Category Archives: Dispatcher Functions

Tips useful to the dispatcher

Tip #199 – Re-sending Order and Delivery Confirmations


Tip #199
Re-Sending Order and Delivery Confirmations

I was asked today how to do this, so here it is for all of you to enjoy.

Every once in a while you will need to re-send an order or a delivery confirmation or even just a copy of an invoice or a text message.  Here is how to do it.

Follow this path from the main menu: O > E and bring up the order you need to re-send a confirmation for.
While viewing the order on the screen, press the letter to display the available options shown below…

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Select the option you want and then select the email address you want to send it to…

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That’s it.  3 keystrokes.  I wonder how long would it take to do the same thing in a graphical environment.

Also note that one of the options available is to look at the email history for the order.  This will let you know when and to which email addresses the confirmations have been sent to.

Tip #180


Tip #180
Printing Timed Deliveries

I got the following e-mail today…

“Hey G-Man,
I am trying to tell FS to find all the deliveries marked AM for 02 14 2014.
Can’t seem to get it right.  How bout a MAP.”

I figured maybe some others might be looking for the same thing.
Here is the map…
D > A > 6 or 7

Visually…
timed06
timed05
timed04timed03timed02timed01
Please note that the report only shows ‘timed” deliveries, meaning orders that have something entered in the delivery date field.  Specifically, the Print Today’s AM Deliveries will only select sales records of orders containing AM in the delivery time field.
AM, BEF. 10AM and even AFT. 10AM will be selected because they all contain AM in the delivery time field.

Likewise, the Today’s PM Deliveries report will select any orders containing PM in the delivery time field.

Also note that even though both menu selections read “Print Today’s…”, you can answer “N”o to the …timed03

and then select a range of dates.

Again, deliveries with an empty delivery time field will NOT be selected by either report.

Tip #177 – Temp. Drivers


Tip #177
Temporary Drivers
A lot of you hire temp drivers with their own vehicles to do deliveries during Valentine’s week.  A lot of you also pay those drivers based on a fee per individual delivery, either as a set amount or as a percentage of the delivery charge.
This post will show you how to set up those drivers in the Employee file so that flowerSoft can keep track of  their deliveries.
First, enter the temp driver into the employee file as if they were a new permanent employee.
You have to give them a login name even if they are not going to be logging into the system.
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Make sure you enter an “N” in the Manager’s status field.  You do not need to enter anything else on this screen if you do not want to.  Hit <Page Down> to access the pay information screen.
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Select one of the 2 methods available to pay the driver.
The first one is a set amount per delivery, while the other one is a percentage of the delivery charge on the order.
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At this point, you can hit F9 to save the record.  No other information needs to be entered.

To calculate how much you should pay the driver after he or she has made the deliveries, you have to make sure you have entered the driver’s initials into each order they have delivered.
You can enter the driver’s initials into an order several ways.  The easiest way is by requesting route & delivery sheets.  This logs the driver’s initials into the orders automatically.
If you do not use route & receipt forms then you have to enter the driver’s initials into the order by pressing “D” while in Edit/View orders.
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Please note that if the designer’s initials are not recorded, flowerSoft will first ask you to enter the designer’s initials.

To calculate how much you owe each temp. driver, go to the Employee operations of the Manager’s menu and select the “Commissioned Agents” option.
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From there, select the “Print Driver Commissions Report” option.
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Then select the time period and initials for driver desired…
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and you will get a report similar to this one…
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Each temp. driver’s earnings report prints on a separate page, so you can give to driver for his records.

Tip #174 – Valentine’s Madness Help


Tip #174
Valentine’s Madness Help

I know you all started getting ready for the Valentine’s Day onslaught already.
As you do every year, you probably already placed your flower orders, looked to hire temp help for that week, made sure your fridge is in good working condition, etc. etc.
Yet, every year you swear you are quitting the flower business during that week.
I have never worked in a flower shop, so I really have never had that experience but I have been in several flower shops on February 13th and 14th and have seen the chaos first hand.
All I can offer help with is flowerSoft, so I’ve added a feature that may save you lots of time and aggravation on Valentine’s Day.
On of the more time-consuming task you and your employees have to perform is sending delivery confirmations.
If you use flowerSoft’s route & receipt forms, you have access to a fairly simple and fast way of indicating which deliveries have been completed and which ones have not.
If you do not use the route & receipt forms then the task is a lot more difficult and time consuming.  When you make 200-300 deliveries in one day, the delivery confirmation task can be overwhelming.

Enter the new “Log-in deliveries by scanning” flowerSoft feature.
What is this new feature that is going to save me hours of work if I choose to use it?
Let me explain.
For many years flowerSoft has had a barcode option.  What this barcode option does is print a barcode representation of the invoice number on the invoice form and on some reports such as route & receipt forms.
This option may be turned off in your system, so if you want to use this new feature you will have to turn it on.  You can find the option in the “Operating Defaults” option of the Manager’s menu.
dcscan11When you turn this option on, flowerSoft will start printing barcodes on the invoice forms and route & receipt forms.
dcscan12If you do not use the route & receipt option, then your drivers will come back with stacks of signed delivery tickets.  You will need to use these tickets to tell flowerSoft that the orders have been delivered and signed by the recipient.  Without the barcode option this task can take hours of your time when you do not have any to spare.
With the barcode option in place, the task can take just a few minutes of your time or one of your employees.  Here is how…

First, let’s talk about what you will need to do.  We already talked about turning on the barcode option, so that the barcodes start displaying on the invoices.  You will also need a barcode scanner.
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If you do not have one, you will need to buy one.  You do not need to buy a very expensive one.  You should be able to get one for under $100. It has to be a usb scanner so that you can connect it to one of your computer.  Cordless scanners are a lot more expensive than corded ones and I don’t think you need one to scan the delivery tickets when they come back signed by the recipient.
That is the only piece of equipment that you need to buy if you do not already have.
So what do you do when the signed tickets start coming in?  This is what.
First, let me start by saying that there are some compromises that have to be made.  When you use the route & receipt form to log-in your deliveries, you have the opportunity to enter specific information for each order you’ve delivered, as you can see below.
dcscan14All these options are great but it does take a little time to enter each delivery and when you have hundreds coming in, you simply do not have enough time to do them one at a time.
When you scan the deliveries from the barcode, you do not have the option to specify the specific delivery time, you have to enter an approximate time that will be used for all the deliveries you scan at any one time.  You also cannot specify the name of the person who signed for the order.  flowerSoft will automatically retrieve the first name of the recipient and use it for the signature.  You also do not get to specify the initials of the delivery driver if you do the deliveries for more than one driver at a time.  You only get to enter one set of initials as you will see below.  Those are the 3 compromises you have to make.
So how do we start scanning the invoices?  Here is how…
dcscan01From the Dispatcher’s menu, select the L – Log-in Deliveries Made
dcscan02From that option, select the S – Log-in Deliveries by Scanning
dcscan03flowerSoft will assign a control number and display this screen for you to fill…
Note that you only get to enter one set of driver’s initials, one delivery date and one delivery time.
The “Signed By” field should be left blank if you want flowerSoft to retrieve the name of the recipient from the order itself.  If you want to enter something else in that field, you are free to do so (such as signature on file) but remember that whatever you enter in that field will be used for all the deliveries you scan at one time.
You can then use your barcode scanner to start scanning the invoice numbers of the deliveries made.  As you scan each invoice number, flowerSoft will display that number in the green bar below.
dcscan05If you scan an invoice that has been previously scanned in the same control number set, flowerSoft will respond with…
dcscan15and will not let you scan it again.
If flowerSoft finds that you have previously scanned the invoice but on a different control number set, it will respond with…
dcscan16If you answer “Yes”, flowerSoft will allow the invoice to be scanned again.
Once you have finished scanning all the tickets you have on hand, you must hit the F9 key to save the information and exit the program.
If you hit the Esc key to get out of the application, flowerSoft will respond with…
dcscan06If you respond with a “Y”, telling flowerSoft that you really want to Abort the process, the delivery records for the orders scanned will not be updated with the delivery information supplied, it will delete all the scanned records for that control number set and the e-mail confirmations will not be sent.
So make sure to hit F9 to exit the application and save the delivery information to the delivery records.
dcscan07
Route & Receipt forms limit you to 30 deliveries per form, but there is no limit on the number of invoices you can scan using one control number.  You can literally scan hundreds of delivery tickets at one sitting if you want to.
If you rather keep the deliveries for each driver separate, make sue you use the F9 key when you are done scanning the one driver before you start scanning the deliveries for the next one.  This will make flowerSoft give you a new control number and a fresh screen to enter the driver’s initials, delivery date and time.
dcscan08After you finish one set of deliveries, you can use the option to e-mail the delivery confirmations for those orders.
dcscan09This option will only send delivery confirmations for the orders scanned through this new option.  Deliveries recorded using a different method will not be selected.
dcscan10Note that flowerSoft will only send delivery confirmations for the accounts that have provided you with e-mail addresses.  So even though you may have scanned a much larger number of invoice numbers, flowerSoft will only report the actual number of delivery confirmations that were sent.

As this is a brand new feature, I am looking for volunteers to start trying this out and work out any bugs that may exist or features that need to be added.
Hopefully then, it will be perfect for the big holiday.
So if you are willing to help, let me know and I’ll install the option in your system.  Please be aware that you must either already have a barcode scanner or be willing to purchase one.

Thanks!

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…

dz12

dz13

dz14dz15

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

dz16

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.

dz17dz18

dz19

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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dz21

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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…

dz24dz25

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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…

dz08

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.

dz05

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…

dz01

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

dz02

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 #131 – If You Are a New flowerSoft User…


Tip #131
Best advice I can ever give you

If you are not familiar with a function, always read the bottom 4 lines of the screen.

A lot of time and effort is spent supplying those prompts to make it easier for you, the user, to understand what flowerSoft is expecting you to do.

Don’t be afraid to experiment.  Use account # 1111111.000 for testing purposes. Whatever you do using that account, does not count as a real order.

Train new employees using this test account.  It is just like a real account except that flowerSoft ignores anything with the 1111111.000 account number when generating reports and calculating sales taxes.

Tip #124 – Delivery Confirmations


Tip #124
Delivery Confirmations

flowerSoft gives you 2 very different ways of sending delivery confirmations, but both ways have 1 thing in common and that is that you must tell flowerSoft that you have delivered the order.

The recommended way of generating delivery confirmations is from the Dispatcher’s menu.
Here is how:

First, generate route & receipt forms for your deliveries.

delconf01

Next, you or your driver must log in the deliveries from the route & receipt form.

delconf02

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After you record all your deliveries, select the D – Delivery Confirmations from the Dispatcher’s menu and select the option you want.

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Here is how one of those delivery confirmations look like…

delconf10

That is the recommended way to do delivery confirmations.  However, some of you do not have the time or are not big enough to run route & receipt forms and log your deliveries that way.
For those of you, flowerSoft gives an alternate way of recording the deliveries.
Here is how…

If you want the delivery confirmation to show the delivery date, time and person who accepted the order, bring up the order you have delivered, hit the letter D and the following options will appear

delconf05
Select option 2 Add/Updt. Delivery Information.
The following screen will display…

delconf06

Update the delivery information as necessary.

If all you want to do is send the customer an email indicating that the order was delivered, bring up the order using the Edit/View option of the Orders menu.
Once you have the order on the screen, hit the letter E to display the e-mail options and then select option #2. Delivery Confirmation

delconf07

If the customer has an e-mail address on file, flowerSoft will send the delivery confirmation to that address.  If there is no e-mail address on file, flowerSoft will ask you to enter the e-mail address.

Here is what these email confirmations look like:

delconf08

delconf09

Remember that you can also attach a file to the email, so if you want to you can send your customer a picture of what the arrangement looked like.

Tip #112 – Routing Your Deliveries (Cont.)


Tip #112
Routing Your Deliveries (Cont.)

Now, some of you do not use the route & receipt forms flowerSoft can generate for you.  WHy?  I don’t know.  If you do your own deliveries, you should be using the route & receipt forms not only to route your deliveries but also to indicate orders have been delivered and enabling the sending of delivery confirmations to FTD and Teleflora.

Being as it may, still some of you do not use that flowerSoft function.  So here is another way to route your deliveries.

Follow this path: D > A > L > and you’ll end up here:

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From this menu, select option #1 to view today’s deliveries or #7 to view tomorrow’s deliveries.  When you select one of those options, the following screen will be displayed:

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From here, select option #1 – All Orders and then the following will be displayed:

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Notice the prompt reading A-Add to Map.
Highlight and hit A to select the orders you want to route.  Each time you hit A on a highlighted order, a check mark will appear under the MAP? column.
To un-select an order, highlighted and hit A again.  So the A work as a toggle switch for selecting and un-selecting orders to be included in the map.

rr33

Once you finish selecting all the orders you want to route, press either G to go to Google Maps or M to go to MapQuest.

For Mapquest follow the directions outlined in Tip #111 (Ctrl + A, Ctrl +C, Alt +F4 and the paste into text box area)

rr36 rr35

Please note that MapQuest and probably Google also have a limit of 26 addresses that can be mapped.  This includes the start and end addresses (your shop) and is probably because there are only 26 letters in the alphabet.  flowerSoft allows to enter up to 30 order addresses in a route & receipt form.