Archive for 2011

Pricing on Purpose vs Hourly Billing: What’s Been Left Out

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

There has been much discussion recently among business software VARs about how to price our services. The traditional method has been hourly billing. How long does it take the consultant to do the work? Others are now saying we should scrap time tracking and should use “pricing on purpose” or value billing. What is the solution worth to the customer?

Those who want to get rid of the timesheets say it creates the wrong incentive, and could tempt some people (always not you, but others) to pad their hours. Opponents of value pricing say it creates an incentive for customers to minimize the value.

Both of these arguments point to the same thing, but never seem to discuss it: TRUST. We received a letter a few years ago from one of our allies (isn’t that a better word than customer?) which included the following:
“You have served us so well that we are convinced you are indeed a partner, an ally. I don’t think you could have taken our interests more to heart if you were the sole owner of the company; that is how confortable I feel in not only your technical support but also the recommendations you make on purchase of new/additional software.”

With this ally we do much of our work on an hourly basis. Sometimes on a project they will ask for a quote up front so they can figure out if the ROI is there to do it. Either way, they trust us to do quality work for a reasonable price, and we trust them to provide us honest answers to our questions so that we can make the system work for them efficiently and effectively.

They trust us, we trust them. The unit of measure on the invoice doesn’t matter.

New Physical Count Features can speed up your counting for Sage Mas 90 and Mas 200

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Sage Mas 90 and Mas 200 version 4.4 added some features to the Inventory Physical Count functions that you may find useful during Quarter-End or Year-End Inventory Counting. You may want to review these new options before your next Physical Count to see which options are best for your situation.

For those using MAS 90 or MAS 200 version 4.40:

Option to print the system’s on-hand count on the Count Sheets for reference.  This can quickly alert people to review discrepancies while they are counting.

Option to set the system’s on-hand quantity as the default-count value so you only have to enter the exceptions, not every single count.

Inventory quantities can be stored with up to 4 decimal places if you need that.

Count Card Entry Introduced in version 4.40.05 in summer, 2011:  To assist with doing a physical count of diverse inventory in a large warehouse, you can now enter counts for the same item in different locations on individual count cards. This new option will help prevent you from counting the same inventory twice, and is useful when you have the same items located in multiple locations across your warehouse. When you enter your individually numbered count card information, it can be more accurately tracked, and missing cards can be easily spotted. To speed data entry, multiple users can enter information on cards. Once you’ve entered all your count card information, your quantities can be totaled by item for each warehouse, and you can make any necessary adjustments before posting thel Count Card Variance Register.  Use Count Card Entry, Count Card Report, Missing Card Listing and Count Card Variance instead of Physical Count Entry and Physical Count Variance Register.

Let us know if you have questions about these features.

Sage Mas 90 and Mas 200 version 4.50 is now available

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Sage Mas 90 and Mas 200 version 4.50.01 is now available, and with product update 01, existing users can upgrade to use the new 4.50 features. For Mas 200 only, version 4.50 can now run on a Microsoft SQL database platform.  For both Mas 90 and Mas 200,  application enhancements include:

Accounts Receivable has added the ability to bill National Accounts while keeping statistics on branches and subsidiaries.

Payroll has added 5 new deduction calculation methods, including calculation of deductions based on changes in the earnings line made during data entry.  New features for importing payroll entries from popular time-tracking packages have also been added.  New Benefit Accrual figures allow you to set minimum hours for accruing types of benefits.

Automatically Create Purchase Orders from Sales Orders.  New features allow Purchase Orders to be created for not just drop-ship Sales Orders, but all Sales Orders based on specifications that you set.  This is really helpful for companies that don’t purchase products until their customers order them.

Additional Pricing methods have been added to Sales Order system, including pricing by customer for each product line that will allow a company to set default price levels for each of their customers by product line.  Discounts can now be offered by Total order quantity, quantity by Item Category, and for quantity by Product Line.

Assign lot and serial numbers during Sales Order entry. In addition to using lot and serial numbers to be tracked for potential recall of their products, this will also allow companies to reserve limited-quantity lots or serial numbers for their best customers or to match the product-lot previously shipped to a customer.

A new feature for default Split Commissions allows you to establish and maintain default Split Commissions between multiple salespeople for a customer that are invoked each time the customer is billed.

Version 4.5 includes a FREE user and server license of SageCRM 7.1 which allows you track communications with customers and prospects.  The new eMarketing module for SageCRM will deliver all the power of e-marketing software directly through SageCRM for end-to-end e-marketing campaign management. It will enable users to execute high-quality, targeted email marketing and create drip marketing campaigns quickly and easily.

Let us know if you would like to schedule an upgrade to your Mas 90 or Mas 200 system to take advantage of these new features.

Atlanta Rod Converts to xTuple PostBooks from Thoroughbred

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Atlanta Rod and Manufacturing Co, Inc. in Lavonia, Georgia manufactures anchor bolts, embeds, headed bolts and construction fasteners to customer specifications. They had become frustrated with their old Thoroughbred software, and chose Friendly Systems to implement PostBooks by xTuple as their new business software. PostBooks characteristics easily handled recording the specs needed for each custom order for both sales and the shop, giving them a software package that works for them, rather than manual processes to work around deficiencies in their previous software.
Friendly Systems installed PostBooks on their new Linux server, worked with Atlanta Rod to set up the software, and did a “train the trainer” approach to get them up and running quickly and efficiently. We also imported customers, vendors, items and GL data from the old system.
According to Madeline Spratt of Atlanta Rod, “The new xTuple software is easy to use” and “Any glitches we discovered were very quickly resolved.”

Sage Investment Protection Plan for Platinum, SagePro, SBT, Visionpoint Migration

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Companies using Sage Platinum for Windows and Sage Pro ERP can receive significant discounts by migrating to one of Sage’s flagship products, including Sage MAS 90 and MAS 200, and Sage Accpac under the Sage Investment Protection plan until Dec 31st 2011.  This is an important deal, and it should be reviewed as part of those companies’ strategic planning.  This also includes customers using SBT, BatchMaster and VisionPoint software.  Friendly Systems, Inc. is a reseller of Sage MAS 90 & MAS 200, and also Sage Accpac, and we are available to help you in evaluating these products for your needs.  Friendly Systems is also an authorized Silver Developer Partner for Sage MAS 90 & MAS 200 and can modify the software to suit specific needs.  Do you have customized software?  In addition to Sage Mas90/200 and Accpac modifications, we are dealers for one of the top open-source manufacturing software packages, xTuple.  See the home page of our website for more info.

Count the Costs of Old Software

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Most businesses reviewing their information systems and processes for improvement total up the costs of making  changes. What will new software cost? What will it cost to train employees?  You can quantify those answers, because you can get quotes that put those costs on paper.  What’s harder to quantify is the cost of not changing.  Just keep doing what you’ve always done is safe, right? General Motors thought so as they lost market-share.  Each of the “what does it cost to?” questions should bring up the opposite “what is it costing NOT to?” question. What is the old system costing in lost productivity? What is it costing in employee morale and stress-induced errors?  What is the long-range cost of not having  up-to-date tools?

Companies are using new software features to SAVE MONEY, provide BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE and WORK MORE EFFICIENTLY.   Some questions to ask include:

Does your software allow automatic e-mailing of invoices and statements to customers, PO’s to vendors, reports to managers and accountants without multiple steps and fax machines?   How much time is spent faxing documents or stuffing envelopes and mailing?  Is important information, like leads and prospects, copies of documents, and memos stored in multiple systems or workstations where it is hard to locate?  Is your software compatible with Windows7 which comes on all new computers?  Can you export management reports to excel and other packages to do analysis without keying-in the data?   Does your system track Electronic transfers that make timely bill-paying simple?   Efficiently handle and track credit-card payments and credit-card purchases?  How much time/money is lost manually doing things that are addressed by more current software?

Friendly Systems represents several kinds of software, and can help explain their features.  We can also modify software to do things you need.  Let us know if we can help outline your savings by using more efficient software tools.

Tips and Tricks – Mas 90 & Mas 200 Paperless Office

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

How to track documents e-mailed or faxed in Paperless Office? 

How to distribute reports by e-mail using Paperless Office?

Tracking documents e-mailed or faxed in Paperless Office.  After a document is e-mailed or faxed (for example, sales order invoice) the Sent field for the document changes to Y in the Viewer section for that document.   To display this information, go to the appropriate viewer for your document, in this case,  the Paperless Office Customer ViewerExpand the window horizontally, or scroll to the right to view the Sent column. This column displays a Y after a .pdf document is electronically delivered by e-mail or fax.

Distributing reports by e-mail using Paperless Office.

You can e-mail reports to people directly from report printing using Paperless Office.  Here’s how:  Go to Paperless Office Options.  Select the Reports check box under Enable Electronic Delivery and PDF Storage, and click Accept.  You’ll need to tell the system where to store pdf files for reports.  On the Setup menu, double-click Report Maintenance.  In the Company Code field, enter either a company code or All. In the Module Code field, enter either a module code or All.  Select either the desired report or All Reports from the Document list. (“All Reports” populates the Document field if the “All Modules” option is selected.)  Click the Browse Directory button, and select the folder to use for storing the PDF files. (For Mas 200, a UNC address format is required here).  For AutoCreate PDF, select either Yes or Prompt (system will prompt at time of creation).  Select an option from the Password Protect list, and define a password if desired. Click Accept. If the “All Companies” and “All Modules” options are not selected, repeat the above steps for all desired company, module, and document  combinations.

Printing reports  to PDF:    We’ll use the A/R Accounts Receivable Aging as an example.  Expand Modules, Account Receivable, and Reports. Double-click A/R Aged Invoice Report.  Select Paperless Office from the printer list in the lower-left corner of the window. Click Print. The Paperless Office Selection window opens.   You are given e-mail and fax options.  Here is where you specify the e-mail addresses for this report for this print only, and the subject-line for the e-mails.  Note: A form code other than Standard must be used to save the Paperless Office printer as the default printer. Choose your desired options, and then click ProceedTo use the e-mail or  fax options, they must be configured in Company Maintenance.

Since you used Paperless Office as the printer for the report, you can View the report in the Report Viewer, and you can e-mail or fax the report from the viewer also.  Select Report Viewer on the Paperless Office Main menu.  Click Refresh if the Report Viewer check box under Load Data on Initial Viewer Access is not selected in Paperless Office Options.  Double-click a report to view it. Reports can be printed, emailed, or faxed from this screen by clicking the electronic-delivery (envelope icon) on the right.  Call the Friendly Systems support line at: 678-273-4010 ext 2 – if you need assistance.

Cool times in mid August

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Lee hiked the Highline Trail in Glacier NP – August 11th.

Speed up your customer service using Customizer

Monday, July 18th, 2011

If you need quick information for customer item requests, Sage MAS 90 and MAS 200 Custom Office allows information from different screens to be added to a screen.  In the example below, the Bin Location (from the ReOrder screen) and the Retail Price (from the Main Tab screen) have been added to the Quantity Tab so that relevant information for price and stock-checking is on one screen.    Also, if you are scrolling between items and the extended-description dialogue keeps popping up (requiring a click to close), you can change system settings to prevent the extended description box from showing unless you specifically choose it.  This will speed up your customer service.  Click on the screen-picture below to enlarge it.


Business Alerts can generate timely reminders

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Do you ever have business situations that catch you by surprise (of course, we all do). If key people are out of the office, can they or anyone keep track of important developments that require immediate decisions? Business Alerts can trigger automatic e-mail alerts to one or more people based on the data in your accounting system. The actual alert triggers can be set based on the formulas that are important to your business.
The Purchasing Manager can be alerted when:
An item is below its minimum stock level at a warehouse. Never run out of a best selling item.
The cost of an item received exceeds the standard cost for that item or the cost varies by a high percentage from the usual cost of that item.

A Purchase Order was not received by the required-date, the system will notify the Purchasing department and the appropriate vendor with an e-mail.

Salespeople can be alerted when an inventory item’s price changes – or when a customer has not been active for a certain number of days.

Account managers can be notified when one of their customers has an invoice that is past due by 30 (60,90,etc.) days or more.

The Sales Manager can be notified when an order does not ship by the shipping date.

Contact us at Friendly Systems if you want to learn more about using Business Alerts to work for your company.