User eNotes - June 2020

Presidents Comments

Rod Hatcher
We had an interesting experience with a new ALERE client that I thought I would share with you. This client was a veteran of competitive ERP systems, both large and small, before arriving at ALERE. She called for explanations about several functions that ALERE was performing. In most cases her insights were correct and she was only asking for validation, as she had not encountered these features in other systems.

Then, the conversation took a left turn. It is always amusing when a particular function of ALERE, that is taken for granted, suddenly appears to have unreal qualities to someone else. We are all comprised of a lifetime of different experiences and what is really important to you may not even rise to awareness in another. In this case, a utility in ALERE called Reconcile Balances rang that bell for her! After explaining what the utility did, she replied, “That’s magic!” How do you reply to that?

I am gratified she likes ALERE and hope she will have many years of productive use. Just in case you are wondering what Reconcile Balances does, an article has been included in this newsletter as an explanation.

Reconcile Balances Magic!

One or more of the many tables that ALERE uses to store information can occasionally contain errors. This inconsistent data may be generated by a hardware glitch, a network being incorrectly configured, an uncontrolled power fluctuation, etc. The errors may reveal themselves as data that does not seem to add up correctly or is missing. A significant amount of time and effort can be invested in trying to track down and pinpoint these errors.

ALERE has been provided with a utility, called Reconcile Balances, whose purpose is to check that amounts in the various internal tables are consistent.
Reconcile Balances Screen
The process starts by building a list of errors using the Build button. The Reconcile Balances screen displayed shows the results that are found after the process reviews the tables. The number of errors uncovered is listed (circled in red on the above screen) for each table. The details of the errors and what will be done to correct them, can be documented by using the Print button or reviewed with the Screen button.

ALERE can be used to correct the errors by using the Fix button. Once fixed, the build process is run again to validate that the errors have been corrected. Some errors may require the reconcile balances process to the repeated more than once to drill down through layers of errors to finally resolve them. In the end, all tables should have a status of Passed.

Many who first witness this process in action consider it magic! We call it ALERE.

Drop Shipments

A drop shipment takes place when a company takes the title of the product but does not actually handle, stock, or deliver it to the customer. Instead, the supplier receives instructions to ship directly to the company's customer. In ALERE, sales orders handle drop shipments.

There are four, possibly five, items to be addressed when preparing to handle drop shipments.

  • In inventory on the Item tab screen check the item attribute Drop Ship check box for any items that can be dropped shipped.
  • At a minimum, also check the Purchase and Sellable boxes.
  • Assign a location to use as a default for the item on the inventory Location tab.
  • Add any suppliers that can handle a drop shipment for the item on the Supplier tab.
  • If a company uses permissions to create accepted drop ship purchase orders, then assign them the appropriate permission. The permission type is PFAO.

Use the Line Items tab on a sales order to enter orders for drop ship items. This permits the Ship ID and Ship Locn of the supplier fulfilling the drop ship order to be designated. Items being drop shipped are labeled, clearly in red, as illustrated on the screen below.

Start by entering the account from which the funds will be taken. Choose the Transfer (circled in red) radio button and enter a reference and an amount. The GL Journal Entry screen is displayed when the Post button is clicked.
Sales Order Drop Ship Note
A purchase order for the item can be created and automatically emailed to the supplier when it is released on the sales order. The purchase order contains the customer shipping address.

Even though drop ship items do not move through inventory, their activity is captured. They will show up on the Log of Activity and Future Activity screens and on any usage and analysis reports. General ledger postings for drop shipments will be made to accommodate the slightly different path than standard sales items because no physical inventory moves through the company. Other accounts, such as sales discounts and shipping, are added in the normal fashion.

Export to Excel

Often there is the desire to take the information generated by an ALERE report and perform further calculations on it. Sometimes a certain format is required by a company to meet special report requirements. Then, there are the occasions when data from different reports or sources need to be combined for the information to be visible. Since the most common vehicle for these various requirements is Excel, all of the reports in ALERE have an Export button to convert into to Excel.
Export Invoice to Excel
The Export button will create a spreadsheet, in XLS or XLXS file type, which can be opened and edited in Microsoft Excel. It is automatically compatible with the 64-bit version of Excel. The information will be exported even if Excel is not installed on the workstation. The file automatically names and stores in a default location. However, both can be changed to allow full control over what to call the file and where to store it.

When exporting a report the formatting and grouping are not exported. Any calculations made by the report will therefore not be present. This method of exporting is followed because it allows the data to be manipulated. If the report were to be exported in a formatted manner, as is done when the report is printed, the data would be all placed into one cell on the spreadsheet and the ability to edit it would be lost.

Having the ability to export any report to Excel greatly enhances report functionality.

Technical Seminars - Your Source of Training

Due to concerns of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have canceled the July in-person training session.

TIW's next Technical Seminars in Easton, PA will be held in October.

The Manufacturing Seminar will be held October 26th and 27th.

The Accounting Seminar will be held October 28th through October 30th.

Invest in yourself and keep your knowledge of ALERE up to date!

Make your reservations now at Technical Seminar Reservations or by calling Chris at 610-258-5161 x105. Current users on SMAs have certificates that entitle them to a free seat in a seminar.

Send employees to recurring training to educate them on how to use the new features in a just released version. Use it as comprehensive training for new additions to your staff to familiarize them with the capabilities of ALERE. Don't let that free seminar seat go to waste!
TIW Technology, Inc. | Phone: 610.258.5161 | Fax: 610.258.6217