Monday 2 October 2023

New for 2023

 It's been nearly a year since the last update to the Wessex Pricing Program, there haven't been any embarrassing glitches revealed (phew!) so this new update sorts out some features that were fine originally but now feel rather "clunky". 

The new update is version 4.4.15 (you can check your version by going to "Help" > "About" on the main program screen).

The first change is - instead of the measurement system (Mm. Cm. or Inches) being shown as three separate selections below the dimension boxes, it is now in one box next to them. Simply click the box to change.

The next change is  to the collection dates. The collection date is derived from the turnaround time (in days) set in "Setup" > "Options"  and selecting the "Turnaround" tab. 
Previously if the collection date worked out to be a Sunday then that date would be moved on to a Monday. Now you can set the days of the week that you are closed and any collections for those days are moved on.

The messages printed at the bottom of the invoice have been made easier to change. Go to "Setup" > "Options" and select the "Print" tab.
You can choose to hide the collection date, just show the date, or show the date and a short message. 
In addition you can set a footer message of up to 115 characters. 

The final new feature is when you view an individual work ticket, by holding the mouse over the moulding Id you can see some information about that moulding, this now includes the current amount in stock. (This assumes you keep your moulding stock up to date.) Also this stock amount is printed on the work ticket.
Hope you find the updates useful. 😊

Wednesday 2 November 2022

Version 4.4.14 - a bit of housekeeping

 You've probably seen that a new version of the Wessex Pricing Program is now released (ver. 4.4.14). 

So, what's new?

Really, it's a bit of tidying up, sorting out some things I've been meaning to get around to.

  • Making sure that apostrophes are now displayed and printed correctly. Previously they were shown as double apostrophes (ie. O'Brian was O''Brian).
  • Correcting as error in Extra Cost where multiple Extra Costs, some including VAT and some not, were incorrectly totalled. 
  • The "Moulding Needed" function now takes account of inner mouldings. It also gives better user-feedback while the records are being processed.
  • When a supplier's mouldings are being updated the program now checks to see if the supplier's update file is already open and prompts to close it. (Previously an unhandled error.)
  • If there is an error on opening the supplier's update .xls file - program suggests checking that the worksheet is correctly titled "gen".
  • The Mouldings Needed list and the Jobs list now prints item line in colour (as the list on the screen) not all black text as previously.
Didn't know you could have multiple Extra Costs? Yes, you can, just be sure to rename the Extra Costs to something else (ie. "3 apertures" or "Special Mount") and don't repeat that name. When you select "Extra Cost" the program looks to see if the same name has already been entered in the Sundries list. You are not allowed to select the same item twice, as this would be a definite cause for confusion.

If you haven't already done it - head over to Pricing Program | Wessex Pictures | Picture Framing Wholesaler and download the "Free 30 day Trial" and (having backed up your database and labels/values files) and install this latest version (don't worry, the program will know that you are an existing user).

Saturday 17 September 2022

What's in a name?

 Managed to get another Shakespeare quote in the blog title! 

Wessex Professional has a very useful facility to rename a moulding supplier. Why might you need to do this?

  1. If the supplier has changed their trading name - Arqadia to Larson Juhl for instance.
  2. If one supplier has taken over another's mouldings - Wessex now sell what were Frinton mouldings.
  3. You have called the same supplier different names - The records for Rose & Hollis could also be listed under R&H for example.
If you leave things alone the program will still issue prices quite happily, the problem comes when you try to update that supplier's mouldings from a (.xls) file. 

Using the "Wessex /Frinton scenario, what will happen is that all the mouldings in the program listed under Wessex will be updated, but when it comes to those records that were Frinton's, they will not be added in with Wessex because their reference number is still listed under Frinton and the database won't allow duplicate reference numbers. So, the final report will say that xxx number of mouldings have failed to be added.

This is where the ability to easily change the supplier's name comes in. While it would be possible to do it the hard way and manually edit each moulding record the change the supplier's name, much better to let the program do the hard work, so -

  • Click "Setup", then "Options"
  • Select the "Database" tab.
  • Top left is "Database Utilities". Click "OK".
  • You'll be urged to make a copy of your database just-in-case.
  • On the 3rd panel down select "Change Supplier name" and click "Go".
  • Select the supplier you want to change from the drop-down menu. Click "OK"
  • Enter the new name for that supplier. Click "OK".
  • Done!

Saturday 19 February 2022

Pricing App - Importing a moulding file

 Just recently I've had to update the Pricing App to take account of the new Android versions - the old code for importing a mouldings file no longer worked on the newer versions (11 and beyond). So, you will notice that the import mouldings screen looks a bit different (App version 2.2.5 and beyond).

A bit of background to start with. The App can price frames using two different ways of getting the data it needs for the moulding part of the cost. 

The simplest is a price code - this begins with "#" and contains numbers and a letter, eg. #56G (the cost per metre/foot, and the width) This is fine for working out the cost, but it doesn't identify the individual moulding (mouldings with the same width and cost have the same code).

The second method is to use a csv file to list individual mouldings and their data. "csv" stands for comma separated values. It is a very simple file which you could open with Excel (or other spreadsheet program) and edit yourself. The file can list a particular supplier's mouldings or (if you use the Wessex Pricing Program for pc all the mouldings in your database). The good thing about this way of pricing is that it identifies an individual moulding and use a code that you will be familiar with.

But either of these methods needs to be kept upto date. With the csv file it means importing a new file periodically. First of all you need the download the file onto your device, either go the the supplier's website a download the file from there (if they have one) or email yourself with the file attached and download the attachment.

Now, on the App tap "Settings", then "Misc. Values". Tap "Import Mouldings File" and you will see a screen like this -

Select the "Download" folder (where the arrow is pointing) and you will then be shown all the text type files in that folder. (Nb. It may take a few seconds for the file to appear.)

All the downloaded csv files will be listed there. Tap the one you want to use and it will be imported into the App. If you make a mistake simply go back and import the correct one.


Note - 
  • The csv file can be called anything (it used to have to be called "mouldings", no longer). 
  • If you download a file with the same name several times it will be titled name, name(1), name(2) etc. in the Download folder.
  • The list of files has the date by them to help identify the one you want.

Thursday 6 January 2022

Download woes

 Computer security has improved vastly in the last few years. Systems really don't want us to do anything that might cause trouble. For instance if your browser sees you are trying to download a file it doesn't recognize and which has the potential for unwanted consequences it will try and stop you.

I noticed this when I was checking that the correct file for the latest Wessex Pricing Program had been put on the Wessex website.

I'm using Microsoft Edge (so other browsers may be different) when I downloaded the Free Trial (SetupWPP4_4_12.msi) I noticed that there was a yellow triangle against that file in the downloads list.

 Looking directly in the Downloads folder in File Explorer it was labelled as "Unconfirmed download".

So, back to Edge. At the right side of the toolbar is the download list. Select "SetupWPP4_4.msi" and you will notice 3 small dots to the right. Click on those and select "Keep". 

Then yet another warning message appears. This time above the Delete button select "Show more" and then click on "Keep anyway".

You are now treated as an adult and can run the file!

Wednesday 5 January 2022

Size Matters

 I'm sure that you have noticed that the size of the Wessex Pricing Program is fixed. There is a reason for that (skip the following paragraph if the brain is feeling a bit tired).

Computer screens are not only measured by size (usually diagonally across the screen) but also by "resolution" stated in "pixels". The more pixels the better detail that the screen can show. The computer I'm writing this on has a resolution of 1920 x 1080. Not too many years ago a resolution of (say) 1200 x 800 more would have been considered good. When you set a size for a form in a program it is set in pixels, not inches or Cm. So it will look smaller on a higher resolution screen, and larger on a lower resolution screen. 

Wessex Professional has stayed the same size ever since it was released. This way it would be good for older monitors. However, the difference between old and new monitor resolution is becoming quite pronounced and although there are things you can do to show the program at a larger size, what is really needed is the ability to resize the program to suit your screen. This is easier said than done. There are at least 27 "controls" (buttons, textboxes and so on) in the main screen and each one needs to be resized in proportion to its neighbour.

The problem is finally solved in the latest version (4.4.12). You can now resize and reposition the main form to suit your screen and the program will remember that for the next time.

The above screenshot shows the standard size, with the program always starting centre-screen.

This screenshot shows the program enlarged and repositioned. It will remember the size and position for next time it starts.

By the way, the computer these screenshots were taken from is running Windows 11. Wessex Professional is perfectly happy running on that.

Also in the new version is an improved "Moulding Needed" section ("Tools" > "Mange Database" > "Mouldings", click "Views" and choose "Moulding Needed" to show the moulding you'll need for your current jobs, and which you're likely to have to order).

The "Save invoice as PDF" in the Print section has had some potential errors corrected and should be more consistent. 

All that remains is to wish everyone a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Friday 8 October 2021

Coping with the "new normal".

Over the last few months we have seen increasing shortages and, more recently, galloping price increases.

Wessex Professional and The Framers Pricing App can help you to keep abreast of these changes and keep your business afloat and profitable.

Let's deal with price increases first.

It is important to remember that all suppliers in their terms and conditions reserve the right to change prices without notice. Obviously they try not to, but with prices so volatile it makes sense for us to go by the invoices we receive rather than waiting for a new price list to be issued. 

For mouldings this is easily dealt with in Wessex Professional by going through the invoice and Editing the moulding record to give the correct wholesale cost per metre. (If you are not registered for VAT make sure you include VAT in the figure to reflect the price you have paid.) In the App if you use # codes then redo the code for each of the mouldings in the invoice (Settings > Get Moulding Code). If you use a file imported into the App then you will need to open the file on your computer and edit it, save and import again.

For mountboard and glass there are a couple of ways to deal with price changes.

1) The easy way
If (for example) a mountboard increases from £6.00 to £6.60 a sheet (10%), then simply increase the mount cost by 10%.
For instance - I charge a plain (whitecore) mount at 0.32 pence/sq. cm. So I would increase that cost to 0.352 pence/sq. cm.
I would keep the "Start From" charge the same because that really represents the labour cutting the mount (presumably that will need to increase at some point, but it's not directly related to the material cost).

2) Getting back to basics
There are 9,930.8 sq. cm. in a Larson Juhl board. (122 x 81.4) divide that by the cost of the board in pence to get how much the board is costing per cm. (£6.00 per board = 600 pence = 0.06 pence/sq. cm. Actually 0.0604180932049785 pence!)
Multiply that by a markup (between 4 & 7 usually) to get the main cost figure. Nb. markup is quite high because of the amount of wastage in glass and particularly mountboard.

To make the changes - in Wessex Professional go to Settings > Values and choose the Mount or Glass tab. Select the type of glass or mount you want to change from the dropdown list. Put in the new value and "Save", then go on to the next one.

In the Pricing App go to Settings and choose Mount Values or Glass Values. Tap the top panel for a list of Labels and their values. Select one, change the figures and Save Item. 

Both the Pricing App and Wessex Professional work out prices in the same way. 

Now let's look at how to deal with shortages.

 Because the Pricing App doesn't keep a record of stock or jobs you are going to have to rely on good old "memory mark 1"! 

But Wessex Professional can help. If you know a moulding is unavailable you can check whether you have taken jobs for it by going to Tools > Manage Database > Worktickets. Then choose Views, List By Item. Select "Moulding" and enter the moulding code in the pop-up box. You will then see a list of all the jobs to be completed which use that moulding.

Similarly, you can check glass in the same way. The program won't make the shortages go away, but at least you'll have the information on which to base a decision.

(At the moment the Mount option only shows the type of mount, not the colour. So, unfortunately, that won't help when a particular colour is not available, though it's usually possible to get a acceptable alternative from a different manufacturer).  

All that is probably a lot to take in, but for some bedtime reading have a look at Picture Frame Pricing Programs: Frame Pricing Talk ( for a overall view of pricing.