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Keep Up With Your Inventory This Summer

In Inventory,Products on June 18, 2014 by Luke Natvig

On June 10th we released Version 2.10 and several hundred locations have already updated.  If you’re not one of them, here are a few more reasons you should upgrade today.

Fix What You Need To Now

The Remove Duplicate Products tool is a great way to keep your product records clean. We’ve added an Inventory Only check box so, if you’re short on time, you can easily clean up what needs fixing right now. Also, you can now scan or type in a bar code in the Product field if you’re looking to address a specific duplicate.

Remove Duplicate Products

Remote Inventory Matters

If you’re a multi-store dealer, we’ve added some new features to help you manage your inventory.  When attempting to hide a product at the primary store, we’ve added a check to make sure that no inventory exists for that item at secondary locations. If it does, the product record can’t be hidden. We’ve also added a new Remote Inventory Only check box to the Remote Product Lookup screen. This is checked by default and filters your search results to only display items that are in stock at the secondary locations.

 

Remote Product Lookup

For a full list of features and fixes in version 2.10, read our release notes and watch the recorded webinar. Upgrade today!

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You’re Just Days Away From A Better Customer Record

In Customers on June 6, 2014 by Luke Natvig

When you upgrade to Version 2.10 next week, you’ll enjoy these updates we’ve made to the customer record.

Send Messages On Demand

We’ve added Email and SMS buttons to the customer record. They become active once an email address or mobile phone number is entered for the customer. Click these buttons to launch a blank draft so you can send a message to the customer from any place you can access their record.

You Asked, We Answered

In Version 2.9 we added a requirement that customer email addresses be unique within the database. In Version 2.10 we’ve added the option to turn this off.

We’ve also resolved a multi-store issue where duplicate customer account numbers were being created for customers created at different locations. The Location Short Code is now used to prefix new account numbers. In addition to resolving duplicates, it also gives you a quick visual indicator of where a customer record was originally created within your dealership.

Address Updates

The button formerly used to copy Billing Address to the Shipping Address fields has been replaced with a “Use Billing Address for Shipping” check box. When this is checked, the fields for Shipping Address will be populated on demand with the most current information in the Billing Address fields. We’ve also added the ability to designate the Shipping Address as “Commercial” or “Residential”.

Goodbye, Advanced Properties

While we’re on the subject of the customer record, to increase credit card security the “Show Advanced Properties” button will be removed with our Version 2.11 release in September. If you’re using these fields, start planning now for life after they’re gone.

New Release Information

We’re just days away from the Version 2.10 release!  Please join us for a brief online session to review the new fixes and features. We’re updating the format and offering two 30-minutes sessions (20 minutes to review the new features and 10 minutes for Q&A). Click one of the links below to register. All times are Central Daylight Time.

Wednesday, June 11th 9:00 – 9:30 AM
Wednesday, June 11th 11:00 – 11:30 AM

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Are You Capturing More Customer Data?

In Customers,Reports on May 29, 2014 by Luke Natvig

In Version 2.9, we introduced the new Customer Data Capture report. It tells you, by employee, how well you’re doing at getting contact information from your customers. With version 2.10, we’ve made some improvements.

If you’ve run the Customer Data Capture report in the last week, you’ve seen a new “Address” column to track the capture of a customer Billing Address. We also updated the calculation of percentage captured for each metric to be a subset of total transactions instead of customers captured. Lastly, we improved the .pdf export to default to landscape format with all columns displayed on one page.

Customer Data Capture 2014-05-25


Even Fewer Clicks for Online Reports:

When you upgrade to Version 2.10 on June 10th, you’ll also notice some improvements in the Reports screen of Ascend. Direct links to the Ascend Health Checkup, Customer Data Capture and Inventory & Sales History reports on AOR have been added. Before, you had to click the AOR button, scroll through the list of reports, and click on these reports to run them. Now, it takes one simple click from within Ascend.

AOR in the Client

 

The Version 2.10 release is less than 2 weeks away.  Be sure to mark your calendars to upgrade and start enjoying these new features!

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What’s an .rpt file? Upgrade and you won’t care.

In Ordering,Reports,Sales on May 14, 2014 by Luke Natvig

In version 2.10, we’ve made some replacements and additions we think you’re going to love.

Replacements

We didn’t want XP to be lonely in retirement, so we decided to get rid of some older file formats, too. When you email a receipt, you’ll be sending a .pdf file instead of .htm. When you email a purchase order, it will also be .pdf instead of .htm. And we didn’t stop there. Saved reports will be .pdf instead of .rpt. and any exports that used to produce .xls files will now be in .xlsx format.

Additions

While updating these areas, we added some new functionality as well. The reports toolbar now has an Email button. Clicking this button will create a blank email draft with the report attached as a .pdf file. The SQL query toolbar has two new buttons, Email & Export. The Email button will create blank email draft with the query attached as a .xlsx file.  The Export button will give you the option of exporting the file in .csv or .xlsx format.

As a bonus, you’ll also have the option to email a purchase order as a .pdf or .xlsx attachment.

Obligatory End of XP Reminder

Computers running Windows XP will not be able to upgrade to this version. Version 2.10 went out for Early Release yesterday and will be released to all dealers on June 10th.   Happy upgrading!

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More Customer Data at your Fingertips

In Customers,Reports,Sales on May 7, 2014 by Mark Hoggatt Tagged: ,

With Ascend Version 2.9 we introduced our new Customer Panel. The new panel puts a wealth of information about your customers right at your fingertips in the sales screen. In Ascend Version 2.10, due out on June 10th, you can look forward to even more.

Totals for All Locations:

Many of you have more than one retail location. When you’re with a customer, you want to see the total value of their business at all of your stores. To help you, we’ve added an All Locations column to the Sales tab.  Here it is in action:

Sales Tab with All Locations

Complete Dealership History

The History tab is the place to get detailed information about the items your customers have purchased from you.  Currently it only shows details for the location you’re in.  In Version 2.10 we’ve added a Dealership History link to this tab. When you click on it, you’ll automatically be directed to the Customer Transaction History report in AOR. By default, the report will display the customer’s transactions at all of your locations over the past year. You can change the date range or filter down to specific locations from there. We’ve added a new permission that allows access this report only (and not the rest of the reports on AOR).  When you upgrade, it will be enabled by default for all of your users.

Ascend Version 2.10 will be available for early release on May 13th.  If you’d like to be part of this group, contact the Support Team.  It will be available to everyone on June 10th.

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Attention Buyers: Your Life Just Got Easier

In Inventory,Ordering,Reports,Sales on April 3, 2014 by Mark Hoggatt Tagged: , ,

The job of the retail buyer is a challenging one.  Figuring out what to buy to keep a store stocked with profitable products isn’t easy.  It’s even harder if you’re a buyer responsible for multiple locations.  If that’s you, we’re happy to announce that life just got easier with Ascend Version 2.9 and the new Inventory & Sales History Report.

Access it from anywhere:  You can access the new report via Ascend from any of your locations.  Click on the Reports icon from the Ascend Desktop then click the new AOR toolbar button.  You’ll find the report in the Ordering section.  You can also get to the report from any PC with Internet access through your store’s AOR address .

Information is consolidated for you:  There’s no need to connect to each location to collect the information you need.  It’s done automatically for you.  When you run the report you can select all locations or any combination of your locations to look at.

Decision making data is included:  You need good data to decide the quantity of a product to order.

  • How is the product selling?  The report will tell you how each product is selling in your selected categories.  You’ll see how many units were sold in your selected date range along with the number of units you sold in the last 30 and 365 days.
  • What do I have in stock?  You’ll see the quantity on hand for each product at all the selected locations.  It will also tell you how many are currently on order and how many have already been committed to customers.  For extra measure, if you’ve set Min and Max reorder levels, we’ll show you those too.

Excel is your friend:  You can easily view the report on-screen after you run it.  But if you plan to work with it, we recommend you export Excel and use all the tools available to you there to work with the data.

We’ve created a video for you with all the details you need to run and use the report.  Click here to view it.

If you haven’t yet upgraded to Version 2.9, now is the time to join the over 600 locations that already have.  Please contact our Ascend Support Team if you need any assistance.

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The Gift That Keeps On Giving

In Customers,Marketing,Reports on March 27, 2014 by Luke Natvig

Last week, we released version 2.9. Less than a week later, it became the most installed version of Ascend in the world. And the best part is, we weren’t even done yet…

What Gets Measured Gets Done

Those of you that have updated are already using the new Customer Panel to do a better job capturing customer information at the register. But how well are you doing? Do you know who in your store is a Rock Star when it comes to collecting email addresses? Or who isn’t? Starting now, you can. The Customer Data Capture report is now available on Ascend Online Reports (AOR).

To check it out, go to Reports in Ascend and click the AOR button on the toolbar (Don’t see the button? Update to version 2.9 and it will magically appear!). On the AOR main page, click the “Customer Data Capture” link to launch the report.  Here’s an image of the report with some additional information on how it works:

Customer Data Capture with Callouts

Why not take a few minutes right now and see how you’re doing?  As always, contact the Ascend Support Team at 877-875-8663 or help@ascendrms.com with any questions.

News & Notes

  • Participating in Trek Fest? Click here for valuable information on preparing for the sale.
  • Microsoft support for Windows XP is ending in less than 2 weeks. Are you ready?
  • If you haven’t upgraded to version 2.9, you should. Check out our release notes and recorded webinar to see what you’re missing.

 

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Spring has Sprung!

In Customers,Inventory,Marketing,Reports,Sales,Version Updates on March 21, 2014 by Mark Hoggatt Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Spring has sprung and so has Ascend Version 2.9!  We released the latest version this past Tuesday night (3/18).  Over 400 locations have updated.  If you haven’t yet, there are plenty of reasons to do it now.

Read All About It: 

We’ve been blogging about the reasons to update since the end of January.  Here’s a summary of the articles for you:

But Wait, There’s More!

  • We hosted webinars earlier this week to show you how all these new features work.  If you couldn’t make it, you can still watch it.  Click here to view a recording.
  • There are more new updates and fixes not mentioned here or the webinar.  Read about them in our newly formatted, concise release notes.
  •  The Inventory and Sales History Report is available for you to use now on Ascend Online Reports.  The Customer Data Capture Report will be available next week.  Watch the next two editions of this blog for more details.

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It’s Time for Your Ascend Health Checkup

In Inventory,Reports on March 14, 2014 by Mark Hoggatt Tagged: , ,

Many of us wouldn’t know it from the weather, but Spring is just around the corner.  Before Spring arrives, make sure your Ascend database is healthy and ready.  We’ve added a new Ascend Health Checkup report in Version 2.9 to help you.

Accessing & Running the Report:

To access the report, you can log into Ascend Online Reports (AOR) from anywhere with a web browser.   You can also get to it from the Ascend client by clicking on the new AOR button in the Reports screen.  You’ll need the Reports – Online Reports permission to access AOR either way.   Scroll down to the Inventory folder to select “Ascend Health Checkup”.   Click on the report link to run it.  If you have multiple locations you’ll have to select the desired location and then click the Run Report button.

What’s Your Inventory Health Score?

When you run the Ascend Health Checkup report, it asks your system questions about how well you’re managing your product records and how well you’re controlling your inventory.  For each question you get a score.  It tells you why it’s important and what you can do if you have a low score.  You can run the report anytime to see how you’re doing and to track your progress.  It’s an especially great report to run before your next continuous improvement (aka C.I.) event.

Version 2.9 Webinars:

Version 2.9 will be available for everyone to download on Tuesday night (3/18).  On Wednesday morning (3/19) we’ll be hosting two training webinars to show you how to use the new features. Click on one of the links below to register.  If you can’t make it in person, we’ll be posting a recording that you can view at any time.

 

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The XPocalpyse is near. Are you ready?

In General on March 7, 2014 by Mark Hoggatt Tagged: , , , ,

It’s time to replace any of the remaining Windows XP PCs you have in your stores.  Here’s why:

  1. You can get a great deal on new PCs right now.  Contact our Ascend Sales Rep, Pat Gronemus, at sales@ascendrms.com for a quote.
  2. Support Ends on April 8th.  Microsoft won’t support XP after this date.  They won’t be issuing updates of any kind.  Attacks are expected to follow soon after April 8th.  Click here for more details from Microsoft’s Security Blog.
  3. XP PCs Won’t Be Able to Upgrade to Ascend Version 2.10.  For your sake, we need to keep up with the latest programming technologies.  The latest technologies won’t run on XP.  You can upgrade to Version 2.9 this month.  You won’t be able to upgrade these PCs to Version 2.10 in June or any version after that.

Not sure if your PC is running Windows XP?  Go to http://amirunningxp.com to find out.

Attention Windows 7 and 8 Users:  Make sure your computers are current with the latest Windows service packs and updates. If they’re not, you’ll need to get up to date before you can upgrade to Version 2.10.

Version 2.9 is Coming Soon!

Ascend Version 2.9 is in early release.  Over 100 locations have already upgraded and are enjoying the new features.  It will be available for everyone on March 18th.

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