Vol. 8, No. 1, March 4, 2008
Hello from your ECi Technical Support Team! In this issue of the KeyOps Dispatch:
- Learn New Secrets to Empower Your Company At Our National Meeting
- 7 Things You Can Do In ECi's Customer Support Web Portal
- How to Rank Items First in Search in ECinteractive
- How to Set Up S.P. Richards Enhanced Content in Dealer Station
- 4 New Features in DDMS 8.14
- Excluding Items From Cost of Goods Sold
- Troubleshooting 7 Pitfalls of Machine Billing
- Balancing Act Part 3: Balancing A/R If You Deleted a Customer
- RPC Errors In Windows 2003 SP2 May Require SNP-Compatible Hardware
Learn New Secrets
At Our National Meeting
According to your feedback, taking part in past national users conferences has empowered your business to move onward and upward. That’s why the theme for this year’s event April 24-26 is Empowerment 2008. It promises to be the most rewarding one yet for your business.
Share Success Secrets With Other Flourishing Dealers
One of the most valuable assets about ECi’s national conferences is the social networking with fellow dealers. It’s great to find a dealer who is using a software feature that you didn’t know existed within the system or at least didn’t have an idea on how to implement.
— Robert Southerland,
Director of M.I.S./Internet Operations,
Baker Office Products
We've expanded the selection of roundtables, where you can hear what successful independent dealers are doing to grow their business and share your own thoughts, ideas, and accomplishments with your peers. Choose from the following roundtable sessions, which link to more detailed descriptions on our Web site:
Drive Efficiency With New DDMS System Features
Of all the industry meetings, these gatherings give you the most useful ideas to take back to your dealership. You will bring back at least one good idea that will make the trip worthwhile.”
— Mike Clare, IT Director,
In 2008 DDMS plans to release Version 8.14, 8.15, and 8.16, which include a number of hot priority new features to make your business more efficient for each market. See them first at Empowerment 2008.
- All: Delivery Management and GPS Tracking, Going Paperless with the AutoComm graphical interface, more Standard SQL Reports, enhanced SQL Report Preview interface, SQL 2005 migration, and efficiency improvements for A/P, G/L, and O/E.
- Supplies: Price Plans enhancements, United Stationers advance shipping notices & other data via PSN.
- Furniture: Industry-standard Tags, Quote Release improvements, automated manufacturer order acknowledgements, job costing enhancements, and the Project Management rewrite for SQL/.NET.
- Machines: automated Toner Yield calculations, and machine meter readings updated via the Web.
Gain Volume With New E-Commerce Features
From 2006 to 2007, ECi customers saw an increase of over $127 million in e-commerce volume. Learn how to use e-commerce to increase sales and operational efficiencies in these new sessions:
Master New Skills in Our New Facilitated Hands-on Labs
"What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing. — Aristotle
After our most popular sessions (Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Purchasing, and O/P Order Entry), don't forget to register for practice time in the facilitated lab. While we've offered a lab before, this year four sessions will step you through practical scenarios in those applications. You can try out your new procedures on a live system, and have your questions answered by your instructor.
Make Your Plans Now Including New Thursday Tours
The conference officially begins at 1:00 pm Thursday with optional activities for business or pleasure, such as a tour of the ECi facility and amusing area attractions. Your wholesalers are also planning fun and informative optional activities for you between 1:00 and 4:00 pm on Thursday before the Vendor Expo, Reception and Opening Dinner. We'll announce details of those tours soon.
Get your discounted hotel rate of $145/night by April 1! To ensure your discount, use group code 1EC when you register for your specially negotiated hotel room online.
Save money by making flight reservations early. It's a good idea to book your air travel ahead several weeks in advance. For specially discounted airfare from many cities, ECi has contracted with Westwood Travel Center (www.westwoodtravel.com)
We look forward to seeing you! Details on travel and lodging, schedule, and registration are online
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7 Things You Can Do In
ECi's Customer Support Web Portal
Four weeks ago, ECi DDMS announced the launch of its new Customer Support Portal at support.ECiSolutions.com, giving you convenient online access to request assistance from and communicate details with your friendly ECi Technical Support Team.
Your dealership's executives, key operators, and end users can use the new customer service portal to:
- Login for secure access to support information.
- Create new support tickets for software assistance or updates.
- Attach files to help troubleshooting such as screen shots, pick dumps, and parts of log files.
- View your current and past support tickets (as of Dec. 16, 2007), including who was assigned to a ticket and its status (open, closed, and so on).
- Look up ticket details or update the status of a ticket, and mark as resolved if you find the answer on your own.
- Add notes to a Web conversation, which you can use instead of email to more efficiently track communications related to a ticket.
- Look up the status of software issues we've turned over to development that are linked to your support tickets.
For more information, see the announcement on our Web site, ECi Technical Support Launches Its Web Portal (www.DDMS.com/support/massfax/PortalLaunch.htm), and check it out in the online Guided Tour video at https://support.ECiSolutions.com.
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How to Rank Items First in Search in ECinteractive
ECinteractive provides list views of products on various end-user pages, including Advanced Search, Contracts, Laundry Lists and Web Specials. If you wish to control the order of the products in these lists to promote sales of selected products, you can use “Ranking” Icons, released in Version 7.3.6 Feb. 2.
By default, the system sorts any items in a Ranking Icon Group by its item number/SKU. Now, you can also assign individual rankings to items within a Ranking Icon group. Items with a numerical rank value (integers greater than Ø such as 1, 2, 3, 100, 200, 300) display in the numerical order of their rank, and Items with a blank rank value are displayed alphabetically by SKU immediately after all numerically ranked products.
For detailed instructions, see the Tech Note, Customizing Item Ranking and Sorting.
In related news, Version 7.4.0 is being released to beta sites of ECinteractive and is.D-Force 2 Feb. 29th. Pending final testing, it is due for release to active production sites in mid-March 2008. See Announcing Version 7.4.0 of ECinteractive and is.D-Force 2 (www.DDMS.com/support/release/whatsnew/ec740.htm) and ECinteractive FAQs and Documentation (www.DDMS.com/support/doc/ecinteractive.htm).
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How to Set Up S.P. Richards
Enhanced Content in Dealer Station
As we announced previously*, S.P. Richards Enhanced Content features are now available on Web storefronts powered by Dealer Station®. If you sell from the S.P. Richards catalogs, you can take advantage of the following features, which are similar to how the features were implemented in ECinteractive® last summer:
- Quicker, More
- Search Filters
- Enhanced Categorization
- Cross-selling of
- Larger Images
- Product Comparison
If you have customer accounts who purchase items that are in the S.P. Richards catalogs, you can use the Dealer Station Admin Control Panel to set up selected end users to use enhanced search filters, cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, large item images, and product comparisons.
For detailed instructions and an important clarification on the exclusion of items from custom dealer catalogs and other vendor catalogs, please see Setting Up SPR Enhanced Content in Dealer Station. (www.DDMS.com/resources/support/faq/ecommerce/dsSPRContent.pdf).
* See announcement (www.DDMS.com/support/release/whatsnew/ds741SPReContent.htm).
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4 New Features In DDMS 8.14
ECi DDMS® Version 8.14.0 is available on request as of Monday, Feb. 11, 2008. In this major release, you'll find and a number of improvements in several areas, including four new features to help your departments communicate better:
Order Entry Quote Release
We have enhanced the quote release process to give you better control of the information that is released to an order. New buttons in the Order Release dialog box allow you to view and select any of the details you specified when you created the quote: salespersons, locations, paycode, purchase order number, line item taxes, attention, shipto, order notes, LabelZ, third-party billing, and so forth. To change the information, use the Change action code in the Order Entry window as usual. (53079)
For detailed instructions, see your DDMS online help in Version 8.14 and higher.
Warehouse and Manifest Instructions
Now you can include customer-specific Manifest Notes (such as "Deliver to Bob at the back door, at the southwest corner, x 3333") on delivery tickets and shipping manifests.* Up to four lines of 50 characters from the customer's Buyers/Manifest Tab may be imported directly into the sale order, and then modified for that particular order in Order Notes (F11). For in-house and third-party carrier warehouse personnel, you can also include order-specific Warehouse Notes (such as "Careful, we picked the wrong paper last time!") that do not appear on your customer's invoices and delivery tickets. (53177)
By default, these special lines do not print, but using (+Z) Report Writer, you can add Manifest and Warehouse special lines to pick tickets, invoice, picking manifests, shipping manifest, shipping labels, and other reports. For assistance, contact your ECi DDMS Technical Support Team (https://support.ECiSolutions.com).
* The RouteTrak proof of delivery system is not using these special lines at this time, but we will notify you when that enhancement is available.
Industry-Standard Furniture Tags
Recently, the Office Furniture industry standardized its system of tagging items, such as "Please tag as follows: RM-237, Chair 1, Second Floor, Billing Department, Bill Johnston's Office." In compliance with these industry standards, DDMS Office Furniture Edition imports, stores, modifies, mass changes, displays, communicates and reports on these new tag fields. (53284)
For examples and detailed instructions on using tags, see Office Furniture Edition Tags (www.DDMS.com/Resources/Support/faq/furn/furnTags.pdf).
*Note: We are working closely with specification software providers to ensure that their programs will use the appropriate tag fields when exporting a SIF file for DDMS. In the current 20/20 Worksheet, for instance, be assured that the SIF export for DDMS will continue to work as it does today; it just does not yet take advantage of all five tag fields. Also note that the Legacy CAP SIF export for Order Entry may result in cost and sell rounding issues. We will notify DDMS Furniture Edition customers via email when we have more information.
Machine Billing Exception Report
We have added the ability to identify, log, and report on why a machine was not included during a billing run. There are five reasons, including 1) contract master has no billing frequency, 2) contract master has no contract dates, 3) no remaining billings in the lease, 4) no meter dollar amount, and 5) no meter reading. (52781)
The DDMS Machines & Equipment Edition can log the five types of billing exceptions in the new Z-BILLEXP file. You have the opportunity to update and print Billing Exceptions each time you run billings in (EZYB). You can also print Billing Exceptions from the (EZY) reports screen, by selecting the new X=Billing Exceptions. For more information, see 7 Pitfalls of Machine Renewals and Cycle Billing (www.DDMS.com/Resources/Support/faq/machine/meRenCycTrouble.pdf)
For additional details about this release, see Announcing DDMS Version 8.14.0 (www.DDMS.com/support/release/whatsnew/ep814.htm)
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From Cost of Goods Sold
How do you exclude an item from your Cost of Goods Sold?
For example, you may have some records in your DDMS Item database that are not strictly "goods." You may have items you expense such as Installation, Delivery, Freight, or Subcontractor in your invoices. Or, maybe you have special gift or discount item records set up for your Additional Volume Discount program that should not be included in the COGS report.
The easiest way to exclude these items from COGS is to use the item's Department field. Every item has a department; they're used to group similar items, indicate the general ledger minor account for sales purposes, and to indicate whether the item is taxable. Item department numbers relate directly to G/L sales minor accounts, and must be assigned as follows:
- Item Dept. 1 - 9 = G/L Sales 01 - 09 (Typically, If the item is loaded from an external source, it is assigned a 1 in the GL Dept box.)
- Item Dept. A - J = G/L Sales 11 - 20
- Item Dept. K - T = G/L Sales 21 - 30
- Item Dept. U - Z = G/L Sales 10
For office furniture dealers, there are flexible options for setting departments. You can set departments by vendor alias and manufacturer, in your furniture profile settings, and in your (LGØ) Order Entry Parameters and (LGC) Furniture Order Entry Parameters. For details on the hierarchy of office furniture departments, see Setting Item Department on Furniture Orders (www.DDMS.com/Resources/Support/faq/furn/furndept.pdf).
If you have an unused G/L account item department, you can repurpose it for your non-COGS group, and set it for every item that you wish to exclude from COGS.
If you build the Cost of Goods Sold batch, the General Ledger Reports screen lets you specify a range of departments, as well as five individual departments, to exclude or include. For detailed instructions, see Building the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) Batch (www.DDMS.com/Resources/Support/faq/accounting/glCogsBatch.pdf).
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Troubleshooting 7 Pitfalls of Machine Billing
When you conduct renewals and cycle billing procedures in the ECi DDMS Machines & Equipment Edition, seven problems may occur on occasion:
- Machine not showing up during (EZY-B) Billing run
- Meters not showing up in (EZV)
- Can't get a contract to Renew in (EZU)
- Can't get a contract to Update in (EZU)
- Can't get contract renewals to consolidate in (EZU)
- Can't get a contract or meter to bill in (EZY)
- Meter billing on Umbrella contract not posting to sales on GL-BATCH
Your ECi Technical Support Team has collected tips to help you troubleshoot these issues. See 7 Pitfalls of Machine Renewals and Cycle Billing(www.DDMS.com/Resources/Support/faq/machine/meRenCycTrouble.pdf)
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Balancing Act Part 3:
Balancing A/R If You Deleted a Customer
Earlier in this series (July 2007 and September 2007), you learned why it’s important to audit daily, how to use your day-end reports to collect critical A/R totals, and how to use our spreadsheet to automatically calculate sums and variances to make sure A/R is in balance. It's time to get into the nitty gritty details of solving one of many stumbling blocks in balancing A/R in your ECi DDMS system.
Your Accounts Receivable can get out of balance for many reasons. One common stumbling block is when you delete a customer with an outstanding A/R balance. It’s certainly not the best way to write off a bad customer. If their outstanding invoices are posted to A/R Trade, the A/R Trial Balance will be less than your G/L.
However, a special report shows deleted customers and their outstanding balances. Once you have that information, you can add the customer back in and add their total charges onto the A/R Trial Balance. For detailed instructions, see Balancing A/R After Deleting a Customer (www.DDMS.com/Resources/Support/faq/accounting/arOOBDelCust.pdf).
In Part 4 of this series, we'll learn about another way A/R gets out of balance. For additional information about Accounting in DDMS, see Accounting FAQs (www.DDMS.com/support/faq/accounting.htm).
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RPC Errors In Windows 2003 SP2
May Require SNP-Compatible Hardware
A new Scalable Networking Path (SNP) technology is enabled by default in Microsoft® Windows® 2003 Service Pack 2. If your server’s network card does not support SNP, Remote Procedure Call (RPC) automation errors may occur on your Windows client machines when transmitting large amounts of data.
Before installing Windows 2003 SP2, you have two options:
- Hardware Option: Be sure your server has a network interface card (NIC) that supports SNP technology on your DDMS server. For a list of compatible hardware vendors, see Microsoft’s Scalable Networking Partners page (www.microsoft.com/technet/network/snp/partners.mspx).
- Registry Option: If your server NIC is not SNP-compatible, or if you are not ready to upgrade your hardware, some Windows registry changes will be needed after installing Windows 2003 SP2. For assistance, contact your ECi DDMS Technical Support Team (https://support.ECiSolutions.com). The registry changes can be implemented at any time, but will not take effect until your server is rebooted. Later, once you install an SNP-compatible NIC on your DDMS server, contact your support team to restore registry settings to take advantage of SNP.
For more information on SNP technology, see www.microsoft.com/snp.
For more information about DDMS customer-reported issues with various Windows versions, see Windows Platform Notes on our Web site
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