User eNotes - April 2021

Presidents Comments

Rod Hatcher
Development work is underway on ALERE v17.0 and I would like to share with you a couple of new features/functions that are planned for it. The most prominent item will be the introduction of a Job Cost Module.

The mission of Job Cost is to connect sales orders, purchase orders, work orders, and service tickets together under the umbrella of one Job where costs and progress can be managed and monitored. This includes handling multiple purchase order quotes for items, then reviewing and choosing the desired quotes. Development work laid the internal foundation for job cost with the release of ALERE v16.0; v17.0 will see its introduction.

In another area, additional development work will expand the capabilities of the Shopify integration. This will take the form of using ALERE to upload new products and images to Shopify.

One other improvement will be work done to expand ATP (Available-To-Promise) information. This will be done by embedding hyperlinks to the Item MRP Planning process that is found in the Plan Module. These links will be found in the sales order entry process and within the Inventory Item Master screen.

This is just a taste of what is going into v17. I will keep you informed of our progress as work in Development continues.

Virtual Training Classes

With the ongoing pandemic making travel and large meetings difficult, if not impossible over the last year, face-to-face Technical Training Seminars have been sidelined. Understanding the importance of training to the successful implementation of ALERE, a new program is under development.
Virtual Training
The plan is to introduce a series of scheduled virtual classrooms using GoToMeeting. Each meeting will run from one to three hours. We anticipate 15 sessions will be required to cover all of ALERE. Each class will be recorded and published to the TIW web site.

The dates and syllabus for each of the virtual Technical Training Seminars will become available in the near future. At that time you can choose which ones you would like to attend and register for them.

The training will be free for all companies with a current SMA. There will be a nominal charge per session for those without an SMA.

As each virtual Technical Training Seminar is completed and recorded, it will be made available for offline instruction at your convenience. The videos will remain free for companies with a current SMA. Companies or individuals without an SMA may purchase access to the Technical Training Seminar library.

Selecting the HTML Manual on Work Stations checkbox on the ALERE Company Defaults screen Options tab will automatically update it on the local work stations upon starting the package.


During the sales process most companies want to know how many of an item they have on hand in inventory and how many of them are allocated. Often, they also want to know an Available-To-Promise quantity, meaning how many additional items are expected to be available from all sources, such as purchase order or work orders.

An easy way to find the available-to-promise for an item during the sales process is to click on the item, to make it the focus of the search, and then open the ALERE Master screen. On the lower right side of the screen there is a shaded box that keeps a running total of key inventory quantities for Allocated items, On Order items, and Available items. The Available number is the available-to-promise quantity.
Inventory Master Available Values
There are two important things to know when looking at the number. First, just as the On Hand quantity on the Item Master screen represents the sum of On Hand quantities at all locations, the Available quantity is the sum at all locations. By going to the Location tab and choosing a location, you can see the Available number for a location.

Second, the available-to-promise quantity does not tell you when the items will become available. To find that information you will need to run the Item MRP Planning report in the Plan module. That report can be run for the location the item is to be shipped from and will show a running balance for it by date.

Knowing the available-to-promise quantity can be a powerful piece of information in a sale environment, but it is tempered by having to also know from which location and in what time frame. ALERE can readily provide those answers!

Scrapping Work-In-Process

Almost every manufacturer has to deal with scrap at some point. APICS defines scrap as “Material outside of specifications and of such characteristics that rework is impractical.” In ALERE, when scrap is encountered on a work order, it is recorded using the MS (Material Scrap) transaction.
Almighty Chrome
Scrapping material is done on the Transaction tab of a work order. You can scrap material being used to manufacture the finished good or the part(s) being manufactured. You can even scrap material not issued to the work order because it may represent an intermediate assembly or byproduct that was being built. The cost of material scrapped on a job remains in WIP and becomes part of the cost per unit of the finished goods. Material that is defective and can be returned is not scrap. Instead, use an MR (Material Return) transaction to remove it from the order and issue another one.

Usually the MS transaction is followed by an MI (Material Issue) transaction to issue additional material to the job to replace scrapped components

When a finished good is scrapped the value of it can be either the amount you assign or the calculated amount for the item based on its accumulated WIP. The projected finished good quantity is reduced when permission is given. An IP (In Process) transaction is done automatically to reduce the quantity when using data collection.

This article only lightly covers the breadth of options and choices that are available when scrapping work-in-process material.

Reconcile Balances

Anyone that has used computers for any length of time has experienced inexplicable data loss or corruption. It can be infuriating because it often occurs when you least expect it and for no apparent reason.

ALERE is a large, complex ERP system and is not immune to the occasional computer error. A problem could be subtle and not readily noticeable. Due to ALERE’s architecture, it is possible to trap errors in the various internal tables and correct them using a utility called Reconcile Balances.
ALERE's Reconcile Balances Screen
Reconcile Balances is easy to use. Simply check the All button and then select the Build button. As you gain more experience with the utility, you can exercise other options such as choosing a module to run it on, selecting individual tables, and running it for a specific work order location.

As the utility is operating the Status column will show whether or not each table passes the checks or if errors were found. The procedure is quite fast and when it is done, all tables should show they have passed. If any errors are discovered, the Fix button will become active.

Choose the Fix button to correct the errors. When it is done, run the Build again. It is possible that the Build process will find additional errors because the tables are dependent on one another and fixing errors may reveal more. Repeat this process until all tables show a “Passed” status.

We recommend that the Reconcile Balances utility be run at least once a month to ensure the integrity of the internal tables.

Technical Seminars - Your Source of Training

Due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, TIW is currently only offering custom training at this time.

Custom training offers a client driven, focused training approach which addresses the specific needs of your organization. At the same time it doubles as process consulting time, which can help to improve your organizational efficiency.

The one on one training may also be used to provide employees with recurrent training, which will assist them in making the most of both ALERE’s core and newest features. Alternatively, training may be scheduled as a comprehensive overview to familiarize new additions to your staff with the capabilities of ALERE.

Session require a two hours minimum commitment and may run for a maximum of four hours per day.

Schedule your company’s session by calling Chris at 610-258-5161 x105.

TIW’s online training resources are available 24/7 on demand through our website
TIW Technology, Inc. | Phone: 610.258.5161 | Fax: 610.258.6217