Posted by Rich on June 21, 2018

Compatibility Matrix for VISUAL ERP made easy

If you are considering a VISUAL upgrade or at the beginning stages of one - there's no doubt that you are navigating your way through system requirements and compatibilities.  All to determine whether your environment is "ready" for a VISUAL upgrade. 

Depending on how many supporting business applications you use with VISUAL, this can be a arduous task ⇒ reviewing release notes, manuals, calling on colleagues, forums, user groups, channel partner, Infor, etc.

Infor Xtreme Online Compatibility MatrixWell, Infor has actually made this process a little easier.  They've created an Online Compatibility Matrix tool which is available on Infor Xtreme.

This tool enables you to quickly determine what Infor products play well together as well as what versions of browsers, servers, O/S and other 3rd party software are supported.  Simply select the version of VISUAL you are planning to upgrade to - and you get the entire list which you can then export for further review

You can use this tool for any of Infor's products.

OnlineTool

Thanks for stopping by! If you liked this VISUAL NUGGET, you might consider
following me on twitter.
Posted by Rich on April 22, 2018

How to measure Customer Satisfaction and grow your business

Using VISUAL to manage customer satisfaction
So you managed to convert a prospect into a customer and an order - good stuff! 

Now what are you going to do to keep them as a customer?  One thing for sure is that you want to keep them happy.

Happy Customer = Profitable Customer

Building up loyalty fosters repeat business - which reduces the cost of sales in customer acquisitions.  Happy customers are also most likely to refer you to others; acting as your champion and bringing in more sales....bonus!

How do you know if your customers are happy? 

You need to measure it.

And after you measure it, you need to manage it

And then you need to report and act on it.

You may already have a process and methodology in place (or maybe not).  Either way, you can have VISUAL be part of the process and help facilitate and manage accordingly.

Let's walkthrough how we can do this with VISUAL ERP.

Let's say we want to measure our customer's satisfaction based on Price, Quality and Delivery on each sales order.  So after each shipment of an order, someone will follow up with the customer and have them rate the service based on Price, Quality and Delivery.  The customer can rate each as "Great", "Okay" or "Not Good".

Simple metrics - I leave it to you on what the definitions should be.

Now to configure VISUAL ERP, go in Customer Order Entry, and bring up the User Defined Field Maintenance window from the EDIT menu (Edit > Customizable UDFs...).

From there, you will want to click on the Insert Tab UDF toolbar icon (or select it from the EDIT menu).  We'll first start by adding the first customer satisfaction metric "Price".  Set the following parameters:

  • Data Type: select String List (which will contain the 3 possible values Great, Okay and Not Good)
  • Tab: enter "Customer Satisfaction" - this is the tab that will appear in the customer order header area
  • Label: enter "Price" - this is the caption of the first metric
  • Seq No: accept the default value
     

Customizable User Defined Field in VISUAL ERP

 

As mentioned earlier - Price can be either "Great", "Okay" or "Not Good" - so we will need to create a pre-defined List containing these values. 

Check the LIST checkbox on the right...and click on the SET LIST button.

In the following window, use the INSERT button to enter the 3 values.  You may notice in the screenshot - I also refer to a number range - so that customers can be asked to rate on a numbered scale too.  Again - your company's metric definitions may be different.

  

Customizable UDF String List in VISUAL ERP

Once you have created the above list.  Click Save to continue

You will want to repeat the above steps for the Quality and Delivery metrics (fields)

We'll also create an extra field to capture any additional information a customer may provide (a free form field). 

So, in the same manner as you did previously, click on the Insert Tab UDF toolbar icon and set the following parameters:

  • Data Type: select String
  • Tab: enter/select "Customer Satisfaction"
  • Label: enter "Comments"
  • Seq No: accept the default value
      

Adding a Custom UDF in VISUAL ERP

 

Your User Defined Field Maintenance window should now contain the 4 fields created (shown below).  Click on the Save toolbar icon to save everything to VISUAL - which will create these new fields to the Customer Order Enter user interface.

 

List of Customizable UDFs in VISUAL ERP

Your Customer Order Entry window should now have a "Customer Satisfaction" Tab in the header area - with the 4 fields we created.

Customer Satisfaction Metrics in VISUAL
Custom "Customer Satisfaction" Tab in Customer Order Entry window

So now you have a place to capture and maintain Customer Satisfaction at the customer order level.

Having a place to capture this information is great - BUT how can we ensure that someone from customer service will remember to follow through and contact the customer? 

Well, one way to help facilitate this is through using VISUAL's Workflow.

With Workflow, you can have VISUAL send an email reminder as well as create a task for customer service after the customer order has been shipped and closed

The workflow structure could look like this (simplified):

  Customer Satisfaction Workflow in VISUAL ERP

 

The above is one example on how you can leverage VISUAL's features and functions to measure and manage customer satisfaction.  I hope this get's you thinking on how you can incorporate something similar into your practice.

 

Posted by Rich on April 18, 2018

How to easily handle vendor deposits in VISUAL ERP

You can easily process vendor deposits in VISUAL - it's quite simple. 

But before you can do anything - you first need to configure VISUAL to allow for it.  To do this, add the following entry in Preference Maintenance

Vendor Deposits
Set EnableVendorDeposits =Y in the Visual Financials section

  OR, you can add the following to your VISUAL.ini file:

[Visual Financials]
EnableVendorDeposits=Y

Once done - you are good to go with the following steps to process a deposit.

Let's say your vendor requires a deposit of $6250 (half the value of the purchase) 

  1. First create the purchase order for the goods/service.

    VISUAL ERP Purchase Order

  2. Next, to record and process the deposit - create an AP voucher in the Payables Invoice Entry window. 

    Enter the respective vendor information in the header area.  Then insert a line item for the deposit as follows:
     
    ♦  Enter a description for the line in the Reference column (if needed)

    ♦  Enter the purchase order number in the Order ID column.
         A must for this to work!

    ♦  Enter a GL account to use in the G/L Account ID column - it should be a GL account where you want to manage deposits and prepayments. - Please don't use the default PO accrual GL account

    ♦  Enter the deposit amount in the Amount column.

    Vendor Invoice for Deposit

    Note - If you DO use the PO accrual GL account you will likely mess up your accruals when reconciling.

    Visual Accounting

  3. Save & Pay the deposit invoice as required
  4. When the goods/services have been received - do the PO receipt.

    Purchase Order Receipt

  5. Now when you receive the vendor invoice, proceed to voucher it in the Payables Invoice Entry window.  Use the F6 key to call up the receiver(s) associated with the purchase.  Select the appropriate receiver(s) and click OK.

    Purchase Order Receipts to Voucher

  6. VISUAL will populate the grid with the lines associated with the receipts - AS WELL AS add an additional line item for the deposit (or prepayment) as a deduction to the total amount owed.

    VoucherAppliedPrepayment


As I said - simple.

 

Posted by Rich on April 16, 2018

VISUAL Focus 2018 – The Premier Conference exclusively for VISUAL ERP Users

Visual Focus - Premier VISUAL Conference
Come October, hundreds of VISUAL users from far and wide, will be descending upon a little known place we all call Walt Disney World. 

And not necessarily to take in all the wonders of Disney, though that in itself is magical – but there to Connect, Communicate and Collaborate with others who have one thing in common – VISUAL ERP.

VISUAL Focus 2018 Conference is the “VISUAL” conference – created, organized and sponsored by 3 Infor Channel Partners – Visual South, BizTech and Synergy Resources – all with YOU in mind.

VISUAL Focus 2018 will be taking place October 21-24, 2018 – At Walt Disney World.

The 3 day VISUAL event where users come to work, share and be inspired - helping them get the most from their ERP investment. The event facilitates the exchange of information and ideas among users, expert ERP consultants, Channel Partners and Infor representatives

There’s tons going on at this conference, among them being:

  • Over 130 sessions and workshops, including 30 brand new sessions.
  • In-depth, hands-on Workshops – 2-hour workshops with your own virtual VISUAL image collaborating with consultants and other users
  • One-on-one consulting sessions. Bring your issues and challenges to our experts.  Or dive deeper into topics not covered in sessions.
  • Vendors with products that complement VISUAL’s functionality.
  • Networking opportunities. You will be surrounded by hundreds of other VISUAL users, consultants, partners and Infor representatives.

I’ve been to many VISUAL conferences in the past – and what I enjoy most is everything in between.

Yes - the sessions and workshops are awesome and the organized events are spectacular. But, for me, it’s the meeting of people, face-to-face - in those spontaneous interactions, talking VISUAL and sharing ideas in the hallway; on the way to the next session; during lunch; at the hotel bar; waiting in line to meet Mickey (ok maybe not then).

If you’ve never been to one of these conferences and are considering it – I encourage you to GO!  In fact, you should bring your co-workers too - it's impossible to attend everything yourself.  You won’t regret it and neither will your company. These conferences are amazing – not only for the sessions, workshops and networking opportunities – but for the inspiration and motivation that it generates - it's highly contagious

Am I drinking too much from the Kool-Aid...hmmm…maybe…it sure is darn good! :-)

More information can be found on the official website - VISUAL Focus 2018

Early Bird discounts run through until the end of April!

  

Posted by Rich on April 10, 2018

SmartViews: Self Service Reporting Tool for VISUAL

Infor VISUAL ERP - SmartViews Reporting
Being in the VISUAL space, I'm sure you've heard talk over the years on Synergy's SmartViews.  And you’re likely already aware of the features and benefits – among them being:

  • Dynamic and Self-Service Reporting Tool
  • Access to Real-Time Information
  • 25+ Pre-Built “Best-in-Class” Strategic and Tactical Analytics to drive growth
  • Intuitive Interface
  • Pivot Tables, Slice and Dice, Drag ‘n Drop
  • Trend analysis
  • Dashboards upon dashboards
  • Charts and more charts
  • Database expertise NOT required
  • Automated Report Delivery system

A reporting tool....on overdrive....with features so easy that anyone can report, analyze and act on the data.

There are specifically 2 things I like best with SmartViews:

  1. It’s Self-Serving

    SmartViews was built for self-service with its’ intuitive interface and easy drag and drop analytics creation.  You can hand over the keys to your end users – and let them have at it.  Slice, Dice, Drag, Drop, Filter, Sort, Chart – whatever the combination.

    And when they’re all done – they can save it and share it.

    Think about it…

    With users creating and modifying their own reports, you will significantly reduce the burden placed on your in-house (or external) reporting expert.  No waiting for reports to be created or modified. 

    People should be empowered to interact with data with a user-friendly application, creating reports that they need and not what someone else understood them to be.    
  2. VISUAL Hooks

    Obviously, SmartViews is plugged into the VISUAL database to provide the analytics, but it can also be configured to dynamically interact with the system.  Meaning – you can automatically open VISUAL and retrieve relating information depending on your selection in SmartViews.

    For example, suppose you have a Bill of Material for a fabricated item, you can set it up so that when you select a material line item of the BOM in SmartViews – it will call up the Part ID in VISUAL’s Material Planning Window to determine whether there’s sufficient supply compared to demand.  You can easily click through your exploded BOM for supply and demand info in the Material Planning Window.  This is a good example on ways to streamline and reduce time you spend in and out of the Material Planning Window – your planners know exactly what I mean here.

    This is just a simple example of the many (many) ways you can leverage VISUAL Hooks in SmartViews.


Are you interested in "seeing" it and not so much "reading" it? 
Hit me up for a demo

You can also find additional information on SmartViews here.

 

Posted by Rich on March 5, 2018

Be an Influencer - and be part of VISUAL's roadmap into the future

Over the past weekend - Infor made available the latest release to VISUAL 9 - we're now sitting at version 9.0.3.  This is the 3rd minor release of VISUAL 9 and part of Infor's Quarterly Release Cycle.  You can download the latest from InforXtreme.

As expected, each release includes patch fixes to address known bug issues, but it also includes enhancements and new features and functions.  All of which are detailed in the release notes - and you should always read before actually applying the update in your environment.

Looking over the notes from the last 3 minor releases - I found something very interesting.  Over 65% of the enhancements came from requests from the customer base.

Majority of the Enhancements Are Initiated
by the VISUAL User Community

  Infor VISUAL ERP - Enhancement User Community

 

This is good stuff.

You do have a voice.  And you can use it to influence the roadmap of VISUAL.

Who better to collaborate with in the development of VISUAL - then the users themselves!?!  Their in-depth knowledge and use of VISUAL in real world scenarios are invaluable to Infor.

So, if you have a wish list or an idea- which would put VISUAL over the top and make things easier for the masses...

then be the "Influencer" and submit it to the folks at Infor

Infor is listening.....So don't hold back!

Submit your requests on InforXtreme or work with your VISUAL User Group in your region and submit as a group.

 

Posted by Rich on February 22, 2018

Using Notifications to keep your customers and vendors up to date on their orders - and your internal staff too!

VISUAL's email capabilities have been further enhanced in Version 9 with the introduction of Notifications.  In fact, it should be noted that VISUAL's entire email system has been updated and now works with multiple email systems including Office365, Gmail, Thunderbird, etc. 

For those of you using Workflow to send emails - this is awesome news.  Workflow and emails were sometimes a hit and miss depending on your environment - and a PITA to troubleshoot!

So, Notifications in VISUAL allows you to communicate updates to your customers and vendors on:

  • when a New Order is entered;
  • when there is a Change Order, and/or
  • when there's a Shipment/Receipt on the order.

These notifications can ALSO be sent to people within your company as well - think of notifying...

  • salesperson of shipments
  • production/planning department of order changes
  • accounting of an invoice payment of a large order

And all of this can all be done automatically and behind the scenes.

Notifications can be set globally at the customer and vendor level as well as at the order level.

In the Customer Order Entry window, under the Notifications tab in header area - you can indicate whether notifications should be processed. 
 

Infor VISUAL ERP - Order Notification

 

You can also bring up the following window by selecting Order Notifications under the EDIT menu:
 

Infor VISUAL ERP - Email Notification


Notifications to your customers and vendors will always be sent to the contact tied to the specific order.  Internal communications (your employees) are specified in the window above (right area) or can be set globally at the customer and vendor level. 

To set these parameters at the customer and vendor level - look for the Notifications option under the MAINTAIN menu of the respective module (Customer Maintenance/Vendor Maintenance)

The amount of details in these notifications are entirely up to you and can be easily configured - using templates.  Managing these templates can be done in the Notification Maintenance window, which can be found under the ADMIN menu
 

Infor VISUAL ERP - Notification Maintenance

 
You will notice across the top are the various templates particular to the notification type (business event) - ie: customer order, purchase order, shipment, receipt, etc. 

The right area lists all the available tokens (placeholders) to personalize the content of the notification.  These tokens will be replaced with content from your data of the related document when the email is created.

The main area of the window allows you to define the content for:

  • Subject Line
  • Header Message
  • Line Details
  • Footer Message

Once set - you are good to go.  It's another option to keep everyone apprised of what's going on - externally and internally.

  

Posted by Rich on February 13, 2018

How to Dynamically Interact with VISUAL from another application

There are many options and paths you can take to integrate VISUAL to your other business applications.  Some are easy, and some are not so easy.... some may involve 3rd party integration tools/services and some may require custom programming with APIs and BODs. 

However, there is one way where Infor couldn't make it any easier to integrate....

 Infor VISUAL ERP - Integration

...using a VMX file!

Yup!  That's right, a VMX file....but a "special" VMX file 

I written posts in the past on VMX files....in fact, I wrote one a couple of weeks ago where you can use a VMX as a way to have VISUAL start up with your default windows after signing in.

In this case, we can use a VMX file to interact/interface with VISUAL from another application.  It involves creating a VMX file on the fly based on end-user contextual request on demand...I may have made that terminology up...lol...not sure if that really means what I trying to explain.

Here's an example...

You could have an excel file with a list of parts where you can click on a cell containing a Part ID to call up VISUAL's Material Planning Window for the demand and supply of that specific part - without having to leave Excel.  This can be done behind the scenes using simple (more or less) VBA code that creates the VMX file and executes it.

Here's a visual of it in action

Infor VISUAL ER{P - Integration
Double Click on Image for a better visual.


Let me walk you through it

We're going to create an Excel file with a list of parts that when you select a cell/row - it will open VISUAL Material Planning Window for that specific part.

Now I'm using Excel for my walk through - because it's easy and everyone uses Excel.  But you can do this with any application where you can program simple code to create a VMX file based on user input.

Assuming we are on VISUAL 9 - (if you are not on Visual 9 - why aren't you?)

  1. Create an Excel File containing a list of parts with the following columns:
    • Column A: Site ID (required)
    • Column B: Part ID (required)
    • Column C: Description
    • Column D: UM
    • Column E: Qty

  2. Be sure to populate the list with parts starting on Row 2
  3. Open the Visual Basic module of Excel (under the Developer Tab).  If you don't have the Developer Tab - you will need to enable it - go to File > Options.
  4. Insert the following code in the SelectionChange event/procedure of the worksheet.

    Private Sub Worksheet_SelectionChange(ByVal Target As Range)

    Dim VMPath As String
    Dim VMXPath As String
    Dim PartID As String
    Dim SiteID As String

    'Path to your VISUAL executable file - VM.EXE
    VMPath = "{VISUAL Executable Directory}\VM.exe"

    'Path to where you want to create your VMX file. You would typlically want
    'this to be in your VISUAL local directory
    VMXPath = "{local Directory Path}\VISUAL.VMX"

    If Selection.Count = 1 Then

       If Target.Row > 1 Then
          Set objShell = VBA.CreateObject("Wscript.shell")

          PartID = Range("B" & Target.Row).Value
          SiteID = Range("A" & Target.Row).Value

          'Create the VMX file to open VISUAL Material Planning Window
          Set filesys = VBA.CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
          Set filetxt = filesys.CreateTextFile(VMXPath, True)
          filetxt.WriteLine ("LSASTART")
          filetxt.WriteLine ("VMPLNWIN~" & SiteID & "~" & PartID)
          filetxt.Close

          'Drilldown into VISUAL using VMX file
          objShell.Exec ("""" & VMPath & """ """ & VMXPath & """")
          objShell.AppActivate ("Material Planning Window - Infor VISUAL")

          'Focus back to Excel
          Application.Wait (Now + TimeValue("0:00:02"))
          AppActivate ThisWorkbook.Application.Caption
       End If

    End If

    End Sub


    It may look like a lot of code....but it's not.

    Be sure to replace directory highlighted in RED to your environment.
  5. You can exit out of the Visual Basic module and return to Excel.
  6. You are good to go.

Click away on any row with a part and you should see VISUAL dynamically respond.

If the above steps are too involved....you can download the example excel file for your convenience

Let me know what you think.
  

 

WHO IS VISUALNUGGETS?

Rich Ferlatte
Results Driven VISUAL Specialist

CONSULTING SERVICES

Of course, I am available for hire!

ERP Implementations & Upgrades
Analytics & Reporting
Integrations & Macros
General VISUAL Support

ONLINE VISUAL WORKSHOPS

Taking it to the next level and designing a program around "Hands On VISUAL Training".

Check them out - there's sure to be one to interest you!

Operational Workshops
Reporting Workshops
Financial Workshops
Inventory Workshops
Quality Workshops

VISUAL EXTENSIONS

BOM Xploder
Drastically improve your BOM visibility and discover shortages at ANY level of your bill of material no matter how deep.
SmartViews
See, analyze, and track information that helps you better support individual, departmental, and your company’s performance metrics and goals.
eBoard - Financial Power App
Developed for accounting professionals looking for powerful and easy-to-use GL reporting software. Access live financial data, drill down to support details and export financial statements to Excel in one click.
Inventory App
This Inventory Reconciliation App provides a systematic approach to control and manage your Visual inventory effectively and efficiently
Credit Card Integration
Easily accept and process credit card payments right from within VISUAL.
ACH Document Processing
Leveraging VISUAL's payment scheduling and batch payment functions, with the added convenience, performance, and security of Electronic Funds Transfer payment processing.
Sales Tax Automation with AvaTax
Easily automate sales and use tax in VISUAL with AvaTax. No more manually entering data or uploading rate tables and tax information.
Workforce Management with Kebrite Solutions
Streamlines the collection of Job, Labor, Payroll, Time & Attendance, and a vast array of HR related data-- with live VISUAL integration.