Daily Archives: December 30, 2012

Tip #111 – How to Route Your Deliveries with Map Quest


Tip #111
How to Route Your Deliveries with MapQuest

Again, before I start, I want to thank David Watson of Flowerama in Las Cruces, NM for making me aware of this new service from MapQuest.

On the previous post, we left off here…

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where flowerSoft was giving you the option to map your deliveries with Google Maps or MapQuest.  Since most of you know how to do it with Google Maps (If you don’t see post #068), let’s see what happens when we select M – MapQuest.

As soon as you press M, flowerSoft will launch Wordpad and display a document containing all the recipient addresses for the invoices shown in the route & receipt form.
The first and last address is your shop’s address.

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When this document is displayed, you must do 3 things in succession, first you must hit Ctrl + A to select all the addresses in the document.
When you hit Ctrl + A all the words in the document will get a blue background to indicate they have all been selected.

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After hitting Ctrl + A to select all the words in the document, you must hit Ctrl + C to copy all the words selected into the WIndows clipboard.
Nothing will happen to indicate that you have hit Ctrl + C to copy the selected text, so make sure of it.
Next, you must exit the document.  You can do this by hitting Alt + F4 to exit WordPad

Now, I try to avoid reaching for a mouse whenever possible but if you are more comfortable clicking on something to achieve the steps enumerated above, you can do the following…

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So remember the order of the steps…

  1. Select all text (Ctrl + A)
  2. Copy text selected (Ctrl + C)
  3. Exit WordPad document (Alt + F4)

After you exit the document, you will go back to flowerSoft and see the following on the screen…

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So now hit M to go into MapQuest.
Note, hitting any other key but M will not take you into MapQuest.

Let’s see what happens when we hit M

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This is the screen that will display as soon as the hit M, now you are in MapQuest’s site.
The first thing you must do is click on the Copy & Paste tab.

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Once you click on the tab, MapQuest will display the following screen…

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Click inside the text box and then either press Ctrl + V to paste all the text you selected before or if you like to use the mouse, you can right-click inside the text box and then click on “Paste”

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Once you have either hit Ctrl + V or used the mouse as shown above, all your copied text will appear in the box.
Then you have to click on the “Get Directions” button.

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Once you click on the “Get Directions” button, MapQuest will attempt top route all your deliveries…

If MapQuest finds a better delivery address or addresses that the one you entered, it will display the following…

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Click on the address that you think best matches the recipient’s address.

You will also notice that some of the addresses may have warning icons next to them…

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That means that MapQuest thinks it has a better address for those items than the one you entered.
Click on the warning icon and MapQuest will display what it thinks to be a better address.

I have noticed that basically you have to accept what MapQuest thinks is a better address as it will not let you continue until you accept it.

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So go ahead and accept all of MapQuest’s suggestions and then click on the “Get Directions” button again.

This time MapQuest will display a map with all your delivery stops…

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You will notice that after the last address on the list, which is your shop’s address there are a few options you can select by clicking on them.
One of them is to make the trip a “round trip”.  There is no need to select this option as flowerSoft is already making your shop’s address the first and last entries on the list.

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The other option you might want to use is to let MapQuest re-arrange the stops on your list.

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If you compare the stops on this map with the previous one, you will notice that some of the stops have changed because we allowed MapQuest to re-order the stops.

Note that if you select that option, the changes to the order of the stops will not be carried over to the printed route & reciept form you got from flowerSoft, even if you re-print it.

You can increase the magnification on the map by clicking on it and rotating the mouse wheel.

You can also move the stops manually by clicking on them and dragging them to the location you want.

So there it is, getting your delivery stops routed by MapQuest.  It involves a little more work that doing it with Google Maps but it might be worth it.

Tip #110 – Routing Your Deliveries With MapQuest


Tip #110
Routing Your Deliveries with MapQuest

If you go back and look at tip #068, you’ll see how to display your deliveries on a map using Google maps.  Google maps, however, does not optimize your route.  There are companies that do optimize the routes but they charge for that service. As we mentioned on that post, one such company is myrouteonline.

However, it just came to my attention yesterday (thank you David Watson of Flowerama in Las Cruces, NM) that MapQuest is now offering that service for free!

So after doing some investigating on how to be able to send your deliveries to MapQuest, I’ve come up with this method.  It requires a little work on your part because there is a section of Mapquest where you can upload a file with the addresses that is not working, at least not for me, at this time.  Maybe in the near future it will be and then routing your deliveries will be even easier.

But for now, here is what you need to do:

Route your deliveries using the Dispatcher’s menu option “Q – Route & Receipt Forms” and then select option “R – Request a Route & Receipt Form

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Route you deliveries as usual…

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When finished, save you list as usual…

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Print your route and receipt for as usual

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After printing the form, flowerSoft would normally ask you if you want to display a Google map of the deliveries requested.

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This question has now been eliminated.
After the “Print Again? (y/N)” question normally following the first print request, flowerSoft will do something different than in the past.
Instead of taking you back to the menu, it will take you back to the route & receipt for just printed.

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From there, you will now be able to select whether you want to use Google Maps or MapQuest to display and route your deliveries.

The Google Maps function remains the same, see post #068.  How to use MapQuest will be explained on the next post.

Tip #109 – Changing the Account Number


Tip #109
Changing the Account Number

Yesterday, a long-time flowerSoft customer called me and asked me to refresh his memory on the way to change an account number.
I told him that the only way was to enter the new phone number in one of the other 2 phone number fields.

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Then, after leaving the Cell/Fax Number field, flowerSoft would ask him what phone number it should use to generate the account number.

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After he selected the field containing the new phone number, flowerSoft would use that number to generate the new account number.

He told me “No, there is an easier way to change an account number.  I’ve done it before, but I don’t remember what I did.”
Well neither could I.
I could not remember a way to change an account number without doing what I described above, but since he is a pretty savvy user I told him I would look through the code and call him back if there was another easier way to change an account number.
I also suggested to him to give the account an alias, but that is not what he wanted to do.  He wanted the account number to change.

So, I looked through the code and guess what, sure enough there is an easier way to change an account number and I had even documented it!  Now, this method was not originally written with the purpose of facilitating the changing of an account number.  It was written to allow flowerSoft customers to give accounts an alphanumeric account number, such as fsoft2013.000.
However, that method also works to change an account from 1111111.000 to 7186980298.000.  Here is how:

Simply bring up the client record and press U to update.  You will notice that at the bottom of the screen there is a message reading “Press F8 to Enter an ALPHANUMERIC Account

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After you press the F8 key, flowerSoft will open up a window asking you to enter the alphanumeric account number, but there is nothing preventing you from entering just numbers.

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Then after you enter the supposedly alphanumeric account number, flowerSoft will change the account number to whatever you entered.
Please note that if you are to enter an alphanumeric account number, you are limited to 10 characters, as flowerSoft still needs to add the .000 to the account number.

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So there you have it, a fairly easy way to change an account number.  Be aware, however, that if the change in the account number is because the customer has a new phone number, using this method will not save the new phone number.  So in those cases, it is better to use the first method, which was intended for that eventuality.

Warning!  Do not use this method to combined two accounts into one.

See tip #008 or click here http://wp.me/p24nOe-2J for instructions on how to do that.