Value Relationships

At Deft Flux, we value Relationships, Humor, and Beauty. 

When we say we value relationships, it means we sacrifice technology on the altar of relationships (not the other way round); it means we value people over mammon; it means we believe efficiency often comes at a price that we are unwilling to pay. 

We bend technology to our will.

Note that this is categorically different from saying “we value good system architecture” or “we strive for well-written code.” Those goals are nebulous and change over time. We might compromise on them to meet some higher goal. Staying true to the things we love, however, affects how we do business, and we pursue them without compromise, even when costs us. 

Just now, I started to set up my own Microsoft Bookings page, and noticed that the informational bubble says, “Schedule with ease and create your personal booking page to share your availability without any back and forth with others.”  This phrasing stopped me short.  I know they are getting at the frustration that can happen when you go back and forth forever, trying to get a meeting time, but that sentence also says, “…without any unnecessary [interaction] with [people].” The heading should say “Impersonal booking page.”

Most of us have been receiving a few “schedule time with me” links, and while helpful, even necessary, they are impersonal.  Furthermore, when you simply start by sending two or three options for meeting times, you eliminate 98% of the back and forth, without giving up the personal touch.

We bend technology to our will.

Oracle Database: The Only Enterprise Solution

Recently, we have made a determination. If you are standing up an enterprise database to support mission critical applications, Oracle is the only database worth considering.

Microsoft SQL Server is fine as far as you can throw it. If you plan to go beyond a mid-tier application, however, you will eventually wish you had used Oracle.

At IBM databases, we only scoff….unreliable, slow, buggy, arcane. What else can we say?

Save yourself a lot of headaches, and go with Oracle.

Oh, you want evidence to back up our claims? Someday soon…we promise. Right now, we have to go write more software because the IBM database is taking up all of our time.

Ask Deft Flux: How do I drop an Epicor report to a directory on the network?

If you have been using Epicor for some time at your place of business, you have encountered the need to send the output of a report to a directory on the network. If you only need to do this once, you can simply print to your PDF writer and send it to the directory. If you need to do this multiple times, on schedule, then you will want to use APM. Setting up APM is simple, but not trivial, Continue reading

Ask Deft Flux: What Does Epicor Error 7175/7224 Mean?

Several of our clients have experienced the infamous 7175 error and the subsequent “Tried to call a method in an invalid procedure. (7224)” error.  This error normally indicates a broken network connection between the client machine and the server, so after a user sees this error, Epicor will stop functioning withal.  For users with elusive but persistent network hiccups, this is especially aggravating. Continue reading

Leaders, Do You Know How to High Five?

Leaders, as we look back at the previous year, we remind ourselves that it is apropos to review ourselves, praise our teams, and celebrate some wins.  Amongst our teams, we have observed uncertainty.  Folks are asking, “How much gaiety is required?” and “What is the appropriate mode of celebration?”

Some wins call for raucous cheers. Others call for a quiet “yes!”  Our purpose today, however, is not to prescribe appropriate celebrations by context.  Instead, we share a lesson we learned at the Leadercast — namely, that the high five is a universal tool, the lineman’s pliers of celebration.  A high five always works.  It is always powerful.  Moreover, the high five is most powerful in its simplest form.  Like a pair of lineman’s pliers, it does not need our improvements.

Today, we present a brief instructional video by Leadercast host Tripp Crosby, reminding us to use high fives appropriately.  Remember, they do not cost anything, so hand out a few today.

Epicor – Let’s Dump a File

How have we at Deft Flux made life easier by implementing elegant solutions to real business requirements?  Herewith, we present two examples.

Company A needs to produce an XML file for the Job Order Interface of its Trumpf Inventory Manager Machine.  Company A also needs to produce a tab-delimited advanced ship notice (ASN) for upload to a customer’s system.  Both of these cases are interesting because they cannot be solved with a Business Activity Query (BAQ) or simple Business Process Management (BPM) Method Directive.  Although a BAQ can be exported, the XML is not in the right format for the Trumpf machine.  A simple BPM cannot handle file output, let alone tab delimited.  How do we proceed? Continue reading

Ask Deft Flux: How can I log changes in Epicor?

We often hear from someone who needs to log changes to data in his business system. Perhaps a production supervisor wants to know when the description of a part was changed or a human resources manager wants a record of everyone’s pay rate changes. Maybe the human resources manager also wants to be notified by e-mail every time the pay rate gets updated. Using Epicor, logging table changes is as easy as pie. This week, we show you how to use the Business Activity Manager (BAM) to meet this requirement.

First, the BAM is found on the menu under Executive Analysis >> Business Activity Management >> Setup.

Open the BAM.

Open the BAM.

In the BAM tool, on the first tab, we simply choose the table and the columns in that table that we want to be logged.

Select the table.

Select the table.

On the second tab, we choose the action or actions we want to take to accomplish the logging. We can have a log created. Simply check the “Create Log” box.

Select [Create Log].

Select [Create Log].

We can also choose to have a message sent to the interested party. The message can include a simple alert, a link to the changed record, a copy of the log, or all three.

Select [Send Alert].

Select [Send Alert].

On most master data screens, the log viewer is ready to go.  The on screen log is accessed by pressing the log button. Note that when a logged change is present, the book lights up with a sparkly-bit.

View the logs.

View the logs.

The log simply tells you the date and time of the change, the old value, and the update value, which can be quite valuable.

View the log details.

View the log details.

Now, the BAM can also automatically kick of a report whenever some key thing is updated.  That, however, is another story for another day.

If you need help setting up your logging, or any other business process, give us a call.  We are here to help.

Ask Deft Flux: How do I Query a Hierarchical Bill of Material in Epicor?

On occasion, an Epicor ERP user will want to write a report that requires a hierarchical view of a part’s multi-level bill of material.  In Epicor, we would prefer to do this using a Business Activity Query (BAQ).  The Epicor 10 BAQ tool is much more powerful than the tool from version 9, so it comes close to being able to do this, but just misses the mark.  In order to query a hierarchical BOM, we must write the SQL and create a view in the database.  Once we create the view, we can use a BAQ to access it (in version 9 or version 10 as long as we’re using SQL Server), or we can query it directly using an SSRS report.  Herewith, we provide the SQL:

Continue reading

Leaders, Do Your Meetings Sound Like This?

Leaders, in our continual quest to take down obstacles for our teams, to help them succeed, we always asks, “Is this meeting necessary? Will it add value today?” We try to make our meetings bearable by stating a clear purpose, by inviting only those who are central to that purpose, and by keeping focus on the goal, yet even in the best run meetings we experience the agony of missed communication. Let’s all watch and laugh at ourselves as Leadercast host Tripp Crosby demonstrates how the best of meetings can go awry.

What’s worse than a conference call? A conference call in real life.

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