Monthly Archives: November 2013

Tip #169 – Inventory Tracking


Tip #169
Inventory Tracking

Some of you like to keep inventory on everything you sell, including flowers.  Some of you want to keep inventory on all the hard goods you sell, but not flowers.
Some of you just want to keep an accurate count of how many holiday containers you have left during the holidays.
Whichever group you fall into, flowerSoft has the tools to help you.

Simple inventory tracking is…. simple.
You tell the computer how many pieces of something you have (units on hand)  and every time you sell one, the computer reduces the units on hand by one.
This works well if you are keeping track of cards, balloons, stuffed animals, etc.  But what about containers?  You are not selling containers, you are selling an item the is place in a container.
Many times, the same container is used for several different items.  So how do you keep track of items which normally are not sold individually but are used in the production of another item and its quantity is reduced when that other item is sold?  You could try to remember to add a separate line item for those items on the order so that their units on hand is reduced, but that rarely works.  There must be an easier way, and there is.

The concept of sets and components.

I guess one of the things less understood in inventory tracking is the concept of sets and components.
Let me try to explain it in a simple way with an item we are all familiar with, a toilet.
If you were selling toilets and I wanted to buy a toilet, I could go to your store and pick a toilet in my favorite style and color.  You would enter the sale into your computer and your units on hand for that toilet would be reduced by one.
However, if a few months later I had a mishap and dropped something and broke the tank cover of that toilet, I would go back to your store and try to purchase a tank top that would fit the same style and color of the one I had originally bought.  If you run a good plumbing supply house, you should be able to accommodate me.  I should be able to buy the tank top, the tank and the bowl separately.

A set is an inventory item that is made up of several different parts (other items) called components.  In the case of a toilet, the bowl, the tank and the tank top.  A toilet does not exist without any one of those other component items.  You could say that the toilet is a “virtual” item.  It really does not exist.  The bowl, tank and tank top are “real” items that when put together form the “virtual” item we call a toilet.  That is the concept of inventory tracking using sets and components.

The toilet is the set and the bowl, tank and tank cover are the components of that set.
You should be able to go to a plumbing supply house and buy any of those 3 components individually or together as a set.
When a plumbing supply house keeps track of an inventory item such as a toilet, which is made up of other parts, they do not count or keep tally of how many toilets they have.
They keep track of how many bowls, tanks and tank tops they have on hand.   The number of toilets available for sale is the least amount of any of the components that make up that set.

Let’s say that a toilet is composed to bowl A, tank B and tank top C.

Quiz:
A plumbing supply store has on hand (in stock) 157 units of bowl A, 152 units of tank B and 175 units of tank top C.
How many toilets that use those items will their inventory program say they have in stock?

The answer is 152.  Why?  Because that is the least amount available of any of the components.
You would not buy a toilet without the tank, so they cannot sell more toilets than the amount of available tanks in stock.
If they were to put together as many toilets as possible using their “on hand” inventory, they could only put together 152 before they ran out of one of its parts and could no longer sell a complete toilet.
I hope that I have explained this well enough that you now understand this concept if you did not before.

Now let’s see how that concept applies to you and keeping track of containers and other hard goods that are used when making up an item you sell.

A perfect example of this is the containers you buy from the wire services during the holidays.

If you want to keep track of how many of a certain container you have before you need to order more or stop selling the items that use it, you have to keep track of each arrangement that uses that container you sell.  To do this you need to make use of flowerSoft’s item codes.  flowerSoft cannot keep track of inventory if you do not use an item code when you sell an item.
So you must make the items that use those containers “inventory” items.  In other words, items that flowerSoft will keep a count on.

But this presents another problem, even if you keep track of the items that use the container in inventory, how do you keep track of the containers those items have used?

You could, every time you sell an arrangement that uses the container, also add the container item to the order and charge $0.00, since the price of the arrangement includes the container.
This would be just marginally better that keeping track of the inventory by hand.

The way this type of inventory tracking should be done is by the use of components.
After all, what does the arrangement consist of?  Think of it’s recipe.  All the items in a recipe are the components of the item they are a part of.  The different flowers, the greens, the floral foam and the container they all go into.    Take the recipe below…

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Each one of the items listed is a component of Teleflora’s Holiday Glow centerpiece.

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If you wanted to keep track of the “on hand” quantity of each of thee items needed to produce the Holiday Glow centerpiece, you would have to enter each one of them as a component of item T115-3A and each one of them would have to have their own item number.  But this is not what most of you want to do.

If you do not have one of the flowers, you could possibly substitute another but if you do not have the container or some other integral part of item T115-3A, you cannot sell that item.

So even though you could keep track of everything you sell, that is a monumental tasks that most flower shops are not equipped to do because of the manpower and attention to detail it takes.  But you certainly can keep track of how many containers you have on hand, that is not so difficult.

So in the T115-3A item shown above, the most important components are the Hurricane lamp, the pillar candle and the 8″ centerpiece tray, and that is what you want to keep track of.
Without one of those components, you might not be able to produce the item.

So let’s say that you order 100 units of each.  100 Hurricane lamps, 100 pillar candles and 100 8″ centerpiece trays.

So you would think you could sell 100 of the T115-3A item and that would be true if the Hurricane lamp, pillar candle or 8″ centerpiece tray were not used in any other items.  But they are.
The are also used as part of items T115-3B and T115-3C.  In addition the pillar candles are also used in other items, such as T113-3A, 3B and 3C.
You also have to take into account any breakage.  That hurricane lamp looks like a good candidate for breakage.

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So in order to know if you can sell any of those items, you have to know how many of each you have on hand at any time.
If when your shipment arrives, 2 of your hurricane lamps are broken and I came into the store and wanted to buy every T115-3A you can make, you can only sell 98 of them even if you have 100 pillar candles and 100 8″ centerpiece trays.  By know I’m sure you are grasping the concept of sets and components.

So now, how do we implement this in flowerSoft?  Here is how…

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For every item that is a “set”, such as T115-3A, you need to tell flowerSoft that this is an inventory item and that it has “components”.
So those 2 fields have to be marked with a “Y”

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Inventory tracking requires some planning.  You should not go into it before having an idea of what you want to do.

For example, once you enter a “Y” in the “Inventory Item? field, flowerSoft will automatically check to make sure there is an inventory record for that item.
If there isn’t one, it will automatically create one for you with the basic information and then take you to that record to allow you to enter additional information if necessary.

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If additional information needs to be entered for the record created, you should hit “U” to update, enter the additional information and save the record.
Once you exit the record, you will be taken back to the item description record.

Likewise, once you enter “Y” in the “Components?” field, flowerSoft will check to see if there is a record listing the components of the item.  If there isn’t one, you will be asked if you want to add one at this time.

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The reason you are asked if you want to add the components now instead of just taking you to add the components is that adding the components requires that you enter an item code for each component.  So you might not be ready to do that at the moment.  You can always come back later and either update the record and enter the components then or you can use the “Item Components” option of the inventory menu to add the components for the item code.

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If you do choose to add the components of the item code at that time, you will be taken to a new record in the components file for you to entre the components of the item.

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As you can see, you do not have to enter every component of the item, just the ones you want to keep track of.

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Before saving the components record, flowerSoft will give you the opportunity to change the product’s selling price should you feel it necessary.

After you’ve added all the components you want to keep track of for an item, flowerSoft will be able to tell you if you have enough on hand of all the component items to produce the item at the time of order entry.  However, before flowerSoft can do that, you must enter how many units on hand you have for each component item.

There are 2 ways of adding quantity on hand to an inventory item.  One is by going to the inventory record for the item and hitting “Q” to change the quantity on hand.  This option also lets you change the maximum and minimum quantities on hand and the re-order point.

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While this is pretty simple to do, it has one disadvantage.  It does not update the history for the item.

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A better way to record additions and subtraction to the units on hand is to use the “Add to Units on Hand” option of the inventory menu.

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That option does keep a history of what has been done to the inventory item plus it lets you scan the UPC of items that have one.

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which allows you to keep track prices paid for an item and of inventory discrepancies…

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Once we enter all the units on hand for the component items, (I’ve just made all the component items for T115-1A equal to  100 on hand) when we sell that item through order entry flowerSoft will show…
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Please note one very important consideration.  Items can be “Produced” or “Not Produced”.  A “produced” item involves the participation of a designer, while a not-produced item, such as a stuffed teddy bear does not.  If you mark an item as produced, flowerSoft waits until the designer marks the order as completed before deducting the items from inventory.

If you are not going to be using that function in flowerSoft, make sure to mark all your items as “Not Produced”.

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So the next time you sell that item, flowerSoft should show…

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So that is how you track inventory items in flowerSoft.

Be warned though that inventory tracking takes dedication.  Don’t expect the inventory quantities to be correct if you do not record breakages or other actions that might affect the inventory quantities.  For example, if you receive a container shipment for an item that you do not have any of, but do not record the units received until after you’ve sold some of them, the inventory  quantities will not be correct.

So do use the inventory module if you need to keep track of hard goods.  It is a powerful tool, but know that it does require a considerable amount of extra work on your part.

Tip #168 – Displaying the Customer


Tip #168
Displaying the Customer

I just received an e-mail from an experienced flowerSoft user asking:

“George,
Would it be possible to see the account number or name of the customer when viewing an order after the fact?
Maybe I’m missing an option to see the customer? In most cases you can’t tell from the card message.”

This made me realize that the option to do this was not documented at all and if anyone had found out how to do it, would have been by accident.

When you are in Edit/View orders, you are looking at a screen like this…

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This screen does not show you any information about the customer but…
Notice option that reads “C – Card Options”?
Selecting that option, which is meant to be used when you want to edit or print the enclosure card…

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happens to also show you the customer’s info.
So the next time you need to know who placed the order, think of pressing “C” for “Customer”.

Tip #167 – Improvements to Obits Feature (Revised)


Tip #167
Improvements to Obits Feature

In order to make the obits feature easier to get to and use, I’ve made the following improvements to it:

  • You can now access the Obits Menu from the “source” field of an order.

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  • The Obituaries menu has a new option

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This new option allows you to view obituary records from all over the US and Canada by simply typing the deceased’s first and last names.

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The web site will then scan all the obituaries for that name during the past 3 days and display a list of names for you to select from.

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Once you select a name from the list, all the pertinent information for the deceased will be displayed,  See example below…

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I’ve also made this new feature available when entering a new obit.  See below.

  1. Access the Obituaries menu from the source field by pressing F4
  2. Once in the Obituaries menu, select option A – Add New Obituaries
  3. Enter the first and last name of the deceased.  Only the first and last name and in that order.  In other words, no Mr. John Smith or Smith, John.  Just the first and last name with no punctuation and then press the F4 key.

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The same list as shown above with all the John Smith deceased during the last 3 days will be displayed, but this saves you having to enter the first and last names separately and clicking on the search button.  I thought about restricting the search to your state only, but we do have shops that deliver to neighboring states and that would prevent you from seeing any of the deceased names in other states.  It also would disable the feature for outgoing orders, so I’ve decided to display all the names and let you pick.  I only got 3 hits with John Smith, so I suspect the lists will not be very long.

Another thing you can do once you’ve selected the name you want, is to copy (as in copy and paste) a portion of the obit and then paste it into the obit record as reference.
For example,

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You can (using your mouse) highlight the obit information you can use and then right-click and select “Copy”
This will copy what you’ve highlighted into the Windows clipboard.
You can then exit the obit web page.  This will put you back into flowerSoft’s obit record at the top of the screen.  This is called the “paste” field.
At that point you can use your mouse again to right-click and click on “Paste”.  Whatever you copied from the obit web page will now be displayed in this “paste” field (up to 479 characters) allowing you to refer to it to complete the obit entry.

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Now using some of the information pasted you can complete some of the remaining fields.

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Once the record is saved, the pasted information will no longer be visible from Edit/View Obits.

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As usual any suggestions for improvement are welcomed.

Tip #166 – Improvement to City Minimums Feature


Tip #166
Improvement to City Minimums Feature

It used to be that you could only look at city minimums when you were selecting the filling florist.

You can now view city minimums from the “Source” filed by pressing the F10 key.

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Although the screen shot above reads “On Outgoing Orders…”, the feature is also available if you did not select option #3 to go into the order.

Upon pressing F10, flowerSoft will ask you for the recipient’s city and state…

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After you enter that information, flowerSoft will display a list for the different product categories and their minimum amounts…

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Highlight the product category and wire service you want to view the details for that selection…

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If you press the number in front of the florist shown after it, flowerSoft will make that florist the filling florist selection for the order.
Make sure you are viewing florist for the correct wire service.  In other words, if you are going to send the order via Teleflora, do not select a florist from the FTD list.

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If you select a florist using this option and the order is not already marked as an outgoing order, flowerSoft will make it one.

Tip #165 – Printing the Detail Lines of a “Long” Invoice


Tip #165
Printing the Detail Lines of a “Long” Invoice

As most of you know, flowerSoft only allows you to enter 5 line items on a regular invoice.

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This is sufficient for at least 90% of all the orders you take and it fits nicely on the invoice forms.

However,  sometimes you have more than 5 line items to enter and you need more room.
For those occasions, flowerSoft allows you to hit the F9 key and go into a “long” invoice.

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This type of invoice allows you to enter up to 9,999 line items and also allows you to give discounts on the total invoice amount or on each individual line.
To find out more about this type of invoice and the different type of discounts available, please see Tip #055 or click here http://wp.me/p24nOe-8x

Because of the amount of line items you can have on this type of invoice, the detail lines print on a separate piece of paper or more than one if necessary.

This post is meant to tell you how to print just the invoice detail lines, without having to print the invoice form itself.

When you first enter a “long” invoice, both the invoice form and the detail lines will print.  You can opt to not print the detail lines or the invoice form but normally, both of them print.

After the initial entry, however, you can print just the detail line by accessing the information one of two ways.

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The first way is by bringing up the invoice in Edit/View and pressing the letter “I”.

When you press “I” flowerSoft will display a popup with your available options…

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When you are looking at a “long” invoice, one of your options will be to hit “D” to print the detail of the invoice only, without printing the regular invoice.

The other option is to hit “L” to view the “long” invoice…

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Once the line items display, you have the option to hit “P” to print them.

Tip #164 – Cash and Carry Sales


Tip #164
Cash & Carry Sales

flowerSoft has always given you the ability to enter cash & carry orders by entering “999” in the Account Number field.  Although this has worked well and many of you use it constantly, it had one major flaw and that was that you could not keep track of a customer if you used this option.

You cannot capture the customer data when you enter a “999” order… until now.

Now flowerSoft gives you the ability to track cash and carry customers by the last 4 digits of their phone.

Let me show you how you can do this.  If you look at the bottom of the screen-shot below, you’ll see that flowerSoft now allows you to enter the last 4 digits of a customer’s phone number, as long as you precede it with an asterisk (*)

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When you enter and asterisk followed by 4 numbers, flowerSoft will know that you are trying to enter a cash and carry sale.

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If flowerSoft does not find a match for those 4 digits, it opens up a screen that will allow you to enter the customer’s name and address.

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It will also allow you to enter an e-mail address for the customer.

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After that, you can enter the cash and carry order as you normally would.

The difference is that now you have captured the customer’s name, address and e-mail address.  If the customer happens to come back to your shop and make a purchase in the future, flowerSoft will be able to bring up his or her information automatically.

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Another advantage is that his or her credit card information will be available, eliminating the need to re-enter the card information the next time he or she purchases from you.

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Just remember to enter the all important asterisk before the last 4 digits of the phone number.  This is what tells flowerSoft that you are entering just the last 4 digits of a phone # and not an account number.

Tip #163 – New Appointment Program


Tip # 163
New Appointment Program

A revamped appointment scheduler program is now available with flowerSoft Silver 2014.  Here are the new features…

First, we have a new menu.

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and a new input screen…

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The new program will check for conflicts after the “Appointment For”, “Appointment Date” and “From” fields are filled.
If a conflict is found, a screen displaying the conflicting appointment is displayed, but no other action is taken.  In other words, you can have conflicting appointments if you want.

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At any point during the input process, you can select to display other appointments for the employee selected by pressing the F8 key.  If no initials have been entered yet, the appointments for all the employees will be displayed.  Also note that you have additional options available for the appointment highlighted, such as view, delete and update.

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There is a 3-month calendar available by pressing the F3 key from any field on the form. there is also a field to enter an account number, if the customer has an account with you.

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There is also an account number field…

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If a valid account number is entered, flowerSoft will fill some of the remaining fields, like name, phone number and e-mail address (if available) but still give you the opportunity to change them if you must.

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As you can see above, there is also an “Occasion” field which allows you to define the reason for the appointment.

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There are also 3 lines to briefly describe the reason for the appointment.

The most significant improvement to the appointment calendar if the addition of an email reminder feature.
This new feature will allow you to send e-mail reminders to your customers starting at a pre-determined number of days before the appointment date.
The program defaults to 3 days prior and just 1 e-mail reminder, but you can change these settings at will. An e-mail reminder can only be sent once every day, unless you use the option to clear the “e-mail sent” flag from the file, which is available from the menu.
So if you enter that you want to start sending reminders 3 days prior the appointment date and then enter that you want to send a maximum of 6 reminders, flowerSoft will respond with…

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If at any time you select to view an existing appointment, flowerSoft will let you know when was the last time it sent an e-mail reminder to the customer and how many reminders have been sent.

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This is what the e-mail reminder to the customer will look like:

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The e-mail reminders are sent automatically, but only if you select to send them for each specific appointment by entering a “Y” in the “E-Mail Reminder?” field.
While this is the default for every reminder entered which is accompanied by an e-mail address, you always have the opportunity to enter “N” in that field.

You also have the option to send the e-mail remainders manually by selecting option R from the Appointments menu but remember that if the e-mail was already sent on that date, it will not be sent again unless you clear the e-mail sent flag through option C of the same menu.

If you want to send an e-maul reminder again just for a specific appointment, it is best to do it from the appointment record itself.
Just access the record via option E of the menu and when the record you want to send an e-mail reminder is in view, press the letter E and the e-mail will be sent again even if it has already been sent during the same day.

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and of course, a report can be printed for appointments recorded for one or all employees, for the selected date range.

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flowerSoft will give you a warning of an upcoming appointment…

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but only if you have the appointments warning enabled!

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If you have wedding or any other event consultation, you should start using the Appointment Calendar feature, and if you come up with some ideas for improvements (for this or any other program), please let me know.

Tip #162 – Improvements to Obits Feature


Tip #162
Improvement to
Obits Feature

This improvement comes to you as a result of a suggestion by Jaque Halverson of Brainerd Floral in beautiful Brainerd, Minnesota.

The obits feature is a great feature to use if you have the time to enter the obituaries for each day.  This, of course, would be very time-consuming if you are in a big city, but if you are in a smaller town you should use it.

To learn about the obits feature, take a look at Tip #003

Once obits have been entered, should you get an order for one of the entries in the obits file, flowerSoft will fill the recipient area with the obit information, as well as provide other visual information should you customer ask for it such as the starting time of the viewing, religion, etc., etc.

One thing flowerSoft did not do was fill the delivery date field.  The reason for that was that I did not think I could provide a fairly accurate date unless the order was  entered on the first or last day of the viewing.

However, Jaque’s suggestion made me realize that if the order is placed on or before the first viewing day, I could provide the delivery date by extracting the first viewing date from the obits file.  So now flowerSoft will be able to provide the delivery date when the order is entered on or before the first viewing day or on the last viewing day.   flowerSoft will not fill the delivery date field if the order is placed after the first viewing day and before the last viewing date, but in those cases you can just hit the <Enter> key from the field and get that day’s date.

So, thank you Jaque, for helping me improve flowerSoft.

Tip #161 – Updating Expired Credit Cards


Tip #161
Updating Expired Credit Cards

When a customer’s credit card becomes expired, flowerSoft will display it like this…

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At this point you can either hit U to update the highlighted credit card or hit <Enter> to select it.
If you hit <Enter> to select the credit card, flowerSoft will inform you that the card is expired and to either hit U to updated or X to select a different card.

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When you hut U to update the card, either after selecting it or before selecting it, flowerSoft will prompt you for the expiration date of the credit card.

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Enter the expiration date using numbers only, no slashes.  So a card that expires in December of 2018 should be entered as 1218.

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The next time the customer places an order, the credit card will have the correct expiration date.

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Please be aware that after an approval obtained with a credit card in which you just updated the expiration date, flowerSoft will  ask you to verify the last 4 digits of the credit card with the customer.

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This occurs because the bank does not return the credit card info and flowerSoft needs to make sure it has the correct last 4 digits of the credit card.

 

 

Tip #160 – Item Codes Database


Tip #160
Item Codes Database

Since we have been talking so much about item codes, I think I should include a tip on the item codes database.

The set name that the product was obtained from is show on the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
This does not mean that you are looking at the description code set database.  You are looking at records in the item codes database.  In this case, the “Teleflora Products” set name just indicates the name of the set this item was added from.

Changes made on this screen will not affect the records in the item description code database.

This is what the item description code screen looks like.

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Some of the available options are shown at the bottom of the screen, but other are not.  To view these additional options, hit the question (?) mark and flowerSoft will display the following screen.

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Hitting any of the shown keys will take you to that function.
For example, to assign or change the department number for an item, you would hit “N”.  To view the recipe, if one is available, you would hit “R”, and so on.