Thursday, 24 September 2020

Why buy Wessex Professional?

 Of course, I think Wessex Professional is the best pricing and job organization program that picture framers can buy, but then I would, wouldn't I?

In case that doesn't convince you here are some hard reasons to use Wessex Professional rather than any other system.

  • User-friendly interface. Because the program has been designed by a professional framer it is an unobtrusive tool to use while talking with the customer and recording a sale. (Your attention needs to be on your client, not a computer).

  • Gives you complete control of your prices. The way Wessex Professional works out a price (the algorithm) is transparent and easy to understand. I believe that it is important for framers to take responsibility and set their own prices, which will reflect the business in their area.
  • Can use any suppliers' mouldings. You can create database records for mouldings from any supplier - not solely Wessex Pictures (in fact you don't have to have any Wessex records at all - but don't tell Wessex that!)
  • Easy set up. I won't deny that you will need to spend some time setting up the program to give the prices you want. But the process is simple and you can start off with some suggested values which can then be adjusted. Be suspicious of any system that claims to work out of the box. 
  • Cost. £295 + vat - you own the program, it will very quickly save you money over those systems that are rented or leased.
  • On as many computers as you like. Wessex Professional can be networked for use with more than one computer. At no extra cost.
  • Free Updates and Support. Updates to the program (once or twice a year) are free. These often include features suggested by other framers. Help and support is also free. If you cannot find the answer in the program's Help files then a call to Wessex will get the problem sorted out.
  • The Data stays on your system. The program does not need an internet connection, your data files are on your computer system (which you control).
  • Proven System. The pedigree of Wessex Professional goes back to 2004, when we released The Wessex Pricing Program (WPP1). It was a simple price calculator, the precursor of the current sophisticated program.  
You don't even have to take my word for it - download the free 30 day trial and see for yourself.

Thursday, 17 September 2020

What I did in lockdown

Part of my lockdown was coding the latest ideas for Wessex Professional. A couple of months testing after we reopened and the result is a new version of the program (ver. 4.4.9). 

So what's new?

  • When an invoice is saved you can now see how many items are scheduled for collection on that date (and so you can change the date if necessary).

  • The Location function has been improved. You can enter a location straightaway and also search the workticket list by Location ("Tools" > "Manage Database" > "Views" > "List by Item"). This is very handy if you send work off-site. It could also be used track work given to individual members of staff. In fact I nearly relabelled it "Anything-Else-You-Want"! (You have upto 20 characters to play with). In effect it is a user-defined searchable parameter added to the job record.

  • Because I been a framer for some time I know that there is always something new, or something that only occurs once in a blue moon, so the Wessex Pricing Programs have always had an option to include an "Extra Cost". Now you can directly label that Extra Cost (upto 15 characters). So the reason for the cost is clearer, both for you and the customer.

As always - before you install the new version take a copy of your database (V3.mdb) and labels/values file (User.xml) just in case!

Sunday, 5 January 2020

"Nothing will come of nothing!"

I always wanted to use a Shakespeare quote for a title (it's from King Lear, but I'm sure you knew that)!
It is quite relevant to a couple of  problems people have had recently.
I had two App users contact me with the same symptom - the moulding element of the price was coming out at zero. You can test this by just putting in the dimensions and a moulding code, then hitting Total Price.
At first I was quite perplexed, but chatting on it seemed they had wanted to know the cost of the frame without any markup  (basically, how much would the materials cost?).
So, quite understandably, they had entered "0"  as the moulding markup.
There is the explanation straightaway - the App (and the Desktop program) multiply the wholesale moulding cost by the markup to get the frame cost (and then, if the figure is greater than zero, add on a cutting & joining charge). Of course any number multiplied by 0 is 0.
So, if you want to see the bare moulding cost you will need to put 1 as the moulding markup.

Monday, 11 November 2019

An Early Update

Normally I update Wessex Professional once a year, the last update was posted in the spring (2019). But I have another update for the autumn (4.4.8).

It all came about when one of my largest users asked me if the program could be made to show the progress of a job through the workshop, and also to produce an Excel list of jobs to be done. My first thought was to produce a modified version especially for them, but thinking about it I realised that these features could be a useful for all users.

So, lets go through the new features.

  • If you use the "Staff" option then the staff member is now saved to the database, instead of just being printed on the initial invoice and work ticket.
  • Likewise the Deposit amount paid is now saved. If you take deposits the program remembers so you don't have to!
  • Location, location location! On the Work Ticket record you can record the location of the item. Not only its final place waiting for the customer to collect, but whereabouts it is before and during the framing process. So no more wondering "I put that safe somewhere, didn't I?"

  • An Excel report showing the work to be done in the order it needs doing, including the customer's name & phone, can be created. Go to "Tools" > "Manage Database" > "WorkTickets" and Click on "File". Select "Excel Report" and a file titled "Job Sheets (+ the date) " will be saved to your Desktop.
  • Finally - in go to "Setup" > "Options", then the "Database" tab and select "Database Utilities", you will see at the bottom at box titled "Execute SQL". This allows an SQL statement to modify the database. If you don't know what SQL (Structured Query Language) is - ignore it. If you do use it always make sure you have taken a backup of the database beforehand. The reason it's there is to give the facility to make bulk changes to the database where it would otherwise need to be imported into Access.
I've been using this version in my framing shop for a few months now and I'm quietly pleased with it. I hope you will be too.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

More on Frinton > Wessex

A bit extra to the previous post , which describes how to change over Frinton mouldings to Wessex.

There is an (initially) perplexing problem where it seems that some Frinton mouldings have been marked as "discontinued" incorrectly.
"Oh dear!" I thought (or something close) when this turned up on my work computer.
As always it's wise to be like Corporal Jones and "Don't Panic".
After little sober reflection I realised that the problem lies with mouldings that were sold by both Wessex and Frinton and had a Wessex reference and a (different) Frinton reference.

So, to clarify - the moulding which showed as "discontinued" for me was (in my moulding records) Frinton M03021. Now Wessex also have this listed, and their reference is "C2105" and this is the reference used in the update file.

How to sort this out? I have come up with 2 scenarios.

The first is if you use the supplier's reference as the moulding ID. Simply change the label on your chevron to the Wessex number.

The second is if you use a different ID from the supplier number (for me that moulding was "117"), then you can edit the record to change the Supplier & Supplier Number.

The good thing about the second method is that all the job records which have used that moulding are changed too. Whereas in the first method they will still have the original ID, so it's probably best to edit the record and put the Wessex reference in the Notes section.

The records that start "WF", "PW" & "POL" are not affected, but if you come across an odd "Discontinued" best to give Wessex a ring just to check.

Friday, 6 September 2019

Wessex & Frinton moulding changes

As you have probably seen Frinton Mouldings are now being merged with Wessex Pictures.
This means that in future the mouldings that used to be listed under Frinton will now be listed under Wessex.
Only one update file will be issued (WessexMouldings.xls).

So, how can we get the program (WPP4) to sort this out?
Fortunately it is quite simple.

  • Make sure your version of the program is at least 4.4.7 (To find out which version you have click on "Help", then "About").
  • Preferably before you run the update mouldings routine you need to change the name of the supplier from "Frinton" to "Wessex". 
      Do this by going to -
  1. "Setup" > "Options" and choose the "Database" tab. 
  2. The top left frame is Database Utilities - click the "OK...." button.
  3. Take a copy of the Database "just-in-case".
  4. Go to the third frame down and select "Change Supplier Name".
  5. Select "Frinton" from the list of suppliers, and click "OK". You'll will be prompted to enter the new name (in this case it is "Wessex"). Click "OK".
  6. All the Frinton records in your database now have Wessex as the supplier.  - Job done!
  • Now you can run the update mouldings routine using the latest WessexMouldings update file. 
  • NB. If you have tried to run the update before changing the supplier name, you will find that a lot of mouldings have "failed to be added". This is because the Id (which must be unique) of those mouldings is used under the Frinton supplier name. Simply run the update again after you have changed the supplier name from Frinton to Wessex.
Now you are upto date.