April 2015
Support Corner
by Camille Alberico, Senior Manager, Eclipse Software Support/Customer Support

Suggestion For 9.0 Upgrade
We now have the Solar "offline" installer, this is a setup that will install the solar JREs for all users (in a common program files directory) as well as the desktop icons (in C:\Users|Public\Desktop).  This can be run in "silent" mode passing the application server IP and port in the parameters.  This setup can be downloaded from the Download center on the Customer Support website. See below for more detail.  

Pre-Installing Solar Eclipse
Each individual workstation must have Solar Eclipse installed. To make the transition smoothly, system administrators can install Solar Eclipse prior to the upgrade. 
Important: Installing Solar Eclipse clears the Java cache and removes the previous Eclipse version. If you are going to pre-install Solar Eclipse, we recommend performing this install after users have finished work for the day prior to the upgrade or to deselect Clear Cache during the process. 


  

This means if you are running version 8.7.9 and install version 9.0 without deselecting Clear Cache, then you will no longer have access to version 8.7.9 and may be unable to do work until the upgrade process completes. 


To pre-install Solar Eclipse:

1. Use the Download Center on the Customer Support Web Site to locate the pre-installation executable.

2. Click the Solar Release 9.0 folder.

3. Click the SolarJRESetup.exe.

4. Follow the installation instructions. 

The following steps are for installing Solar Eclipse after your official upgrade. If you decide to pre-install on select machines, use these same steps to install Solar on the remaining workstations after the upgrade. 

 

To Install Solar Eclipse:

1. Use your Internet browser and navigate to your server 

(http://<your.server.name>:2080) to display your Web Start page.

2. Click Install Now.

 

 

 

Note: If Solar hangs or "goes nowhere" check to see if your anti-virus software is enabled. If it is, turn off the anti-virus software and try again.

3. If prompted to update Java, click Do Not Show Again and Later.

 

Note: Once enabled and upgraded, the system checks Java for you each time you launch it.

4. Let the application run and complete the installation.

 

 

 


Profitability Booster: BI or CRM?

Marie Haydock, Sales Executive, MITS, marieh@mits.com

 

There are benefits to using both a business intelligence (BI) solution and a customer relationship management (CRM) solution. I'm personally a big advocate for both.

 

But which solution should you implement first?

 

If your goal is to have the strongest impact on profitability, then I recommend you implement a BI solution first.  If profitability is already optimized and the goal is to fine tune the sales process, then implementing a CRM system would be a good choice.

 

Let me explain.

 

 

Implementing a CRM system truly can get the 20%+ increase in sales that many CRM companies claim. Spoiler alert: companies that see that kind of result are ones that have a very simple sales process focused on one-time sales to new customers, and are usually in the service/consulting industry.  In those types of organizations, overhead costs are low and the only metrics the company tracks are the sales metrics.  So absolutely, if you diligently track them through a CRM system that also provides some tools for sales reps to more consistently stay on task with their follow-ups you'll see a strong positive impact on the bottom line.

 

But...I've found that wholesale distributors don't often see dramatic increases in profitability from using a CRM system alone. That's because wholesale distribution is a complex business model with high overhead costs, many types of metrics, and a strong emphasis on management of existing relationships with customers and manufacturer's reps.

 

The bottom line? The biggest impact to profitability for distributors most often comes from implementing a good BI solution.

 

A BI solution can help you better understand your business and make decisions that will impact profitability, from better managing your inventory to tracking pricing. And it can directly contribute to hundreds of thousands of dollars in profitability.

 

 Download our BI ROI Guide to see how your results might compare to other distributors that have invested in reporting and business intelligence for their Eclipse system.

 

For more on the MITS solution in particular, take a few minutes to hear how Chris Thorpe of Patene Building Supplies uses reporting and BI in his business, or read how Johnstone Supply Fresno uses BI to better manage their store group.

 

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

Dear Uncle Frank,

                I am looking forward to the Epicor Insights Nashville conference.  How can I be sure to meet other Eclipse users in such a big meeting?

                From,

                Shy Sarah from P-burg, OH


 

 

Dear Shy Sarah,

                Yes, it is a big meeting but fear not. Although Epicor has many software platforms each person wears a ribbon attached to their name badge indicating which software they use.  Look for the Eclipse ribbons (and be sure to add an Eclipse ribbon to your badge at the registration desk.)

                Most of your classes will be for Eclipse only topics so they are excellent places to meet users who want to learn the same topics as you do. 

                But that is just a start.  There are MANY other opportunities to network with Eclipse users.

                The receptions on Monday night and Tuesday night are big but again, just zero in on Eclipse ribbon wearers.  Typically the receptions are held in the Solutions Pavilion and most Eclipse users will be hanging around the vendors who are Eclipse providers.

                EVERY time you are at or pass through the Solutions Pavilion be sure to stop by the UFO booth. Sign up for the free door prize raffles and introduce yourself to Magnificent Mary and Splendid Suzanne.  They run the Users Group and are two of the friendliest people in the room.

                Meals are organized by computer software.  Look around and sit at an Eclipse table.  Then it is just "Hi, I'm Sarah from Ohio, what do you do in your company?"  A very easy icebreaker.

                Don't forget to attend Eclipse Users Group Meeting.  It will have the most Eclipse users per square foot at any one time.  EVERYONE in the room is there for Eclipse.  It is always a lively and informative meeting and definitely worth attending.

                Finally, be on the lookout for UFO Board members wearing special UFO shirts.  They are the volunteers who work hard to enable the UFO to provide so many benefits to members.  I guarantee you that they will be happy to greet you and discuss any Eclipse matter.  I have learned a lot from them over the years.

                Regards,

                Uncle Frank


 

PS - don't forget the next networking opportunity - our UFO Encounter September 13-15 in San Antonio, Texas with Classes, Roundtables, and Vendor Exhibits.  EVERYONE there will be an Eclipse User or Vendor.  Full details will be out very soon.


 


 

                Regards,

                Uncle Frank

e-Commerce Content Services from Trade Service

by Bob Stone, Director of Business Development

 

It seems like everyone is talking about internet e-commerce and for good reason.  Amazon, Alibaba, Grainger, and a host of other competitive threats are targeting the traditional distribution channel, and our industry needs to be taking appropriate steps to ensure our competitiveness going forward.  

 

Many distributors are already working on e-commerce sites that offer shopping cart and customer portal capability, and we applaud those efforts.  But a lot of distributors hit a snag when it comes to acquiring the content needed to enrich e-commerce sites with complete descriptions, images, specification pages, feature/benefit text, and even the logistical data needed to calculate point-of-sale shipping cost.  

 

That's where we come in.  Our service can affordably create all the rich product content needed, in the formats you need, and in a time frame that enables you to respond quickly to emerging threats.  Custom Content Services can help launch the site you want to take care of your existing customers, appeal to new customers, and even go after the consumer market where it makes sense.  

 

It all seamlessly loads into the Eclipse PDW module, and from there, it can also enrich the Eclipse enterprise, as well as popular 3rd party applications like Second Phase and Innovo. 

 

Here are some of the basic e-commerce fields supported:

 

e-Commerce Content Data Elements

Logistical Fields

  • Package Weight 
  • Package Length
  • Package Width
  • Package Height
  • Package Volume  

Descriptive Fields

  • Product Name (single word or short phrase that identifies item - i.e. Power Receptacle)
  • Invoice Description (limited to 35 characters with abbreviations) 
  • Long Description (concatenation of selected technical attributes)
  • Marketing Text (major product benefits separated by semi-colons)

Attributed Content

 

Four-Level Categorical Drill-Down Structure


Product Images (as JPEG)
Hi-Res - Size: 500 x 500 300 DPI
Lo-Res - Size: 500 x 500 72 DPI

Information Attachments (as PDF)
  • Catalog Cutsheet (manufacturer page(s) on which item is described) 
  • Installation Instructions 
  • MSDS Sheet 
  • Spec Sheet (Additional data sheet, if needed for submittal process)

Although not every e-commerce application will need all of these content elements, our programs can capture and deliver the exactly what's needed for any project. 

 

For more information on Trade Service e-commerce content programs contact:

 

Bob Stone

Director of Business Development

Trade Service, A Trimble Company

317-733-8939

robert_stone@tradeservice.com


 

Where did this Price come from, and why isn't it what it should be?

by John Heinzel, Revere Electric


Pricing issues plague most distributors, but Eclipse does exactly what it's supposed to do. It's understanding WHY it's doing what it's doing that I hope to help you with in this article.

 

First, let me say it's very hard to determine why an item was priced a certain way when it is not currently priced that way. The matrix Expiration Date could have been changed, the matrix formula could have been changed, the product Sell Groups could have been changed, or the Price Date on the order could have been changed. But if you want to know how an item is CURRENTLY being priced, you're reading the right article.


 
Start Here in Matrix Maintenance:

What matrix did you expect to be used? Before looking into why it was not, you should start by opening the matrix you think should have been used.

Note the Effective Date and Expire Date. Note the Best Price Check flag. Note the Expire Quantities: if there are any in Original, are there any Remaining?

 

Continue Here in Sales Order Entry:

Open the sales order with the problem pricing.

 

Order Pricing Override

From the body tab, go to Edit Order>Pricing

This window shows the Price Date and Price Class, (if you have SPA it shows Customer Size/Category too.)

Is the Price Date outside of the Effective Date and Expire Date from the matrix you expected to be used?

If the matrix you expected is a customer Class matrix, is the Price Class the same?

 

Matrix Pricing

With a line item selected in Sales Order Entry, go to Inquiries>Matrix Pricing

Eclipse will display the matrix used for pricing the sales order.

Note the Best Price Check - if this is not the matrix you wanted to be used, the Best Price Check unchecked (or No) would be why the system stopped on this matrix instead. (see the article on pricing in the last newsletter).

 

Pricing Audit

With a line item selected in Sales Order Entry, go to Inquiries>Pricing Audit

The Pricing Audit shows how Eclipse calculated the price for the item. It only works if the item is currently being priced the same as on the order you are looking into. The pricing audit shows how Eclipse steps through the entire pricing hierarchy, what matrices it finds, the price and cost overrides it looks at, and the final result. You can even see it dropping one matrix over another that has a lower price, or stopping at a matrix that has Best Price Check set to No. To read the report you want to ignore lines that say "Checking for..." and pay attention to the indented lines that indicate "Found.." and what they say after that about why the matrix was used or skipped. The last lines of the report indicate which matrices were used for Price and Cost.

 

Last Price

With the line selected, use Ctrl+K on your keyboard to display the Last Price Verification window. This window shows the price, cost, and formula used the last time the customer ordered this item. Did the last sale use the matrix you expected? You can drill into the last sale from here with Ctrl+L.

 

Customer Item Inventory History Ledger

With a right click on the item go to Inquiries>Customer Item Inventory History. Change the view in this window to Selling Price / COGS. Was the "correct" matrix used in the past, then stopped? If so, maybe the Maintenance Log of the "correct" matrix will show that someone made a change. 

 

Price Sheet Maintenance

Some companies have branch or territory specific Price Sheets, and your order may be in a Price Branch with a different price basis for the product than what you expect.

From the Body tab, with the item selected, go to Maintenance>Additional Product Maintenance>Price Sheet Maintenance. Here you can see the current values for all the basis names for the product. Is there a different Price Sheet you were expecting to be used?

 

Product Group Maintenance

From the Body tab, with the item selected, go to Maintenance>Product Maintenance. From here go to Pricing>Group Maintenance

If there are two Group matrices and both have Best Price Check set to No, Eclipse will use the first matrix it hits (see the Pricing Audit above). The system will hit the sell groups in the order they are listed here. Rearranging the sell groups you can put the one you want used before the other so that it is hit first.

 

Last Resort:

Eclipse Support

Enter a service request online and provide them with a test order that is priced "wrong", and also tell them the matrix you expect to be used. Maybe they can figure it out if you can't.

Enhancement Committee News

by Kevin Stevenson, Enhancement Committee Chair

 

An "Eclipse Visioning / Planning Deep Dive" session was held in snowy Denver in late February with select members of the Enhancement Committee, the Eclipse Users Group Board of Directors, and active Ideas Site participants.  Meeting with our group were five product development representatives from Epicor/Eclipse.  We discussed 52 ideas as possible candidates for future releases, prioritized each idea, and then discussed the top ideas in detail.

  

The top five ideas included:

 

  • Further development of the Product Life Cycle
  • An enhanced item selection process in order entry
  • Modernization and new features for the RF process
  • Building customizable workflows into item creation and other processes
  • Development of a price analysis tool to identify profit opportunities

Look for more information on these ideas in the upcoming months, and ultimately their inclusion in future releases of Eclipse!

 

If you haven't visited the Ideas Site lately, it remains a great way to add your voice to the enhancement discussion.  All new ideas are reviewed by the Enhancement Committee during our regular monthly meetings.

  

Two recent ideas are:

 

Capability to "Browse and Select" Local Attachments when E-mailing from Eclipse - This idea is to create the ability to add attachments to e-mails generated in Eclipse (such as when e-mailing order acknowledgements or bids).  The process could be similar to the way attachments can be uploaded to Eclipse service requests.

 

Notes on Job Management Forms Need to Draw Attention - Notes are often added to Job Management bids to provide additional information to the customer, specify color of fixtures, or explain freight charges.  Currently these notes blend in with other text and can be easily missed.  This idea would have notes print in bold font to make them more noticeable. 

 

Please visit the Ideas site today to vote on these ideas and add your own thoughts.  With your help we can ensure that Eclipse remains the best product to fit your needs!


In This Issue
April Training

DateClassLoc/Presenter
Apr 6thNew Hire #1 Eterm Basic System Navigation Web - Zerion

Apr 7th
New Hire #2 EtermBasic System Navigation SalesWeb - Zerion
Apr 8thNew Hire #3 Eterm Basic System Navigation PurchasingWeb- Zerion
Apr 9thNew Hire #4 Eterm Basic System Navigation WarehousingWeb - Zerion
Apr 15th 

Understanding Dictionary Items

User Roundtable - Johnny Hazelton, Hajoca
Apr 16th
Managing Consigned Inventory Eterm  
Web - Zerion
Apr
21st

6 Proven Practices to Increase Margin

Profit 2 - Vendor Product Presentation
Apr
21st

Successful Business Intelligence for Eclipse Users 

Phocas - Vendor Product Presentation
Apr
23rd
Sales Queues & Reports Eterm 
Web - Zerion
Apr
23rd
Purchasing Workshop 
Local On-Site Sacramento, CA
Apr
24th
Inventory Workshop 
Local On-Site Sacramento, CA
Apr
30th
Eterm Tips & Tricks
Web - Zerion
New & Returning Members
 
NameState
New 
Members
Rigby Electric Supply
Rocky Mount, NC

 

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