Monthly Archives: July 2013

Tip #143 – Assigning Delivery Zones


Tip #143
 Assigning Delivery Zones to Street Address Entries

OK, so you have now finished entering all of your street address records from the back of your favorite map book.
So how do you assign delivery zones to each of these entries?  Let me show you how.

First off, all or most of your street address entries should look like this…

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The should have all the fields filled except the delivery zone.
On the street name field, be aware that (as in the example above) computers are very literal.  If you have the entry as shown above and the in the recipient’s address field you type “276 Suffolk Ave.”, flowerSoft will not find a match.  Likewise, “276 Suffolk Avenue” and “276 Suffolk Av” will not be a match to the way you entered the street name.

Since you do not know how the clerk will feel about entering the street address on a particular way, there is no way to solve this problem except by having multiple entries for the same street address.
flowerSoft gives you a fairly simple way to duplicate  the filed contents of the previous record by pressing the F5 key when you are at the field you want to duplicate.  In this case, you want to duplicate every field except the street address name, which you want to duplicate most of it but then change ave to ave. or avenue.
The same would hold true for the city field.  St. Louis is not the same as St Louis or Saint Louis.

Again, this is the only option you have if you want to cover all the possible way the address is entered.  You do not have to use it if you can get everyone using flowerSoft to enter addresses the same way.

OK, so like I said, now you have all your address records the way you want them and now need to assign delivery zones to those records.  Although you can, I’m sure you do not want to do this one record at a time.  So how do you do it?

OK, let’s say your shop is located in Brooklyn, NY and that is your one and only delivery area.
In my street address database I have 8,608 entries in Brooklyn.  I do not want to enter 8,606 delivery zones no matter how easy flowerSoft can make it for me.
So let flowerSoft do most of the work for you.

One of the options in the Street Map Locations menu is …

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Let’s select that option.
Upon selection, flowerSoft will give you these choices…

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All the zip codes in Brooklyn start with 112, so I am going to select option #1 and give every address in Brooklyn the same zone.
I am going to make that zone whichever is my largest zone in the city.  Let’s say I want to call that zone BLUE.

So I select option #1 and these screens will come up in sequence…

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So now if we look in the database, all the entries for Brooklyn have BLUE as the delivery zone.

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Great but now we want to make the entries referring to zip code 11201 be in the GREEN delivery zone.
How do we do it? Exactly the same way as above, except that instead of entering 112 as the zip code and BLUE as the delivery zone, we enter 11201 and the zip code and GREEN as the delivery zone.

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Now, let’s say you want to give some addresses within the same zip code a different delivery zone…

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Let’s say that we want to assign all the addresses shown in map #19 to delivery zone ORANGE.

This time, we select option #2 from the menu…

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Now let’s say that we want to change only the addresses at a certain map location (coordinates) to delivery zone RED.

For this we use option #3

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Keep in mind that map locations (coordinates) repeat themselves on different maps, so you not only have to specify the map location but also the map number in which you want the change to take place.

Let’s say we want to change the addresses at map location F16 on map #23 from BLUE to RED…

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So using the 3 different options provided gives you total control when assigning delivery zones to your street addresses.

Now when you enter a recipient’s address, flowerSoft will first look in the street addresses database for a match.
If it finds a match, it will assign the order the delivery zone found in the matched record and then it will look in the delivery zones database to see what the delivery charge should be for the order.

Like I said before, using this method requires a lot of work on your part but once it is done, it is there forever.

Why is this method better than just having multiple delivery zones in one zip code?
Because it takes the guess-work out of the equation.  You do not have to worry about your clerk picking the correct delivery zone and delivery charge from the list of available delizery zones in a zip code.

Again, I wish there was a way to obtain this mapping information in a csv format for free, but I have not been able to locate a source.
If you know of one, please let me know and I’ll investigate it.

As always, your comments and suggestions are appreciated.

Tip #142 – Creating Delivery Zones


Tip #142
Creating Delivery Zones

OK, so now you know how to create a delivery zone system the easy way with little effort on your part.
Now let’s find out how to set up a more robust method which requires a lot more work on your part.

Method #2

From flowerSoft’s Main menu, follow the same path you took on the previous post, M > U > C  but instead of 4 – Delivery Zones, select S – Street Map Locations and you’ll end up here…

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This method requires you to input information from a street map booklet such as Hagstrom’s Street Atlas.  You probably have this or something similar for your drivers to use.

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On the back of these books there is an index showing the street name, the low and high range of house numbers, zip code, the page or map number and the coordinates on the map you can use to find the location.

If you have the time and want to spend it doing this tedious task, flowerSoft can then use that information to precisely locate the recipient’s address in the correct delivery zone.  I wish this information was available as a csv file but I have not been able to find it.  If you know where it can be obtained, please let me know and I’ll write a program to read the csv file and load it into the Street Addresses program.

As I said before, it is not hard to do but it is a tedious and time-consuming task.  Trust me, I have done it.
Anyhow, here is how to add addresses to the program.

When you hit A to Add Street Map Locations, flowerSoft will display the following screen…

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All you have to do then is enter the Street Name, the City Name and the Zip Code, the Low and High house numbers, the map number, the map location (coordinates) and the delivery zone.

You should not enter the delivery zone as you are entering the data.
It is a lot easier to do this after you’ve finished entering all the street locations.

Here is what a completed record looks like…

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Next post we’ll learn how to add Delivery Zones to the Street Address records.

Tip #141 – How to Set Up Delivery Zones


Tip #141
How to Set Up Delivery Zones

flowerSoft gives you two methods of setting up your delivery zones.
One method is fairly simple to implement, requiring very little effort on your part.
The other one is also fairly simple to implement but requires a lot of work on your part.

Let’s start with the simple and easy method…

Method #1

Follow this path from flowerSoft’s Main menu:
M > U > C > 4 and you’ll end up here…

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Let’s go ahead and select A – Add Delivery Zones.
You’ll be presented with the following screen

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As you can see from the screen shot above, data entry is pretty straight forward. 
You enter a zip code, flowerSoft should fill the name of the city or town and the state automatically for you.
Enter your minimum order amount and the default delivery charge for this zone.

The cut-off time is the time until which you’ll take orders going to this zone.  Time is entered in “military time” but if you are not familiar with it, you can press F6 to see a list to help you.
If you will delivery to that zone after the cut-off time but charge a delivery surcharge, enter the amount of the surcharge.  Please note that this is a delivery surcharge, in other words it will be added to the delivery charge for the zone.

Next give the delivery zone a name.  A lot of flowerSoft customers like to give the different zones names of colors, like BLUE or RED.  However, flowerSoft will accept anything in this field 10 characters or less.

If you belong to a co-op delivery system, you can enter the table number for this zone or leaves it blank.

If the delivery zone covers a large area and/or you do not deliver to some areas in the zone, you can set a flag to warn the clerk during the order-entry process.

Next, you’ll select the sales tax rate for the zone.  99% of the time it should be tax rate A, your default rate, but if the delivery zone has a different tax rate than your default one, you can enter B or C here.  Just make sure you record that tax rate in flowerSoft’s tax rates database.

Finally, you have the option of assigning certain delivery zones to a specific driver.  To assign a zone to a specific driver, simply enter the driver’s initials (as they appear in the employee file) in the space provided for it.

This is what a completed delivery zone record looks like…

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That is all you need to do to start using delivery zones.

When you use delivery zones, flowerSoft will read the recipient’s address and assign the correct zone and delivery charge to the orders.

This is a pretty simple method to set up and use delivery zones but does it have any disadvantages?

Yes, there is one disadvantage to this method and it is that if you have a zip code that covers a very large area, you might want to break up that area into 2 or more delivery zones.  So now you’ll end up with 2 or more delivery zones using the same zip code.

During order entry, if flowerSoft detects that you have more than one delivery zone for a zip code, it will open a window showing the 2, 3 or more delivery zones in that zip code and now it is up to your employee to pick the correct one.

Although this is not usually a big problem, you might want to take that responsibility away from the clerk and let flowerSoft always pick the correct one for you.

If this is what you want, the you must use the second method to create delivery zones and that is the subject of the next post.

Tip #138


Tip #138
PCI Compliance

How to Give a Partial Credit

One problem with the new PCI compliant version of flowerSoft is that you cannot give a customer a credit if you do not have an original token.  In other words, you cannot go into flowerSoft and create a new invoice for a customer, enter a negative amount, select credit card as the method of payment, enter the customer’s credit card and get an approval for a credit.
Merchant Warehouse’s software barks out that you’ve entered an illegal transaction.
I’ve found out that the reason for this is to avoid possible fraud.  So a credit cannot be given unless there is an original token to apply it against.

So how do we get around this constriction?  Fairly simple.  Just go to the original order, hit R and then select option #3 – Refund and Update.  What this does is refund the original order amount  and then allows you to change the order.

So let’s say we have an original order for $100 and that we have gotten an approval on the credit card used.
The customer now calls you a couple of days later and tells you that you forgot to include the plush teddy bear he had ordered.
So now you have to credit him $20 for the plush toy.
Here is how the original order looked…

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Now, to give the credit, we bring up the original order and hit R…

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We then select option #3 – Refund and Update Order

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After we tell flowerSoft to go ahead with the refund, the customer’s credit card will be refunded $119.68.  The total amount of the original order.

Now, we update the existing order and add a line to show the credit…

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We then get approval for the new order amount, $97.91.

So the customer’s credit card statement will show…

Debits          Credits
Sale            $ 119.68
Refund                            $119.68
Sale            $  97.91

This is the only way I know to give a partial credit to a customer.

The thing to remember is that to give a credit on a credit card transaction, there must be an original transaction with an approval and a token number.  Without the token number, no credit can be given through the customer’s credit card.  You can always send them a check or if they have a house account, give them a credit there.

Tip #140 – Price Points


Tip #140
Price Points

flowerSoft now gives you the ability to add price points to any of your item codes.
Here is what you have to do…

  1. Go to the Manager’s menu and select the U – Utilities option.
  2. From the Utilities option select C – User definable Codes and Settings.
  3. Now select 1 – Item Description Codes.
  4. Select E – Edit/View Item Description Codes.
  5. Select index A or B and bring up the item you want to enter price points
  6. You will see the following screen…

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Hit the Dollar sign and the following screen will display…

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If no previous price points exist, all the price point fields will be empty.  If you had entered price points for this item, they would show up now.  In either case, all you have to do is hit U to update the price points and either add or edit them.

Note that you cannot delete the price points as they are part of the Item Codes record.  To clear the price points, simply hit C and flowerSoft will ask you for confirmation, and after receiving it will clear all the price points for the item.

Also note that one of the price points is the minimum price the item can be sold for.  If no minimum price is entered, the standard price will also be the minimum price.

Let’s say you decide to normally sell this item for $40 but never for less than $35.

You can also use better flowers for $50 and a really deluxe version in a Mink Dynasty vase for $75.
You screen would look like this…

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So now, while taking an order, you or one of your employees get to the “Unit Price” field…

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you should notice the new option allowing you to hit F8 to access the Price Points for this item. When you hit F8, the following screen will come up…

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At this point you can select a number from 1 to 4.  #1 for the minimum price for this item, #2 for the standard price, #3 for the better option and #4 for the premium version.

If you or your clerk enter a unit price less that the minimum amount, flowerSoft will respond with…

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and automatically replace the price you entered with the minimum price for the item…

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If F8 is pressed for an item with no price points, flowerSoft will respond with…

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So there it is, an easy way for your employees to know what your price points are for an item.

Note:  Price points can only be entered for items with an item code.

As always, any comments or suggestions for improvement are welcomed.

Tip #139 – Promoting Overstocked Items


Tip #139
Promoting Overstocked Items

Don’t you wish that your employees had a way of knowing which items you are carrying too many of and were able to lead the customer into purchasing one of those items instead of the ones you barely have enough of?  Well, now you can.

Let me show you how this is done.

First, there was the question of whether the list should come up automatically or only on demand.  Well, I decided to give you the choice.

In the Manager’s menu, under System Information, System Defaults you will find  on Page 23 a couple of new questions…

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Answering these 2 questions will allow you to tell flowerSoft whether to display the list automatically or not (on demand) and if automatically, at which point(s) in the order to display it.

After you answer these questions, you must enter the items you want to push out the door.  You do this by going to the Manager’s menu and then into the Inventory module.

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There you will find a menu option labeled  P – Promote Items.  Let’s see what happens when you select that option.

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First thing you will see is the date on which to start the promotion.  It always defaults to today’s date but you can change it to suit your needs.
Next, you have to enter the information the screen is asking for.  You do not have to use an item code but if you do, the program will bring in the information found in the item codes and inventory file automatically for you.

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You are not forced to enter a discount but if you do, flowerSoft will calculate the sale price automatically.  SImmilarly, if you do not enter a discount, the sale price will be the sale as the unit price.  If you change the sale price to a different amount, flowerSoft will calculate the discount automatically.

If the item exists in the inventory file and you are keeping track of the units on hand, flowerSoft will bring the current units on hand number into this record.  You can enter a different units on hand number if you wish and flowerSoft will then update the inventory record with this new number.

After you save the item, flowerSoft will ask you if you want to promote the item only for the date shown or an extended period of time…

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If you select “No” flowerSoft will then ask you for the last date to promote this item and then save a record for the item for each day the promotion runs.

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After the promotion records are saved, you can view them by using option V – Edit/View Promoted Items…

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Once the promoted items are set up, they will start displaying at the selected location(s) during order entry.

Please note that even though you can enter a quantity on hand for any promoted item, the quantity on hand will not be updated unless the promoted item is part of your inventory file.

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As an example, promotional items BB5 and BALM are part of the inventory file so their quantities will be updated each time one or more are sold.  However, sunflowers by the stem and white roses by the stem are not part of the inventory file, so their quantities must be updated by hand.  Inventory items must have an item code and be marked as inventory items in the item codes file.

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Please be aware of the difference between produced and not produced items.  Produce items do not come off inventory until entered into a bill of materials by designer.

If you have any suggestions for improvement, please let me know.

Advice


If you use an anti-virus program, I hope it is not AVG or something similar.

AVG does not like programs with .exe extensions that it does not recognize.
It probably asks a question of the user about quarantining the program or not but it reads so convincingly that it is a virus, that I would probably answer “Yes, quarantine it!” and then your troubles start.

I just spent several hours yesterday trying to restore missing files from a customer’s system and this is not the first time it happened, I just wasn’t aware that it was AVG quarantine that made the programs disappear.

This particular customer had been complaining about flowerSoft not sending order and delivery confirmation e-mails on and off for probably the past 6 months.  It seemed that every couple of weeks, they would call and tell me that the e-mails were not being sent.  Each time I looked, the program that sends the e-mail was missing.  I tried renaming the program to see if I could fool whatever or whomever was deleting the file but to no avail, the file kept going missing.  I had to make a backup copy of the file  and just before flowerSoft was ready to send an e-mail out, I would check to make sure the file was still there and replace it with the backup if it wasn’t.  That worked, but I still did not know what was deleting the file.

So this worked until a couple of days ago, when the same customer called and told me that flowerSoft would not open for them.  They would click on the icon and a blue screen would just flash on and disappear.
I logged into their system and discovered that one of the database programs that flowerSoft uses was no longer there.  I replaced it and everything went back to normal.

Then the following day, they call me again and tell me that their credit cards are not clearing or rather that the pop up that comes up when is time to get approval, was not coming up.  Again I connected to their system and was able to confirm that indeed the program used to interface with Merchant Warehouse, was not coming up.  I could not see anything wrong and even setting the logging of events on did not help.  The log would just have the time the program started and the time it ended with nothing in between.  The elapsed time between the starting and ending time was milliseconds.  I then had to call Jeff Bandle, a great programmer that among other things wrote the interface program to Merchant Warehouse for help and he discovered that one of his files was missing from their system.  I then surmised that some anti-virus program must be deleting or quarantining their files.

I replaced the file and everything started working normally… for a couple of hours.  The next call was that the employees could not punch in or out followed within minutes to flowerSoft not opening up in any of the workstations.  Again, the culprit was missing files.
So now since nobody could use flowerSoft, I just went from computer to computer trying to find the culprit.

After an hour or so, it was discovered in one of their POS stations.  After replacing all the missing files, I un-install AVG from that computer and hopefully now we won’t have any more missing files.

Yet, the shop was without the use of their computers for almost an entire day because of this.

So the moral of the story is be careful how you answer questions about quarantining programs.  Make sure the answer you or your employees give is the correct one.  The questions are meant to scare you and sometimes they work very well.

If the questions comes up right after performing an action in flowerSoft, call us.  flowerSoft does not introduce viruses into your system.

Viruses come from downloading files from the unknown internet sites or opening e-mail attachments.  If you get a message after doing one of those two things, definitely pay attention to it.  Better yet, don’t open attachments from people you do not know and even if the name looks familiar, make sure the email is really coming from them.  If you are not sure, give them a call and ask if they did send you an email with an attachment.  Look at the screen shots below for examples of what I’m talking about.

Now, I know that you, just like me, wish you knew a prince in some Middle-East country willing to shower you with money and opportunities …

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but this e-mail was not sent to me by the prince himself…

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smithy67y@gmail.com in not a prince and I very much doubt that he even knows the prince, so as much as I was tempted, I did not open the attachment and neither should you if you get an e-mail like this.

I do know a Cari Guerra but she did not send these emails to me, jrp90@mail.com and sam@tnorris.com did.

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Brian Stratton is a friend of mine but his e-mail address is not esbra_163@yahoo.com so I did not click on the link.

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So my point is, do not be tricked into opening attachments or following links from names you recognize but sent by someone else.  Always check the email address within the brackets to make sure it did come from the person you know.

As far as anti-virus programs, I can only recommend the one I use, Norton 360.  It has never asked me if I want to quarantine one of my programs and when it does ask a question (seldom) it does it make it sound as if the world is coming to an end.