Check out my July 2003 Newsletter - Backups, Cougar Mountain, Socal

July 2003 - Newsletter
As usual the actual newsletter with graphics is at my web site SBTBILL.COM.
This months #1 topic is backups. Backups are those things that always seem to be most important when you don't have them. In the last few months I've dealt with 3 major backup situations. 1) The company needed to put in new hardware and had not been backing up. 2) A hard drive crashed. 3) A theft resulted in the loss of a mirrored server set up.
In the past I've seen a number of other backup issues. On several occasions the problem was that the person responsible for the backups had failed to do them. Sometimes this was just that they felt they didn't have time. In other cases it occurred because they didn't understand how to do the backup. One of the most horrible was a system that was backup nightly but didn't produce any error messages. The tapes had a write protect tab that had been set to on. No one knew that every backup had failed until the backup was needed. In another case the person doing the backups didn't understand the error message and thought everything was all right.
This month's Cougar Mountain topic is using quotes, notes and held invoices to make sales easier. One of the nicest features about Cougar Mountain are the notes available when making a sale. The transaction history also allows information on the customer to pop up just when you need it. Because of Cougar Mountain's retail background providing the detail for better sales tracking is both easy and possible. While other programs provide quote to invoices handling Cougar Mountains note capability is unique.
The June 2003 issue of the Reeves Journal contains an article called Today's Hi-Tech Plumber, which offers some interesting suggestions. One of these is tracking customer history. The Socal Service Manager contains several tools to help with this. The first group is found on the Analysis tab of the report menu. These reports give you early warnings of negative trends, such as declining ticket averages or declining new accounts so that problems can be fixed before they become serious. Another report that helps you track customer information is found on the customer screen. The location report lets you see work done at a specific location.
Finally, the ACCPAC products (PRO and Vision Point), Cougar Mountain, and Socal Service Manager use the popular DBF style of table. These tables can be opened with several popular programs including ACCESS, VFP, Crystal Reports, and R&R report writer. This allows you to design and create custom reports for your special needs. All fields are open for report use. Unlike Peachtree and Quickbooks the tables have essentially no size or user limits and can usually be fixed locally should something become corrupted.
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