Uncle' Frank Ousterhout

 

 

Dear Uncle Frank,

 

                Just like in a previous column responding to Charlie from Chattanooga, I also work with many open Solar windows.

 

                Your tip about changing the File/Preference/Advanced setting to NOT to go back to the previous open window was a big help.

 

                But it is still a big nuisance that I have to minimize all my open windows to get to my Solar Eclipse Main Window.  Of course, I could keep a bit of the main window uncovered with some careful sizing of my working windows but then I can't use my working window in full screen mode to more easily see everything.  And I also have to go back to the mouse but I agree with you that (mostly) mouseless Solar is best.

 

                Can you help?

 

                Olivia from Ontario


 

Dear Olivia,

 

                Here is an often overlooked and rarely taught tip!

 

                From (almost) every screen, use ALT+'U' and then 'S'.  As we say in the hills here, Shazaam - your Solar Main Window is on top.

 

                What you are actually doing is calling your User Tools menu with the ALT+U and then 'S' for Solar Eclipse Main Window.  Think of it as a global hot key sequence.

 

                Now, if only I could figure out how to get it on each custom toolbar.

 

                Regards,

                Uncle Frank


North Coast Electric and epaCUBE: The Importance of Developing an Internal Core Competency in Gross Margin Optimization epacube high res

by epaCUBE, Vendor Partner

 

When Eclipse user North Coast Electric (NCE) looked to improve their gross margin position, they knew two things were true. First, they knew they had to approach gross margin holistically across their entire enterprise. Second, they knew that in order to succeed in the long-run, they needed to develop their own core competency in gross margin optimization.

 

"Distributors lose gross margin in data problems, pricing complexities, costing, rebates and more," says Rick Bumpus, EVP/COO of NCE. "We knew we couldn't trust such an interwoven set of issues to an outside consultant.  We needed to handle our margin issues internally."

 

epaCUBE gives NCE a total in-house approach to gross margin optimization. The first step involved solid product data. NCE uses epaCUBE to automate and accelerate keeping all product data cleaner and more current. "epaCUBE dramatically improves working with PDW," says Bumpus. "Prior to epaCUBE, we had incomplete data, blind weekly loads from TradeService and IDW and no way to compare or validate data before uploading. Now our data is cleaner and more current."

 

Next, NCE uses epaCUBE's analytics and modeling to combine historical data with new changes to model the effect of changes like supplier cost updates and what-if changes like complex contract negotiations to determine what the future impact on their margin will be down the road. "epaCUBE makes us proactive in the face of changes," says Bumpus. "We know how cost changes will impact our business and our customers. We can see new opportunities to make money and areas where supplier negotiations could really pay off."

 

Finally, epaCUBE provides predictive analysis and guidance on pricing based on customer and product segments to drive margins higher. "Pricing is such a critical component in driving profitability," says Bumpus, "that we couldn't see outsourcing it to a consultant. You can't outsource customer relationships and we wanted to own our segmentation."

 

"Our data is more accurate, our contracts are better, our matrices are more precise, we've dramatically reduced overrides, and we're making more money" says Bumpus.

 

If you would like to see if epaCUBE could help your company, please contact Randy Hughes at rhughes@epacube.com 

Have you made your hotel reservations yet? Make them NOW, space is limited!

Did You Forget or Never Knew?? Purge Bids

By Elizabeth Richardt - Capp USA

 

Bids stay in Eclipse until you either turn them into an Order or Delete them. The bid file seems to be the worst file we all have for housekeeping but one of the easiest to schedule and forget. The Bid Purge program is in Eterm only, so whoever does this job for you will need Eterm access.

  • When you are ready to purge bids, there are two parameters used for determining if the bid should be purged.
    • Minimum number of days past the pricing expire date. This is determined by your control maintenance record, "Number of Days Before Bid Pricing Expires"
    • Minimum number of days past the ship date.
  • From Solar - Select "Maintenance" from the Main Menu bar ->Merge/Purge->Purge Bids (Eterm = F1->U->B). The Bid Purge window will open

 

 

 

 

  • Set the "Minimum Days Past Pricing Expire Before Purge" to your company's preference. In this case 60 days.
  • AND Set your "Minimum Days Past Ship Date Before Purge" to your company's preference. In this case 180 (6month)
  • Once you have determined your parameters, you will press "Alt B" to Begin immediately or Alt "S" to Schedule for a later time.
  • If you select "Schedule", the Phantom Scheduler window will open. You can now determine when your bids will automatically "Purge". In this example you can see that the Bids will purge on the 1st day of every month, starting June 1st and will do this monthly thereafter. Any bid with a ship date beyond 6 months and whose pricing has ALSO EXPIRED, will be purged. If your pricing is good for one year, but the bid's ship date is beyond the 180 days on the order - that bid Will NOT be purged, because it did not meet both criteria. 

 

  • When you finish your set-up on the Phantom Scheduler screen - press ESC
  • A window will open with the most important questions.
    • Are You Sure You Want to Purge?
    • Bids Will Be Unrecoverable After Purge:  N
    • "No" is the default for safety reasons. Once you change to "Y"es and Esc. The bids will be purged on the date and time you selected.
  • If you did NOT schedule your bids, but decided to start the purge right away, once you say "Yes" to the question, they are gone and only a restore will get them back, so make sure you are ready!

Tour de Force CRM - Extensive Integration with Eclipse a Key Benefit 

By Tour de Force - Vendor Partner

  

Tour de Force CRM is a software solution that provides customer relationship management, sales force automation, and in-depth business intelligence.  A key benefit of the Tour de Force CRM software solution is our extensive integration to your Epicor Eclipse ERP system. This integration allows us to provide a wide range of in-depth business intelligence, reporting, and analytics based on over 1000 data points per customer which are automatically pulled into the Tour de Force CRM database nightly. This integration also allows us to offer advanced features such as a 2-way contact sync and a Quote to Order process which allows you to prepare a Quote in Tour de Force CRM and convert it to an order in Eclipse.

 

Over the past 5 years, Tour de Force CRM has maintained a customer retention rate of over 95%. In an industry where failure is common, Tour de Force CRM succeeds because of our experience in the Distribution industry and our focus on user adoption. We know that if the system does not deliver immediate value to your users and if it is not easy to use, the project will fail. We overcome this failure by focusing on user adoption from day one. Our goal is not to implement a data collection system, but rather to implement a data distribution system. Through features like Alerts & Notifications and the Build Your Own Reports (BYOR) module, we are able to provide your sales team with information about their customers that they would never have been able to access in the past. Tour de Force CRM offers a flexible mobile CRM as well as full integration with Microsoft Outlook, making the system easy to access and easy to use. 

 

Over the past 13 years, our distributor clients have contributed to the continued development, growing feature set, and overall direction of Tour de Force CRM, resulting in a software solution that has truly been created by distributors for distributors. 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 95% 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.

 

Tour de Force Efficient

 

 

Insights 2014 Review

by Chris Bohn,  UFO Board Vice President & Enhancement Committee Chair

 

Well another Insights has come and gone.  For those of you that attended this year, did you notice a difference?  I don't think I am alone in recognizing the tangible energy this year surrounding the Eclipse product.  Gone were the Eclipse doldrums we experienced at the last two Insights, with Eclipse customers wondering when Eclipse was going to be merged, converged, and eventually purged. 

 

Although the mention of Eclipse was lacking at the keynote presentations with Eclipse being eclipsed by the release of Epicor E10 (notice my pun...please!), the Eclipse Road Ahead Session and the Meet the Eclipse Product Managers class brought to light the bright future of Eclipse.  I was impressed with the Alpha version of the new Solar Main Screen.  The 8.7.9 upgrade is underway in beta now and should be available in July for release.  That release's impressive purchasing enhancements showcased at Insights (coming from one of our Enhancement Committee sponsored Deep Dives I might add!), were so well received that Bill Wright, Eclipse Program Manager, said that he didn't have to beg for beta testers as customers were lining up to test the new release. 

 

I was in a meeting with Donna Troy, the new head of EPICOR ERP - Americas (she replaced Kevin Roach) and I asked her about Eclipse's future and her response was that Eclipse is one of their primary go forward products and Epicor is committed to its future.  We've heard rhetoric such as that before, but this time I actually believed it because her statements are backed by actions that prove the talk.  The number of additional people added to Eclipse development is very encouraging.  The roadmap is encouraging.  The Program Managers were pumped up about Eclipse.  We have seen actual working progress on future enhancements. 

 

I mention all of this because I think it important to know that our Eclipse future is brighter than it has been in many years and the enhancements will keep on flowing.  Make sure your input is part of the future!  There is no better time to get people involved at your company to provide enhancement feedback and ideas.  Log in, vote, participate, share, and help keep Eclipse the industry leading platform for distribution!

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

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