Plus Systems Logo Newsletter 2001-03       Go Back
May 18, 2001

  • Little enhancements recently completed

    Little enhancements recently completed:
  • A new version of the "Build Favorites" program that will run for an entire range of customer numbers instead of for specific customers. You can also specify a minimum volume of YTD sales and/or a date of last sale cutoff to exclude small or inactive customers.
  • When you add a pricing contract record, the subsequent screen will prefill the operator ID, customer number, start and stop dates, and contract number in order to save on keystrokes. It should also be noted that when you are using the contract change screen, you can automatically bring up the next record by putting an "N" in the Next Format box.
  • Also, the customer price contract audit report now also includes deletions of contracts.

BJ Electric recently completed a project implementing what might be called a custom EDI link with one of their major contractor customers. In BJ's case, the customer's employees in the field still place their orders the same way as before - calling or faxing in. But, then BJ extracts the order data and sends it back to the customer for importation into their purchase order system. Subsequently, the invoices are also sent to the customer for importation into their Accounts Payable system. Additional codes had to be added to the order entry screen in order to facilitate the customer's job costing system. (This aspect is something a distributor should try to avoid).

This project has saved the contractor a bunch of time. The idea is that they will then buy more of their material from BJ. No feedback on that part yet.

BJ and Idlewood Electric recently upgraded to the Unisys 4.6 operating system. Most users are now on 4.6. 4.7 is out, and is what is being loaded on new Clear/Path units being shipped from the factory. In case you missed the announcement, Unisys has stated that 4.7 will be the last MCP supported on the NX4200 & 4600 systems.

Idlewood also recently hooked up an IP network of about 17 PC's using NxView (the IP based emulator that's included with Clear/Paths). Almost all of our Clear/Path users now utilize the network capabilities that come with their systems.

LaSalle Company was the subject of a recent Unisys Client Profile. The review can be read at the site

LaSalle also has moved their offices to the same location as their warehouse. The new address is:

LaSalle Company, Inc.
4315 Ralph Jones Court
South Bend, IN 46628

Their new phone number is 219-271-7644.

Hein Electric recently upgraded to the latest release of Power Plus. The users seemed very enthused about the new order entry features - in particular the ability to order multiple line items on the OE30 partial item number look-up screen, the Trade Service Search being integrated into the order entry screen, and the customer favorite list feature.

Cleaning up your item master file. One of the byproducts of the increased electronic integration with distributors' customers is the increased visibility of your item master data. With several sites now sending price files to customers, implementing Web Order Entry and other e-commerce projects, this has exposed the following:
  • Many sites have a significant number of items with bogus DCI numbers. It's one thing if an item doesn't have a DCI number, but if it has one that's wrong, this can cause confusion. DCI numbers have always been important for dealing with vendors: price updates, EDI/VMI and bar-coded receiving are some of the areas where the DCI number is the lingua franca for communicating with the outside world. Since many sites do not do EDI with many of the vendors, and don't do bar-coded receiving, there seems to have been a tendency to allow invalid DCI numbers to gradually pile up.
How does this happen? Manually creating items on the FM01 screen with invalid numbers. Bad DCI numbers brought forward from previous systems. Instances where, between the manufacturer and Trade Service, something went awry when a DCI number was changed. What's supposed to happen is that the PFMS tape contains the old DCI number and the description says "SEE new-nbr". However, sometimes this does not happen and we therefore cannot make the automatic change to the new number.

What's the effect? As you start sharing data with your contractors, you will find that many of them have Trade Service's Traser Pro package that also relies on DCI numbers. Your invalid numbers thus tend to stick out like a sore thumb. If you implement the Web Customer Service Center, the links to electronic catalog pages will not work if the DCI number is invalid. Also, the Traser drill down search built into WCSC would not work. Granted, the items with bad DCI numbers tend to be "C" items and below. So, it's not the end of the world. But, it can be embarrassing.

There is a report available, WFL/LIST/BADNAED, that will print out those items with invalid NAED (DCI/UPC) numbers.

  • A more difficult subset of items to find are those that have no DCI numbers in your file even though they exist in Trade Service. This is caused by users creating items manually, both in file maintenance and order entry, instead of using either FM07 or the TS search in order entry.