March  2015

2015 Is Off to an Exciting Start for the Vendor Relations Committee!!

by Bill Fitzgerald, Chair

Happy March!  I hope that everyone had a great holiday season and 2015 has started off strong.  There are exciting things happening with the Vendor Relations Committee in 2015 and we want to bring you up to speed on all of them. 


We now have 22 vendor partners who offer a range of technology solutions and services.  Registration for vendors to participate in the upcoming Encounter session will open soon and it looks like we may have even more vendors participate this year than last.  Vendors and attendees agree that the training offered and opportunity to interact face to face was well worth the time away from the office.  This year Encounter will be held in beautiful San Antonio in September.  We are always on the lookout for new vendor partners, so if there is a vendor you've worked with that offers a product or service you believe our members would value, please email and we will send them an application package.  Remember that in addition to all the great products and services offered by our vendor partners the dues they pay to become vendor partners allows the User's Group to offer free training to our membership. 

In the November newsletter article, we mentioned in 2015 we will be offering vendors the opportunity to have their own bulletin board.  The technology for these bulletin boards has been developed so now any vendor that chooses to upgrade their level of membership can have one.  These vendor-specific bulletin boards function in the same fashion as the current bulletin boards providing members the ability to exchange thoughts and questions regarding a vendor's offering.  The vendor benefits by having first-hand feedback about their product or service direct from you!  To date, the Vendor Relations Committee has received requests from 16 of our vendor partners to have their own bulletin board!  All these vendor bulletin boards have been created.  So if you are a customer of a vendor partner, check out their forum by logging into the UFO website and clicking on the Bulletin Board main menu link. At the bottom of the Forum listings you will find the Vendor forum, below that are all of our Vendor Bulletin Boards.


It was apparent at the end of last year as the number of vendor partners grew that the number of tasks had exceeded what the current the Vendor Relations Committee could handle.   The committee would need to grow as well.  Several of our Eclipse users responded enthusiastically to our request for volunteers and chose to join the Vendor Relations Committee.  Their help to get 2015 started off on the right foot is greatly appreciated!  The committee now includes, Randy Collins, Veronica Guillen, Andrew Pearen, Daron Brown, Alison Levy, Page Schrock, and myself.  What a Dream Team!! 


Stayed tuned to the Vendor Relations Committee in 2015!  We're just getting started!

Better Data. Better Business - IDEA's Data Certification Program 

by Idea, Vendor Partner


At IDEA, we continually strive to ensure that the data available through the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) meets the needs of electrical distributors in the ever-evolving world of eCommerce. IDEA's IDW enables you to alleviate costly errors and inefficiencies arising from bad or incomplete data by securely accessing accurate and timely product and pricing data directly from your suppliers - in one centralized location and standardized electronic format.


Complete, High-Quality Data

Just last year, IDEA launched our Data Certification Program for the IDW, a program designed to measure the item-level completeness and quality of data available within the IDW. This program focuses on the transactional, packaging, and descriptive product information you require to conduct business and sell your manufacturers' products (e.g. brand, packaging, price effective date, etc.).


Once this information is completely populated in the IDW, manufacturers' products undergo quarterly quality checks to ensure consistency and accuracy, so you can better manage the product information in your Eclipse business system, on your web stores, and in your marketing materials. Nearly 100 manufacturer accounts have already committed to providing this critical product information for all of their active items in the IDW by this October.


Better Data. Better Business.

With the complete, high-quality product data available through the expanding Data Certification Program, you can create more effective search criteria in Eclipse and more easily keep your Eclipse business system up-to-date. You will also be able to provide your customers with the most appropriate product substitutions, respond faster to contractor quote requests, and improve online catalog searches for your customers.


The IDW can help you increase your speed-to-market, differentiate your company from competitors, and prepare your business for future growth. Join more than 4,200 electrical distributor locations across the US and Canada that are already using the IDW to power their business systems, catalogs, and web stores. To learn more about how the IDW and the Data Certification Program can help you and your business, contact IDEA to schedule a one-on-one at, or visit our website for more information:


"The UFO Advice Column" 
  by 'Uncle' Frank Ousterhout


I have been getting a lot of 'static' from a coworker about the best way to respond to an Eclipse message.  I remember reading somewhere that it is best to use Resend instead of Reply.  (On the Solar Message Queue, Message Menu, Resend is the third option and Reply is the first option.)  Isn't my way the Best Practice?


                Kevin, 'All-Amped-Up', from Springfield, Il


Dear Kevin,


                'Positively' you are doing Best Practice.


                The Eclipse Message system is a powerful communication tool.  I send out many messages each day to various people.  When I get just a response of 'Yes' it slows me down to figure out what question I sent to that person a few hours ago.  The Best Practice is to use Resend when responding.  As you know, then the original message PLUS your response is sent back to the sender of the message.  It is like email that shows the original along with your response.


Resend puts the sender in the 'To' and puts my curser at the end of the original message.  Then I hold down the '-' key (next to the top zero on my keyboard) for 6 or so dashes to appear.  Next I hit Enter for a new line and then type my response.  To save me time, I have Resend on my Custom Toolbar.


                Here is another tip.  I often copy myself on outgoing messages.  That way the message I am sending out also appears in MY Message Queue as a reminder that I am waiting for a response.  It is date and time stamped so I know when I sent it out and can followup if necessary in a timely manner.


                I either use the CC area or I click on the little icon to the far right on the To line (just before the Send button).  A window opens and I can add myself (and/or others) to the message.


                Speaking of Best Practices, don't forget that on the Message Queue, Message Menu is an option to View Item.  When used on a message that has a Tracker: ABC123, Sales Order: S1234567, or Purchase Order: P7654321 it will open a new window of that item.  And of course on the Mode menu you can set your Message Queue to display either Single Line Display or Full Message Display, whatever works best for you.



                Uncle Frank

Support Corner
by Camille Alberico, Senior Manager, Eclipse Software Support/Customer Support

Release 9 Requirements

Software and Hardware Requirements

Ensure you have the following software and hardware requirements to run Solar Eclipse 9.0:


* Java Version JRE 1.7.0_11 or higher installed in Windows. This is required for the Solar Eclipse Installer and is separate from the Java version discussed above.


* Laptop or desktop computer running Windows 7 or higher for best results.


Important: Solar Eclipse Release 9.0 is based on Java 8 and Java FX. With both Microsoft and Oracle discontinuing support for Windows XP, Epicor Eclipse does not officially support running Release 9.0 on Windows XP. However, if the minimum hardware requirements provided by Oracle are met, Release 9.0 should run on a Windows XP machine; the results may not be consistent. 


Why Add the Thrive Technologies System to your Eclipse System?

by Thrive Technologies, Vendor Partner

Because Thrive's award winning system will add 5 points to your profit margin by increasing the sales and profits you are currently getting from your inventory investment. 


So exactly how does Thrive do this?


Every decision that you make in regards to your inventory is based on a forecast (or at least an educated guess) of how much you will sell in the future of each of your products.  Think about it.  If your current system estimates you will sell 5 units of one of your products next month when you really sell 20, you will probably lose some sales.  Vice versa, if your current system estimates 20 units next month and you sell 5, you will have more than you need.  If this keeps up, you may end up with dead stock that you can't get rid of.


Yet most distribution companies don't measure their forecast accuracy, and our experience has been that the forecast accuracy in Eclipse and other ERP systems is typically less than 50%.  No wonder companies constantly struggle with the double whammy of out of stocks and dead stock!


Thrive's patent pending forecast engine increases forecast accuracy to 90% or more, so you have the products your customers want to buy in stock, and not the ones that no one is buying.  




Thrive also leverages the latest in inventory replenishment science to guide your buyers to optimal inventory orders.  Since Thrive projects your 52 week inventory plan for each SKU at each warehouse every day, it can uniquely alert your buyers to potential issues before they occur.  


For senior managers, Thrive is a platform for strategic control of your inventory.  Thrive can simulate proposed changes to examine the impact before you put them into place.  For example, managers can easily modify inventory policies to change strategies (eg. increasing service levels on your most profitable items). Thrive also provides managers with a multitude of metrics and projections that shows how the company is doing against their inventory goals. 


Through improved forecast accuracy and proactive inventory intelligence, our customers have reduced lost sales by 70%, cut the buildup of dead stock, improved service levels by 5%, and increased turns by 20%.


Please email Rick Morris, for more information.


Thrive logo  

Job Queues -Trackers - All you need to know

By John Heinzel, Revere Electric




Trackers are a method of communicating within the business system. To use Trackers, everyone that might send or receive them must understand how they work. At our company, Trackers are used by everyone that is in Eclipse all day: order writers, customer service supervisors, returns coordinators, purchasing, pricing, A/R and A/P all use Trackers. We use them as a part of our Standard Operating Procedures when product and order information must be communicated - like mis-shipments, nonstock product entry, and pricing requests.


For any issues or questions on a Sales Order, Purchase Order, Transfer or Cash Receipt, you can create a Tracker by selecting a line item, then using [Shift]+[F4].


Trackers are better than e-mails, phone calls, instant messages or any other method because:

  • They are quicker to create than an email.
  • Trackers automatically have links to the Order#, the Customer# and the Part# with no possibility of mistakes in typing.
  • The person receiving the tracker can click on the Order # to open the order. Clicking on the CN# provides access to Customer Maintenance, AR Ledger and AR Inquiry for the customer. Clicking the PN# lets you access Inventory Inquiry, Product Future Ledger, Inventory History Ledger, Product Maintenance, Inventory Data and Sales History for the part number.
  • The tracker is permanently a part of the Change Log for the order, so anyone researching the order can see the conversation - it cannot be deleted.
  • You have a User Job Queue that shows all your open trackers so you can keep on top of things. When a tracker is "Closed" it disappears from the User Job Queue.
  • In the Message Queue you can change the Mode to show Sent items and see all the trackers you've sent.


From a line item on the body of a Sales Order, Transfer, Purchase Order, or Cash Receipt, hold down the Shift key and press F4 [Shift]+[F4].


You will see a dialog box like this - hit [Enter] to get through the dialog to the actual Call Tracking Entry window:






A Call Tracking Entry window opens as shown to the right.

Go to Edit>New Append

In the screenshot I have added a New Append button to my customized toolbar

NOTE: For those of you that already use trackers, but do not start with New Append, the reason we do is twofold:


  1. It records in the body of the tracker the user, date, and time the tracker was created.
  2. The New Append dialog has a To: field which makes it easier to understand who will receive the tracker.


In the Append Comment window, fill in the To with who you want to send the Tracker to. If there are multiple users, click the multiple button at the end of the To field.

Make the Next Action field the same as the To field.

In the yellow comment area enter the comment you want to send to these users.

When finished, hit [F12] then click  Yes to save the changes.



Back on the main Call Tracking Entry window change the Final Action to the person who can say

"This is done for everyone involved"


Use [F12] to close the tracker window, save your changes and the tracker is off to everyone in the To and Next Action fields.



If you are logged in on Solar Eclipse and you receive a tracker there will be a New Tracker Icon in your main Solar Eclipse menu bar, as shown below:








Clicking on the New Tracker checkbox icon will open the tracker and the icon will disappear. 

In Solar versions lower than 9, if you are not logged on when a tracker is sent to you, then you will not have the New Tracker icon, but you can get to the tracker through the Message Queue or the User Job Queue.


In Version 9 of Solar Eclipse, new trackers are displayed at the top right of the main window. It doesn't matter if you were logged in when it was sent - you will always see unread trackers in the toolbar, like this:






First open the tracker, then to reply you can either double click in the Message area, or go to Edit>New Append.

Fill in the Append Comment window as you would the initial New Append: 

Enter your message, change the To: field to the person you want to receive the reply, and if the Next Action needs to be changed, you can change it here too.



To close the tracker go to File>Close Tracker. Any names in the Forward List will receive the tracker as a notification that it has been closed. 

If there are names in the Forward List that don't need to know that the tracker was closed you can delete these names before closing the tracker, so that they are not bothered by unnecessary tracker notifications.

If you don't want to close the tracker, but just want it out of your User Job Queue, you can still use File>Close Tracker then choose Remove Me from Followup.


Another Use for Trackers:
Do you want a notification when an order gets invoiced? Send a Tracker to yourself from the order, adding yourself to the Followup list, and you will get the tracker again upon invoicing.

In This Issue
March Training

Mar 2ndNew Hire #1 Solar Basic System Navigation Web - Zerion

Mar 3rd
New Hire #2 Solar Basic System Navigation SalesWeb - Zerion
Mar 4thNew Hire #3 Solar Basic System Navigation PurchasingWeb- Zerion
Mar 5thNew Hire #4 Solar Basic System Navigation WarehousingWeb - Zerion
Mar 12thSolar Tips & Tricks
Web - Zerion
Mar 17th 

How to Turn your eCommerce into a Profit Center 

Computer Pundits 
Vendor Partner
Mar 17th

Driving Customer Sales, Revenue, and Market Share with Mobile Apps 

Vendor Partner
Mar 17th
Understanding Credit Card Processing Interchange and it's ROI 
Payment Systems Vendor Partner
Mar 18th
What's New in Release 9.0 
User Roundtable
Mar 19thEterm Tips & Tricks 
Web - Zerion
Mar 25th
Excel in Eclipse 
User Roundtable
Mar 26th
Reconciling Cash Box Solar 


On-Site April 23-24th 

Sacremento, CA

New & Returning Members
Sunshine Plumbing
Jupiter, FL


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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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