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
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.