Wednesday 16 November 2016

Top Tips for Using the Mouldings.csv file in the App

In the last post about the Framers Pricing App I suggested that things could be kept simple and the Mouldings.csv file didn't have to be used at all.
However, it needn't be too complicated to use the file if you follow these top-tips.

  • If you have opened the file in Excel (or other spreadsheet program) to edit it - it must be saved as a .csv file (choose "save as" from the file menu).
  • The file must be titled "Mouldings.csv" (no quotes). Problems can occur if you have downloaded the file a number of times because then you get Mouldings.csv, Mouldings(1).csv etc. etc. So you'd need to delete the old files and rename the most recent one back to Moulding.csv.
  • Make sure there are no spaces at the beginning or end of the Moulding Id column (headed "Reference" (though the very latest upgrade does sort this out).
  • Check that there are 5 columns in the file - labeled "Reference", "Description", "Price/mtr", "Width" and "Waste" (in that order).
  • Only the columns "Reference", "Price/mtr", and "Width" need have data in them.
  • If you are copying the file to the device's "Download" folder via a usb cable from a pc or mac you will need to turn off "usb storage" (or disconnect the cable) in order to be able to import the file into the App. 
Of course the really easy way is to use the "Wessex Professional" (wpp4) program to create the file for you, ("File"  > "Create Mouldings.csv") from the mouldings listed in your database in that program.

Sunday 2 October 2016

Using the App - Keep it simple!

The Framers Pricing App is intended as a simple, versatile app for Android devices. It works out the price in the same way as the Wessex Professional pc program.
Wessex Professional can also create a file of the mouldings it is using, which can then be imported into the App to sync. the 2 systems.

However it isn't really necessary to go the trouble of dealing with a computer file and all the associated problems of formatting and importing.

The App can use a much simpler system to show the cost of a frame.

Because it isn't essential for the App to identify an individual moulding in order to give a price. It is very straightforward to use a code to give the information the App needs.
Tap "Settings", then "Get Moulding Code".
You'll be asked to enter the width and the wholesale cost of the moulding. The resulting code will be in the form "#45E". Write this on the chevron.

You can now use the code to price up a frame. The "#" tells the App that you are using this system. The numbers represent the cost of the moulding, and the letter the width (so the App can allow for the mitres).
Points to remember -
  • All mouldings with the same width and the same price will have the same code.
  • It is wise to check that the code is still correct each time an invoice arrives.

So, I suggest (unless you need to sync. with another system) use this method for the mouldings part of the pricing - you'll avoid a lot of faff.

Sunday 26 June 2016

Keeping upto date

We woke up on Fri 24th June to hear that a huge change had taken place in this country. Whether your view is that "Turkeys have voted for Christmas" or "The bright dawn of a new era" as framers we need to keep upto date with what could be large price swings. (Much of the materials we use are imported and subject to currency fluctuations.) If we don't then our businesses will very quickly become unprofitable and untenable.

Wessex Pricing Program makes it easy to keep up with any price changes.

When you get an invoice for a moulding order check the cost against the database ("Tools">"Manage Database">"Mouldings" and enter your moulding ID in the yellow box. Click "Find" and the record will appear. If the whole cost/metre is different then click "Edit" (the boxes will turn yellow to indicate they can be changed) change the Cost and click "Save".
Some suppliers still price in imperial, so the program has a calculator ("Tools">"Calculator") one of its functions is to work out price-per-Metre from price-per-Foot.

You can also bulk update supplier's mouldings from an Excel file (there are a number of posts on how to do this), but bear in mind that even the supplier list may not be upto date.

Other costs are entered in "Setup">"Values". Including the Moulding markup and the various "base" costs for Moulding, Glass and Mount. Think of these fixed "base" costs as the cutting charge or minimum charge to cut a mount (or glass, or join a frame).
Below the "base" cost is the variable cost - this is the cost per sq. Cm. to the customer . So, if the cost of glass or mountboard rise this is the place to alter your price. Just put in the new figure and click "Save" for each item.

For some thoughts on pricing and pricing strategy have a look at this post.

Saturday 25 June 2016

More Mac

As you may have gathered from the previous post Wessex Professional has now been optimised to run on a Mac computer, using CrossOver Mac by Codeweavers.
The only piece of the program that is not quite right is the WorkTicket list in the full version. In Windows the entries are coloured (Red for overdue, Blue for to-be-completed, Black for completed), whereas on a Mac they are all black. In practice this is not too much of a problem. Codeweavers have, however, flagged this up and hope to get the list showing correctly on their next update.

It is very simple to install the the pricing program using this app, particularly as Codeweavers have added the Wessex program to their database of compatible programs.

The Mac installation method is as follows. -
Download and install the free trial of CrossOver Mac from Codeweavers.
Download the 30 Day Trial of the Wessex Pricing Program to the Download folder on your Mac.

Start CrossOver and click on "Install Windows Application".
In the search box type "Wessex"and select "Wessex Pricing 4.x" and click "Continue".
And that's it!
Crossover knows which extra files to download and install (for the record - dot Net Framework 2, MDAC & Jet 8).
It finds and installs the Wessex download in your Download folder.
In about five minutes you are good to go.
You have 14 days to check you are happy with CrossOver before you need to buy it, and 30 days for the Pricing Program.
The cost of CrossOver varies depending on how much support you want to purchase, but this is the most cost-effective and simple solution to running Windows programs on a Mac that is around.
Give it a go!

Ch - Ch - Changes

A new version of the Wessex Pricing Program has been released (ver. 4.4.0). So what are the changes?
The main ones are to help the program run better on a Mac computer.

The print functions now work correctly. The problem stemmed from the "GraphicsUnits" used by the program (they are the co-ordinates that tell the printer where to print on the paper). These units needed to be changed to ones that both Mac & Windows understood.
The "HowTo" videos in the "Help" section have been changed from "wmv", a Windows format, to "mp4", a format both systems understand.

There are two other changes.
You can now list work-for-completion by item. So, you can see all the jobs that need Conservation Glass, for instance. Very useful for planning your work ahead.
The Footer message at the bottom of the invoice is now increased to 115 characters/spaces (from 50).

Head over to the Wessex website to download and remember to take copies of your Database and Labels/Values file (v3.mdb & user.xml) before you run the file, just in case!

Sunday 22 May 2016

Running Wessex Professional on a Mac

I'm often asked if Wessex Professional will run on an Apple Mac computer. In fact a previous post on the issue has had more views than any of my other posts.
As you may gather I'm a "Windows" man, but a few months ago I bought a reconditioned MacBook to see what the fuss was about. Of course that led to some research to see about running the pricing program on it.
I downloaded the free trial of CrossOver Mac from CodeWeavers. The result - well see for yourself!

I've only had a short time to tinker with the result and there are some problems with printing, but there seems to be no major issues with the Basic version of Wessex Professional.
I certainly hope to be able to come up with a solution to the printing errors which would make the full version useable. (At the moment everything is printed into the top quarter of an A4 sheet, instead of over the whole sheet.)

It was very easy to install Wessex Professional into what CrossOver calls a "bottle" (think of it as an oasis of Windows files amid a desert of Mac!). Then I needed to add extra files (dependencies) to get the program to run (very few programs these days are completely standalone). Again CrossOver made it straightforward to find and install them.  Just so you know, these files are .Net Framework 2, MS Jet, MDAC, and Core Fonts.

Very encouraging so far - I'll keep you all upto date with further developments.

Tips for Updating App mouldings file

Those of you who use the App will know that it can use a file called "Mouldings.csv" to price frames. This obviously needs to be kept upto date in order to give correct prices and to reflect the mouldings you offer. Because this file can be opened by Excel or other office spreadsheet packages it is easy to edit and modify.

The App comes with a file containing all the Wessex & Frinton mouldings. Uptodate versions of this file can be downloaded from the Wessex Pictures website. 
Once downloaded onto a PC the file can be edited to add other suppliers mouldings. Most suppliers issue a file containing details of their mouldings and this data can be copied and imported into the App's Mouldings file. For more information on the file format have a look at this link.

Or you could create your own by downloading a blank file from the App website and adding the data to it manually.

Another scenario for getting the file is to create one from Wessex Professional (WPP4). This will enable you to use the same set of mouldings and price both in the shop and on the move.

Once you have the file sorted the next task is to copy it to your device and then import it into the App. There are a number of ways to do this - someone I know sends himself an email with the file attached. The way I use is to attach the device to the computer and copy the Mouldings.csv file to "Download" on the device. 
Then with the App go to "Settings >"Misc Values" and choose "Import Mouldings File". This brings up a screen to search for the file. Scroll down to the folder where you copied Mouldings.csv, select it and the file should appear. Tap "OK" and the file will be imported to the App. You can then test it to make sure all is ok. (NB. Disconnect (Eject) the device from the computer after you have copied the mouldings file to the Device, otherwise not all the available device folders will show up.)

A bit of a faff? Well, at first, yes, but every framer is different and if the App had only one way of doing things it wouldn't be at all useful to professional picture framers.