Eclipse Users Group (UFO) Newsletter                                                                                 October 2014
October Web - On-Site - Vendor Sessions
Class TitleFormat / Presented by
Oct 6 2014
New Hire #1 Eterm Basic System Navigation 
Webinar - Zerion
Oct 7, 2014
New Hire #2 Eterm Basic System Navigation Sales 
Webinar - Zerion
Oct 8, 2014
New Hire #3 Eterm Basic System Navigation Purchasing 
Webinar - Zerion
Oct 9, 2014
New Hire #4 Eterm Basic System Navigation Warehouse
Webinar - Zerion
Oct 16-17, 2014
Solar the New Frontier - It's what you make it!
ON SITE at Johnstone LV, Las Vegas, NV
Oct 16, 2014
Month End Eterm
Webinar- Zerion
Oct 21, 2014
Vendor Product Webinar - Schmitt ProfiTools
Oct 23, 2014
Month End Solar
Webinar- Zerion
Oct 28, 2014

Eclipse Ecommerce: Custom, Connected & Cutting Edge

Vendor Product Webinar - Caxiam
Oct 30, 2014
Webinar - Zerion
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SPA - The Best Investment in Wholesale Distribution


Distributor managers, like you, get dozens of calls every week.  They catch you off guard.  Before you can politely say "No thanks," the fast talking guy on the other end spews dozens of facts and then drops his mega-bomb.  The bomb is, "Our product is the absolute best, rock-solid investment on the planet."  Hanging up the phone, you quietly return to important work.  We at Strategic Pricing Associates (SPA) would never make that claim.  But, our clients do.  And they don't quietly tell us, they openly share the news with friends, colleagues and sometimes competitors.   


Truthfully, no matter how many times we hear it, we still blush with pride.  Distributors, just like you, come to our Pricing Strategy Seminars and openly talk about implementing our process in panel discussions.  Inevitably one of the seminar attendees will ask, "How long did it take to pay back your investment?"  A few weeks, six weeks, a couple of months are the most common responses.  Eyebrows raise, a general hush comes across the room, and one of the distributors on the panel blurts, "SPA is the best investment we've ever made."   


Think about it.  What would happen if you raised your gross margin by two full points?  SPA helps distributors do just that, building a sustainable margin advantage.   By combining the strength of a scientific computer algorithm, profit building processes, training and metrics from their own invoice data, SPA clients typically drive two full points of gross margin improvement.


Unlike sales growth, gross margin growth requires no new sales people, no extra warehouse equipment or additional delivery vehicles.  Margin increases impact your bottom line and power up your shareholder equity like nothing else in distribution.


All of this happens quickly and without stress and strain on your IT staff.  Strategic Pricing Associates' alliance with Epicor enables near seamless download of your company's historical data.   And, SPA's Pricing Cube uploads directly into your Eclipse System.  All without the "porting and programming" hassles you would otherwise expect.  Gross Margin improvements typically begin to flow in 90 days with a minimum of effort from your internal team. 


Come chat about our unique process.  We invite you to one of our Pricing Strategy Seminars, where we suspect you'll hear the words (and we quote), "The Strategic Pricing Associates process is the best investment in distribution."



SPA main number: 216-455-1540


The UFO Advice Column
by 'Uncle' Frank Ousterhout




Dear Uncle Frank,


                I heard that Eclipse has a great new feature called GLOBAL SEARCH.  But I have been searching my screens and cannot find it.  Is it under F1, F2, ... or somewhere else?


                Robert from Fontana, CA




Dear Robert,


                GLOBAL SEARCH is a very useful feature but is only available in Solar.  You cannot find it under any 'F' key as it is not in Eterm.


                But when you do get onto Solar, you will find that you can use the search box in the upper right corner to do a 'google' type search.  Whatever you enter will search the indexed fields of orders, product records, customer records, vendor records and contact records.  It will show you both the customer and vendor information for an entity, if it exists.  Also, you can search to find menu items (useful when you are on Solar and not sure where a menu or sub-menu is.)


                If you want to limit your searches, you can use the drop down menu next to the gold star to narrow down the category of your search.


                For your customers that use Purchase Order numbers, you can even search for a customer's order by entering the customer PO number in the search box.


                TIP: You can get to the Global Search box from anywhere by just typing Ctrl+ALT+S.  You hold down the Control Key and the Alt Key together and then just touch 's' (not case sensitive.)  It even works while in an order!


                Advanced TIP: The auto-complete feature used for Global Searching AND in Quick Sales Order Entry can be turned off or left on. There is a setting in File / Preferences / Advanced Tab / "Disable Auto-Completion in Widget Search".  This setting controls all auto-completion in widgets.  If turned off, then you must hit 'Enter' to start a search both in Global Search and in Quick Sales Order Entry.  With auto-completion left on, it starts searching after three characters are entered and you can keep entering more characters even as your search results are appearing.




                Uncle Frank


Enhancement Committee News

by Chris Bohn, VP UFO and Enhancement Committee Chair



The day before the User's Group Encounter in Atlanta, the Enhancement Committee had our annual Face-2-Face meeting on Sept. 17.  At the meeting, we had the community leads as well as the Eclipse Product Managers present.  The overall theme of this meeting was not the typical "let's determine the top ideas to incorporate", but rather how to we encourage ideas site use, voting, and probably most important, how do we move ideas into reality.  I'll give you some of the top insights and actions from that meeting:

  • Eclipse Roadmap: The Eclipse roadmap is full of great enhancements.  Release 9.0 of Eclipse is well underway and is focused primarily on the Solar and the Solar User interface. 
  • Eclipse Development: The Epicor-Eclipse development team is robust and additional new talent is innovative and will make Eclipse a viable product for many years to come.
  • New Ideas Community: We are adding a new Ideas Site community called Pricing / SPA.  The focus of this community will be on ways to improve the matrix and how product is priced.  In this case, SPA is Strategic Pricing Associates; however, for those of you in the Electrical world, you can put your manufacturer's SPA ideas here as well!  Note that this is the first time we have a community that incorporates a third party add-on to Eclipse.  But since there is such a tight integration and coding within Eclipse we voted to include it! 
  • Showroom Community: The showroom community has had very little action since its inception.  We will focus on invigorating that community.  There are many companies in the user's group that have showrooms.  I believe that this community is visited infrequently not because there is no interest, but because the showroom users are not invited to the User's Group website and encouraged to participate with ideas.  We most likely have a pent-up demand for showroom enhancements. For those of you with showrooms, here is your easy step by step task list:

1)    Find your company's showroom advocate. 

2)    Give them (or make sure they have) a login to the user's group.

3)    Have them document ideas that they would want from Eclipse from within a showroom.  Have them complete the following sentence: "Wouldn't it be great if Eclipse...."

4)    Have them put those ideas onto the Ideas site.  It could be a long document, individual ideas...whatever.  Let's just get the creative juices flowing and recorded.   

  • Reporting Community: Sales/Marketing/Reporting Community will be renamed to just Reporting Community.  Ideas under the Sales and Marketing category fit nicely into other categories and will be moved as appropriate.
  • Community Deep Dives: We will continue what we believe now to be a best practice of reviewing ALL ideas with an Eclipse Program Manager on a regular basis.  We will focus on communities where there is a strong emphasis on the next upgrade to Eclipse.  This review brings an intentional effort to tie an idea to coding that may already be in development with the goal of squeezing more enhancements into a release.   Remember that Development is getting bombarded with enhancements from the user's group, Eclipse Support, the Sales team and the Implementation Team from new customer requests.  Where there is a choice between ideas to develop, the one with the most Votes wins. 
  • Innovation Summit: We will be holding an innovations summit in February 2015 with the Product Managers to throw ideas on the wall and see where the next big innovation to Eclipse will be.  The last time this was done, the subject of purchasing was the hot topic.  This ultimately led to the Purchasing Deep Dive session and finally to the great enhancements to Eclipse revealed in 8.7.9.  It's time to do the process again!

As a side note, I have heard from several users that Development is wasting their time working on a "pretty new front end" to Solar.  The thought is that development should be working on the things that make my company more money or more efficient.  While that is true, it is also true that Eclipse must be sold to new customers.  For those of us that already have Eclipse, we understand the real value is in the engine behind the front end and making that engine more powerful is a great goal.  Unfortunately, when the competition comes in with a flashy front end, it is difficult for the Epicor Salesman to overcome that initial WOW factor and that resonates throughout the rest of the presentation.  Solar 9.0 and the next release 9.0.1 will help get Eclipse noticed so the salesman can get to the real values of Eclipse.  And imagine this... the new user interface in 9.0 will actually help your users become more efficient as well with widget tabs for better organization and embedded web pages for direct links to internal or external sites you deem important.  Having your company intranet, or direct links to manufacturer's warranty sites, or how about a link to the Eclipse Learning Management System, all from within Solar...just think of the possibilities.  I predict, even long time users of Eclipse will take notice and welcome the changes.


Finally, I would like to extend a hearty welcome to three additions to the Enhancement Committee.  Page Schrock from Trade Supply Group has joined the Inventory and Purchasing Community.  Trade Supply Group is a Building Products Distributor based out of New York City, NY.  We also have two old names popping up again; it's hard to stay retired when you are passionate about Eclipse!   Mike Winstead, from Fastening Solutions has taken over as the Lead for the Warehouse Logistics Community and Larry McMullin from Harry Cooper Supply has taken the newly formed position as the lead for the Pricing / SPA Community.   Welcome!      

Power Your Business with IDEA's Industry Data Warehouse

by Idea 4 Industry


IDEA's Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) enables you to securely access accurate and timely product and pricing data directly from your suppliers - in one centralized location and in one standardized electronic format.


Electrical manufacturers regularly update the IDW with transactional, packaging and marketing content. Using the IDW, you can synchronize with your suppliers and pull up-to-date product data to power your business system, populate your catalogs, or even to build a web storefront or mobile app.


More Data. Better Data.

By subscribing to the IDW at IDEA's newest subscription level, Catalog Plus, you can employ additional features and tools that will further strengthen your eCommerce, including: 

  • 50+ of the most frequently-used product attributes, which have been normalized for faster, more accurate online searches and for consistency across manufacturers
  • More than 600,000 digital content URLs hosted by IDEA to ensure validity and stability
  • Web hierarchy sample templates to use as guides while developing web store drill-downs


In addition, IDEA continuously works to enhance IDW product content to address distributors' evolving needs in the growing digital economy, enabling more efficient bids, sales transactions and eCommerce capabilities.


Standards-Based Validation

IDEA scrubs and validates IDW product data against industry eBusiness standards to ensure its quality, consistency and completeness. The IDW's standards-based foundation enables you to speak one common language with your suppliers, strengthening trading partner relationships and reducing the time and effort spent on translating or reformatting content.


Links to Contractor Estimating Systems

In addition to facilitating relationships with your suppliers, the IDW is now better equipped to meet the needs of your contractors. The IDW is integrated with several contractor estimating systems, allowing contractors to utilize high-quality IDW product data in their daily operations. This integration also streamlines the quotation process between you and your contractors, making your business more efficient.


Join more than 4,000 electrical distributor locations across the US and Canada that are already using the IDW. With the IDW, you can increase your speed-to-market, differentiate your company from competitors, and prepare your business for future growth. To learn more about how the IDW can help you and your business, contact IDEA to schedule a one-on-one at, or visit our website for more information:

Support  Corner

by Camille Alberico, Epicor Support




A hot tip for speeding up Solar and PC usage in general:  When your local IT techs are on a workstation to update Java to the latest version from the WebStart page, ask them to clear out 2 temp directories that are notorious for slowing down a PC.


c:\Windows\Temp and more importantly, under the user's profile directory, \Local\Temp (may need to unhide protected system files)


All files in these directories are "fair game" and not needed - if any file claims to be "in use" and can't be deleted, skip it and don't worry about leaving a few stragglers behind. Deleting the majority does the trick.


Even if your PC is speedy, you may get a little boost or the very least, free up some hard drive space.



Camille Alberico

Senior Manager, Eclipse Software Support/Customer Support

Against the Wind: de-coupling technology in the age of omni-channel

by Joe Bennett, Unilog Content Solutions



Nearly 24 years ago, I drove my motorcycle each morning from a small apartment on Martha's Vineyard to an office where I wrote code all day. It was in that small office that version 1 of Eclipse was born. I'm reminded of the Bob Seger song as I think back to those days: "Seems like yesterday, but it was long ago".


The song continues: "Found myself surrounded by strangers I thought were my friends, found myself further and further from my home". The worlds of 1991 and 2014 are very different. There were no cellphones, few personal computers and no internet. Today, Eclipse finds itself "surrounded by strangers" as our devices and e-commerce itself interact with a structure put in place long ago.


An ERP is focused on your enterprise, built to be your ONLY technology provider. In today's world, that does not work. Eclipse users (and the entity that owns Eclipse or any ERP system) need to embrace the concept of an "enterprise suite". Meaning your technology ecosystem will be from a number of different providers.


But when do you de-couple from the ERP? What should be the responsibility of the different providers? Business intelligence (BI) is a logical de-coupling. I strongly advise you to choose a BI provider that works with other ERP systems as well as Eclipse. Because if they only work with Eclipse, they will eventually have to charge you more. Their consumption capacity is tied to Eclipse users: growth can only come from increased charges to that set of users.


I believe you need to de-couple from your omni-channel (ecommerce and native mobile applications). Find one provider to power your websites and native mobile applications (especially those used by your customer). Make sure this provider works with other ERPs. Just like Eclipse became stronger by serving more than one micro-vertical (plumbing, electrical, etc.), your omni-channel technology provider is stronger by working with more than one ERP system, such as Eclipse, P21, Infor SXe, JD Edwards, SAP.


In your omni-channel journey you must have:

  1.   The Fuel - A strategy for building enriched product data (I recommend off shore)
  2.   The Art - A digital marketing strategy
  3.   The Platform - A PIM, CMS, search, and commerce (cart) system.


Please reach out to me at Unilog Content Solutions and see if I can give you shelter Against the Wind...


Joseph M. Bennett

M: 917-532-6789 | T: 201-825-6669 | 
Encounter 2014 was a Great Success!
by Rich Chadwick, Training Committee Chair

Eclipse User's Conference, named  ENCOUNTER 2014, was held on September 18-19 at the Airport Hilton in Atlanta GA and was a great success. This Eclipse user's event had five separate training tracks in the following areas:

            Purchasing/Inventory Control



            Round Table/ General Subjects



The trainers for the individual classes that make up these tracks come from Zerion, Eclipse users, Eclipse Product Management, and this year from Epicor Professional Services department.  The individual sessions and the social events are designed to encourage Eclipse users to network and share experiences. One of the real benefits of attending is the informal discussions that take place between members.  Phrases like "we have the same problem", "we got it to work by doing this", and "I want to try that when I get back" are heard on a regular basis.


The goal of the conference is to provide Eclipse users with training of immediate benefit that is economical, so that multiple employees from different areas in the same company can attend.  Based on the feedback from attendees the goal was met. After last year's popular event in Las Vegas, 2014's  session sold out during the Early Bird time frame. In addition our Vendor Sponsors increased from 10 to 21 over last year. We had several new Vendor Partners in attendance as sponsors.  The support of these vendors underwrites some of the cost of putting on the conference and allows the Users Group to keep the cost to attend very affordable.


Some of the highlights of the conference were:

Wednesday night pizza and beer get together with members and vendors.


Thursday morning opening session started with an update from your Board of Directors and Epicor. Joe Cowan, CEO of Epicor made a short presentation speaking about many of the corporate priorities that he is working on with his team.  Coming from an engineering background, he said that the quality of Epicor's products and services is one of his top agenda items. He also did a question and answer session with the attendees. Eclipse Product Manager Mark Artim did an excellent presentation on the current and future development plans for the Eclipse product.  Some exciting changes to the Solar interface are in the works for next year.  When all the upcoming changes are laid out, it's overwhelming the amount of work being done.


The individual class sessions were very well attended. One of the best parts was hearing how other Eclipse users were dealing with similar issues.  It is always good to find a better solution to a problem that somebody else has taken the time to discover and troubleshoot.

 Thursday night's Reception, sponsored by Innovo and Zerion was another opportunity to expand your network of contacts while enjoying some great food and drinks.  The Marketing Committee put on a Jeopardy game where the subjects were based on knowledge of Eclipse.

Well so much for this year.  Planning has already started for ENCOUNTER 2015.  The location will be San Antonio, TX around the same time in September.  The Training Committee is looking for input on the schedule of classes/events, and of course if you are willing to contribute by leading a class or roundtable please let Mary or Suzanne know at

New Member September 2014
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