How to get the most out of your ERP training

1.  I’ve said it before – keep your staff training as close as possible to go-live.  People forget.  Quickly.

2.  Have the training facility load your data!   If the training is done off-site, people will be overwhelmed by the new environment – they’ll be even more lost if they do not see ‘their’ Stock Code, Suppliers, Customers, etc.

3.  Have the training facility print and copy a few screenshots.  Picture = 1000 words.  Trainees can then make notes on these and take them back to the office.  Save the cost of having a (traditional) training manual printed – nobody looks at them.. ever.

4.  Ensure that the trainer show you how to reverse an entry.  (Or fix a punching error).  This causes 90% of go-live chaos:  users do not know how to fix their own mistakes.

5.  It is not often that a company gets the chance to investigate their business processes as thuroughly as what usually happens during a ERP implementation and training sessions.  Make use of this opportunity to improve and streamline your business!

 

Most handy MS SQL query – ever

Find any field name in a MS SQL db – matching your search string (e.g. ‘perator’, as in ‘Operator’ or ‘operator’):

SELECT table_name=sysobjects.name,
column_name=syscolumns.name,
datatype=systypes.name,
length=syscolumns.length
FROM sysobjects
JOIN syscolumns ON sysobjects.id = syscolumns.id
JOIN systypes ON syscolumns.xtype=systypes.xtype
WHERE sysobjects.xtype=’U’ and syscolumns.name like ‘%perator%’

ORDER BY sysobjects.name,syscolumns.colid

Change the ‘syscolumns.name’ to ‘sysobjects.name’ to search on table names.

 

Handy when learning a new system!

Pastel Partner Table names, Descriptions and File names

Herewith a list of the most commonly used Pastel Partner Table names, a short description of each and the corresponding file name.

Table Name Description  Filename
AccountUser Passwords, User Settings accuser.dat
ActivityMaster Time & Billing Activities accactiv.dat
AnalysisCodes Receipt Analysis Codes accranal.dat
BankDetails Receipting Bank Details accbnk.dat
BICUsers BI Centre users ACCBIC.dat
BillingParameters Time & Billing Parameters accprmts.dat
BOMHeader Bill Of Material Header accbomh.dat
BOMLines Bill Of Material Lines accboml.dat
CashBookCurrency Foreign Cash Books / Currency Balances acccbcur.dat
CostCodes Cost Codes accjcode.dat
CurrencyFile Foreign Currency accfcurr.dat
CustomerCategories Customer Categories accdcat.dat
CustomerDiscount Volume Based prices accdisc.dat
CustomerMaster Customer Master AccMasD.dat
CustSuppParameters Customer / Supplier Parameters accprmdc.dat
DeliveryAddresses Customer Delivery Address accdeliv.dat
EmployeeActivities Time & Billing Employee Activities accempac.dat
EmployeeMaster Time & Billing Employees accemp.dat
Euro Euro Code acceuro.dat
FinancialCategories Financial Categories accfcat.dat
Fonts Printer / Font Setup accfont.dat
GAAP GAAP ACCGAAP.DAT
HistoryHeader History of Document (e.g. Inv/Crn) Headers acchisth.dat
HistoryLines Document Lines, Inventory History acchistl.dat
HistoryTax Tax History acchtax.dat
HistoryUserDesc User (Transaction) History Descriptions acchistu.dat
HistoryUserSetup User History Settings acchistd.dat
InternetBank Internet Banking Cashbook accbank.dat
InternetBenf Internet Banking Beneficiaries accbenf.dat
Inventory Inventory Master accprd.dat
InventoryCategory Inventory Categories accicat.dat
InventoryGroups Inventory Group accgrp.dat
InventoryLink Store Linking accstklk.dat
InventoryParameters Inventory Parameters accprmst.dat
JumpUserAccess JumpUserAccess ACCUSERACCESS.DAT
LedgerBalances General Ledger Balances ACCMASB.DAT
LedgerMaster General Ledger Master accmas.dat
LedgerParameters General Ledger Parameters accprmgl.dat
LedgerTransactions GL, Customer, Supplier Transactions acctrn.dat
LinkHeader Link Header acclinkh.dat
LinkLines Link Lines acclinkl.dat
MenuAccess Menu Access ACCMACCESS.dat
MultiStore Multi Store accstore.dat
MultiStoreTrn Multi Store Transactions accstkst.dat
Notes Notes accnote.dat
OpenItem Open Items accoi.dat
POSAudit Point of Sale Audit posaudit.dat
POSCashUp Point of Sale Cashup poscash.dat
POSPaidOuts Point of Sale Paid Outs pospo.dat
POSPayments Point of Sale Payments pospaymt.dat
POSSetup Point of Sale Setup accprmps.dat
PreferredSupplier Preffered Supplier accstkps.dat
ProcessOptions Process Options ACCUSROPT.DAT
ReceiptTransactions Receipt Transactions accrecpt.dat
ReportCategories Report Categories accrcat.dat
ReportExport Report Export accrwexp.dat
ReportWriter Report Writer accrepw.dat
SalesmanMaster Salesman Master accsale.dat
SerialMaster Serial Master accmassn.dat
SerialTransaction Serial Transactions acctrnsn.dat
SupplierCategories Supplier Categories ACCCCAT.DAT
SupplierMaster Supplier Master accmasc.dat
SystemParameters System Parameters accprmsy.dat
TaxBox Tax Box acctbox.dat
TaxDescription Tax Description acctdesc.dat
TaxParameters Tax Parameters accprmtx.dat
TimesheetHead Timesheet Header acctimeh.dat
TimesheetLines Timesheet Lines acctimel.dat
Unposted Unposted accprdq.dat
UserGroups User Groups ACCUSRGRP.DAT
UserStore User Store accusstr.dat

Let me know if you need to link these or do a custom Pastel report from them!

How to set up an IBM Informix database as an OLE DB Linked Server in Microsoft® SQL Server

I linked a IBM Informix Dynamic Server Version 9.40.UC4 on SuSE SLES 8 server – with Microsoft SQL Server Standard (64-bit) on Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard:

1.  Get the latest IBM Informix Client SDK  from here (I used clientsdk.3.70.FC7DE.WIN) and install on your Microsoft Server.

If you are installing the 32 bit version onto a 64 bit machine, you might need to change the SysWOW64 path:   open a comand prompt from the folder where the Informix SDK install is and enter:

set PATH=C:\WINDOWS\SysWOW64\;%PATH%

2.  Add your host in C:/Windows/System32/drivers/etc/hosts (at the very bottom), e.g.  <your server IP>  <your server name>

3.  Similarly, add “sqlexec  1526/tcp#” at the very bottom of C:/Windows/System32/drivers/etc/services.  Note the # at the end.

 

Now simply call your remote db – from the MS SQL side – as follows:

SELECT * FROM [LinkedServer].[RemoteDatabase].[User/Owner].[Table]

 

Web based stock take system

I designed a web based stock take system for a client which incorporates time reducing practices.

The system was built to force users to work according to an efficient procedure – and allows the Warehouse Manager to view the progress through-out.  At any point he/she can see the areas counted (vs un-counted) and the effect on the whole (System Stock Valuation vs Counted Valuation).

We improved the system bi-annually for the last 9 years.

Let me know if you need something similar!

 

How to speed up your ERP implementation

1.  Management buy-in!!  Into the ERP system and the implementation process.  (I cannot stress this enough)

2.  Map your existing system’s database fields with that of the new systems’ as soon as possible.  Attempt to automate the ‘re-load’ of data.  Then make the data visible to users – they’ll love seeing “their” data.  (This will improve Change Management).

3.  Make key users responsible for Master File integrity.  Yup, accountability!  A pain, but worth it.

4.  Make the key processes work first – then the bells and whistles.  Document them, set target dates and track them!  Have the key users test them.

Informix table names vs Sage Line 500 table names

I’ve come to know these table names by heart (by using them over the last 13 years) –  and (still) frequently use them in sentences..

This is more for me to remember.

Informix > Sage Line 500 name:

bmhstm > BOM History
bmwodm > BOM Detail
bmwohm > BOM Header
cbbankm > Cash Bank file
cbbatchm > Cash Batches file
cbtranm > Cash Transactions file
ceaddrm > Customer (shipper_code1) Addresses
cecaldrm > (Financial) Calendar
cenatypem > Narrative Types
cevatregm > VAT Register
nlaccm > Nominal Account File
nlmastm > Nominal Master File
nltranm > Nominal (GL) Transactions
opaudm > Sales Order Audit File
opcosm > Cost Of Sales Matrix
opdetm > Sales Order Detail
opheadm > Sales Order Header
oplastprm > Sales Order Last Price
oplistm > (Sales Order) Price Lists
opsahistm > Sales History Transactions
opservm > Sales Order Services
plitemm > Purchase Ledger Items
plpaym > AP Payments
plsuppm > AP Suppliers (Creditors)
podetm > Purchase Order Detail
poheadm > Purchase Order Header
porecp2m > Purchase Order Receipts
porecpm > Purchase Order Receipts
slbankm > Customers (Debtors) Bank
slcashm > Customers (Debtors) Cash
slcustm > Customers (Debtors) Master File
slitemm > Customers (Debtors) Transactions
stallocm > Stock Allocation (to Sales Orders)
stkhstm > Stock Transactions
stkwhm > Stock Warehouse Master File
stockm > Stock Master File
stquem > Stock Batches
sysdirm > System Keys

Let me know if you need to write a report on these.

 

How to reduce Informix db space with Sage Line 500

Make a note of the output of onstat -d to monitor the effect of your actions.

Ensure exclusive access – preferably with Informix transaction logging off.

Informix transaction logging off:  ondblog nolog <database name>            then      onbar -b -F

As always, make sure you’ve got a decent backup before you start.

Log into Sage – into the Company you need to reduce the space of.  Exit to shell.  You should now be in the company directory by default (check System Manager > System Administration > Company Management > Working Directories).

Test a small table first, e.g.:

unload st_warehouse > stkwhm.unl

Now make sure the unload file (in this case stkwhm.unl) contains the field names at the top and data below it.  Then do

load -cD -x 10000 st_warehouse < stkwhm.unl

The ‘10000’ can be adjusted according the the number of lines loaded at a time – increase for larger tables.

Be sure to update statistics once done!  E.g:

update statistics for table stkwhm;

And lastly, remember to switch Informix transaction logging back on.

Informix transaction logging on:  ondblog buf <database name>            then      onbar -b -F

 

How to create a view based on Syspro’s AdmFormdata

In Syspro, it is very handy to add as many custom fields as you want – but then to report on these fields could be a pain. 

I found it easiest to create a view based on AdmFormdata (where the custom field data are stored) – and then report using only the view.

For example, if you are storing and capturing stock dimensions (Length, Width, Height, etc) – your AdmFormdata might look like this:

FormType KeyField FieldName AlphaValue NumericValue
STK A100 DIM_L    10
STK A100 DIM_W    20
STK A100 DIM_H    30
STK A100 DIM_M    40
STK A201 DIM_L    11
STK A201 DIM_W    22
STK A201 DIM_H    33
STK A201 DIM_M    44

where 

–  ‘FormType’ indicates the data is connected to Inventory (InvMaster) and will always be ‘STK’.

–  ‘KeyField’ contains the InMaster primary key = StockCode (in this case two stock codes A100 and A201)

–  ‘FieldName’ is the (user defined) fieldname e.g. DIM_L = Length, DIM_W = Width, DIM_H = Height and DIM_M = Weight (Mass)

–  ‘AlphaValue’ not used in this case – but can be used for text/alphanumeric values.

–  ‘NumericValue’ is the field value.

 

Now I would create the following simple view:

CREATE VIEW StockCodeDimensions

AS

SELECT KeyField AS StockCode,

MAX(CASE WHEN FieldName = ‘DIM_L’

 THEN NumericValue

 ELSE NULL END) AS Length,

MAX(CASE WHEN FieldName = ‘DIM_W’

 THEN NumericValue

 ELSE NULL END) AS Width,

MAX(CASE WHEN FieldName = ‘DIM_H’

 THEN NumericValue

 ELSE NULL END) AS Height,

MAX(CASE WHEN FieldName = ‘DIM_M’

 THEN NumericValue

 ELSE NULL END) AS Weight

FROM AdmFormData

WHERE FormType = ‘STK’ AND (FieldName LIKE ‘DIM%’)

GROUP BY KeyField;

 

 Resulting in the following table:    (SELECT * FROM StockCodeDimensions)

StockCode Length Width Height Weight
A100 10 20 30 40
A201 11 22 33 44

 

Note that I used  ” FieldName LIKE ‘DIM% ” in my query above.  This can simply be modified/copied to create a view for (say) ‘ANA’ if analysis codes are used to specify (eg) stock code category, colour, age group, chemical restriction, etc.

 

5 Tips on how to choose an ERP system

Based on recent experiences:

1.  Give yourself enough time.
Usually, companies replace/upgrade their ERP/Accounting systems only when they have to –  and the subsequent implementation date is then usually, yesterday.

In my opinion, you need at least three months to evaluate your options.   Make time, it is a big, expensive – and painfull – change.

2.  Know what you want.
Yes, sounds obvious, but it is very easy to be distracted by new bells, whistles and possibilities.  Make sure your core requirements (“pain points”) are fulfilled first – then look at the niceties.  Also, a fixed set of criteria simplifies comparisons (‘apples with apples’).

Customization/expandability in software systems is always an important criteria.

3.  Let the users help decide.
Get your key system users involved right from the start:  thoroughly sell  the reason for the upgrade/replacement, have them attend function specific demos and draw up a ‘User experience’ comparison afterwards.  Not only does this take the pressure off the (usually) sole decision maker – it also improves change management dramatically.

4.  Have a demo – and a database – installed.
If you’re a hands-on system admin (like myself) – you’ll be able to learn a lot from – and evaluate/compare very quickly – a new system, just by looking at its database structure.  First prize would be to have a working demo front-end as well, push for this!  Then test your core requirements – or have the vendor demo it for you (and your key users).

5.  Make a few calls.
A quick and cost effective method to obtain an industry opinion of your options.  What does your customers use?  Is there enought support around?

Let me know if you need help!