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What's New in Feb 07

MINDER Posting control facilities:
Some readers will have experienced the frustration that arises when they find that their overnight processing, or their End-of-Month Close processing did not run because a workstation had been left in MINDER, and the update program could not get the exclusive use of the files that it required. The new MINDER Posting Control facilities solves this problem.

In what follows the term 'Posting-run' refers to the update processing associated with posting runs carried out during the working day, End-of-day/Overnight processing, and End-of-Month Close processing.

Firstly, at the time a Posting-run is initiated during the day, the operator will be advised if there are any other MINDER users in the system. Secondly, and most importantly, the users in the system are sent a 'free format' message advising them that a posting process is about to be run, who is doing it, and asking/instructing them to exit as soon as possible. At this point, if you should change your mind, you can abort the Posting-run, in which case the other users will be advised that they can continue processing. Alternatively, if the Posting-run is left 'active' it will automatically commence when the last of the users exits MINDER.

If users try to sign-on to MINDER during a Posting-run they will be advised that a Posting-run is in operation and they can choose between waiting, or continuing with other processing. If they wait, they will be automatically 'signed-on' to MINDER when the Posting-run is finished.

Further action is taken in respect of Posting-runs associated with overnight processing. If a user has not exited from MINDER after 15 minutes (and after receiving several warnings), they will be disconnected from the system, and scheduled processing, i.e. overnight or month-end, will be executed.

This is a Licence-free enhancement, and it will become available after your next general update.

Internet Polling
Many of the readers of this entry are already enjoying the considerable benefits that follow from upgrading to ADSL/Internet based polling. Many do not appreciate what they are missing!
ADSL/Internet polling is not expensive, it is significantly more reliable than dial-up polling, and it is far quicker.
While there are ISP charges to be paid, in most cases these costs are less than the savings that come from:

  1. The removal of a monthly ‘fixed-line’ telephone charge levied by your communications supplier.
  2. The elimination of STD phone charges.

This is a Fee-for-use option and it is now available.

Memorised Selections facility
This is a reminder about a relatively new facility that works in conjunction with the following newly announced facility. This Memorised Selections facility makes it even easier for you to extract information you want from MINDER. The parameters associated with requests that you make frequently can now be ‘memorised’. After entering a set of selection parameters, you can tell the system you want it to ‘memorise’ them; from then on, rather than having to enter the individual parameters you simply select what you had the system memorise.

This is a Licence-free enhancement, and it will become available after your next general update.

Pre-set Reporting facilities
These facilities enable you to print groups of reports that you wish to run on a daily, a weekly, a monthly, or any other periodical basis. By making use of the previous facility, i.e. Memorised Selections, you set-up the reports requests with the appropriate parameters. For example, you may set up a ‘Monthly Reports’ entry that refers to:

  • Weekly Sales Report - By Store
  • Inventory Status Report – By Store
  • Weekly Sales Report – Consolidated –By Department
  • Inventory Status Report – Consolidated – By Department

and, when the time comes, you simply click on ‘Monthly Reports’ and all the nominated reports, with their associated selected options, are produced.

In addition, you can set-up reports in special ‘Overnight ‘ and ‘Manual post’ groups so that the nominated reports are automatically printed as part of those processing procedures.

This is a Licence-free enhancement, and it will become available after your next general update.

My Favourites facility
This facility has been developed to make it easier for you to work with MINDER. There are now so many functions in MINDER that it can become frustrating finding your way through the menu entries to the specific facility you want to use.

This new ‘My Favourites’ facility enables you to build your own ‘limb’ on the MINDER Tree-menu so that you simply ‘go there’ to use the elements of MINDER that you regularly use. Of course all the other facilities are still there, so that you still have access to all the other functionality MINDER offers.

This is a Licence-free enhancement, and it will become available after your next general update.

MINDER-Net facilities
These facilities have been partially released before, but they are being re-released in a much enhanced form that we know will be of great value to many users.

The system elements that fall under the heading of MINDER-Net include:

  • Store Synchronization
  • ‘Live-store’ sales and banking data
  • Auto-polling facilities
  • Email and SMS message ‘Alerts’ & ‘Snapshots’
  • Auto-forwarding of overnight processing reports.

At its core, MINDER-Net brings back the details of store level transactions as they occur. This happens at virtually no cost to users who have ADSL facilities installed because the volume of data involved is usually comfortably under the minimum cap.

Store Synchronization provides for transactions recorded at one store to be on-forwarded to all stores so that when sales people do a stock enquiry, they see the stock in the other stores ‘as of now’ not ‘as-at’ the close of trade last night.

‘Live-store’ sales and banking data. MINDER-Net accumulates the transactions as they arrive and makes ‘up-to-the-minute’ sales and banking information available.

Auto-polling facilities  enable you to schedule weekend and holiday break processing for up to two weeks ahead. MINDER carries out the critical audit trail checks and automatically suspends subsequent scheduled processing if a problem is detected.

Email & SMS message ‘Alerts’ & ‘Snapshots’. As part of MINDER-Net you can maintain tables in MINDER that control the sending of email &/or SMS messages to the addresses you nominate. The messages can be to advise you of Alert conditions associated with your scheduled processing, &/or to provide you with, for example, a ‘Snapshot’ of the stores sales figures as they stood at 2PM.

Auto-forwarding of overnight processing reports. To enhance the effectiveness of the auto-processing facilities you can maintain tables that will bring about the automatic sending of emails with attachments containing the overnight processing reports you requested.

This is a Fee-for-use option and it is now available to clients who have ADSL/Internet polling facilities installed.

General updates and enhancements

We take this opportunity to bring less significant upgrades and enhancements to your attention. They are all Licence-free enhancements, and they will become available after your next general update.

  • The Average Cost Anomalies report has been modified to display the ‘Average’ and ‘Reference’ costs.
  • Invoices being ‘Passed-for-payment’ may be flagged so that they are not interfaced to the Landmark Accounting system (to provide for stock receivals covered by a letter-of-credit, etc.).