Catalog Inventory is a nice way to separate items from a full inventory into different inventories that can be “sold against” by using Quick Order Entry.
The Quick Order Entry application is great because it presents a limited view of your company inventory and customer information. It is a good way to keep sales people focused on the process of recording the order rather than all of the complexities that ActiveApplications supports.
By design AA Order entry is able to create orders from any number of data sources. Order lines could come from Item Master records, Item locations records, Production Planning Records or Purchase Order Records. Since AA is meant to do everything the process can be complicated and order taker must learn the complexities before recording orders. There are simply too many ways and options available to make it simple to use. The program is complicated because the process is complicated.
Quick Order Entry takes away most of the options so it becomes easy to use and quick to teach a new person. Although the process is easy to teach it still can fold into the normal complex order fulfillment process. See the descriptions of Shipping, Order Entry and TAGMaker to learn more.
The Order Entry Process
This discussion will start with the end result and work backwards to show you how these new changes are implemented to benefit your nursery or greenhouse company. To begin we will discuss Poinsettia sales through a catalog. Since it is December Poinsettias are everywhere. Look at the AA Nursery Demo database using Quick Order Entry.
It consists of three sections. The top or first section is the Customer section and order ship date information. Complete the customer number selection and select a catalog.
Select the customer from a normal drop down then select a catalog. There can be any number of catalogs of any length. Since it is Christmas season for 2020 I will select the Poinsettia catalog for 2020. Selecting a catalog does several things. First it limits the displayed items to those in the catalog. It displays all of the items in the catalog but ONLY the items in the catalog. Even if there are hundreds or thousands of other items in your inventory it only shows those on the catalog selected as in this window. Click next on the second box once the information is complete to display the third or order detail section.
I have selected one of the items in this catalog. It is the only item available in the catalog. The other items have been sold out.
Because of the simple design chosen for the Quick Order Entry application, I as a salesman, only see the three basic parts. Customer Name with ship date, limited items list and total. Input is limited to the column of numbers on the left side of the window. I can quickly enter item quantities and be done with the order and ready to create the next order.
This process is much more simple than the full ActiveApplications method. It can be much quicker but that means it is more limited in what is shown and what can be done. It also hides the complexities of the catalog process. I will discuss those now.
Previous to this release Catalogs only used Item Master information. Catalogs now can use locations with Plan Available Date to select available inventory items. Catalog content can be manipulated indirectly through the process of taking a Physical Inventory. The process of taking inventory counts by location and putting a date on the location can manipulate the contents of a catalog! That makes inventory tracking a powerful sales tool.
I will present more on physical inventory later in this post but how do you create a catalog then populate the contents?
First create the catalog with dates. The catalog name and dates are defined on the inventory tab of the Main Control File. Using the permissions given to your ULA Access the Main Control File application.
Then select the Inventory tab from the resulting window
Click the Inventory Defaults Tab to display
The Right Mouse Click on the Catalog Name field to select Modify Entries to display the list of catalogs.
Complete the catalog information if a new catalog is to be created or modify the fields in an existing one.
The Catalog Name should be unique. Create New Lines should be Y or N but is not currently used by any programs. FromPADate is From Plan Available Date. ToPADate is the To Plan Available Date. These from and to dates create an inclusive range of dates. Items with a Plan Available date between these dates will be totaled and added to the catalog if the item is on the catalog. If a proper date range is keyed, catalog create now includes inventory locations. The availability in the catalog create has been moved from the inventory master to the inventory location table. This gives you the flexibility to control the catalog quantities by dated locations.
Loading a Catalog
Now that we know how to create a catalog, how do we add items to it? Start by selecting the Inventory Programs from the AA Menu.
Then select the Catalog Inventory Maintenance Option to display the catalog create application.
Click the catalog to load
To add another item an item can be dropped or click new to display the item add window
Retrieve and item. In this case I will add a Douglas Fir for Christmas tree
Click Add to put in the catalog
The Douglas Fir 5 to 6 foot is now in this catalog. and can be sold with the Poinsettias. Record the catalog to make it available. The quantities could have been updated in the catalog or based on the date range from the plan available date the computer can fill in the quantities automatically. To perform this function click the Auto Update button. The system will then fill in available quantities.
Now that the quantities have been updated the Quick Order Entry will be different. Compare this with the previous example.
That is how a catalog is updated. New quantities will show up automatically as long as the date on the inventory is within the catalogs range of dates. Catalogs can be made for specific crops, seasons, left over items, All Available or any other group you might want and your business needs.
The best part is that the plan available date can be updated as part of the normal process of counting inventory. Look at the physical inventory process that can now update available quantities on a catalog.
Taking Physical Inventory by Location
Counting inventory is the most important process of controlling your business. If you know what you have you will know what can be sold. Selling and supplying makes the company run. Select the Physical Inventory Application from the menu
Displayed is the empty physical inventory routine. Set some of the limits. Usually this will be set by location range. For this demo I will set and View by item number
Quantities can be changed.
Click the Apply Changes to change the locations quantities with the actual counted quantities. Once Applied the Catalog will need to be updated with the new counts.
Once the catalog is updated then the Quick order entry will have the same availability. Quick order entry will update the available quantities in the catalog as items are ordered. It selects the inventory location records for the order so the overselling of inventory is minimized.
It should be noted that quantities displayed could be each, shipping pack or production pack quantities. When taking inventory it is much easier to count flats if inventory is kept by flat. Even though the pricing and actual count will be by the each.
We have discussed a new series of changes available for ActiveApplications Hosted and ActiveApplications On Site versions. We learned how to Create a Dated catalog, Populate the catalog and how to order against the catalog. These changes take catalog ordering to the location level. It tremendously expands the usefulness of the Quick Order Entry Application.
It provides a quick way of recording orders that blend into the normal order work processing flow. It reduces the time to get up to speed on order creation. It is a different method for your company to use as a business process tool.
We have completed the process from the taking of inventory to a quick and easy to use program for creating orders. The program is available now to selected test locations and will be generally available soon to all AA users.
Contact Brian for more information.
Keep visiting this site and look for information on the ActiveApplications Net version of Quick Order Entry.