The latest News from GPK Retail Solutions

Merlin ESP Stock System Update – version:

GPK Retail is proud to announce the release of Merlin ESP Stock System Update version:
This release is for all users currently utilizing version 2.9.4.x.
Accompanying this update will be a production program CD (marked with the Date and Version number above). To install this update please call GPK Retail and if applicable we will dial in update your systems as required.

Minor Changes

Support issues

We have added I some extra parameters so that the email address that is activated when you hit the “Contact Support” button on the menu is configurable.  This allows dealers or Head Offices to set this initial contact email to suit them.  This can be found in:

System Admin  >  System Options  >  Site Setup   >   Install Options   >   Support email address.

There is also a RAPS email address for future use.
We have also made an internal change to the way the system reacts to a call for an automated process.  There was an issue where if the call was made while a low level user was logged on, then the security level would switch to a higher level.  This was particularly noticed when sending EDI orders. This has been corrected.

Archived files are now using date/times in names to give more information.
Added more logging to the End Of Day routine so that it is easier for support to pin point issues.
Bug fix in Export programs that could see settings cleared has been fixed.
Changes to Frequent shopper calling program to allow for move away from Paradox.
FTP (External Export) program changed to allow for some options to be ignored when files not available, to stop non important messages appearing.
Support for Metcash Export to Not Send Cost information for Direct suppliers.

Vendor Sales Report has had the Monthly breakdown added back in.

Head Office File Creation bug fixed where if Mix & Match was actually on an item then it was not getting validated with the Store List on the Mix & Match.

We have removed the restriction on Mix & Match quantities having to be greater than 1 for a standalone Mix & Match if it is a discount (ie not a new Retail as that would be a special).  This way you can now select a range of product to be say 20% off for a period of time.

Added ability for seeding of Auto Mix & Match numbers.  Only required if Auto Mix & Match numbers are clashing with your Host.  If required support will set this up.  As part of this we have increased the Mix & Match ID to 8 digits in stores (for Merlin POS sites) and Head Office.

We have a new Item Sales Report that shows Locations and Supplier References.

Core Range Support for Metcash – Version 3

We have added in support for the “Metcash Core Range” specification Version 3.  This version has included in it Black & Gold PPR and Black & Good Price Match.  For more information on Core Range, please contact Metcash.  The general rules about how an items is treated if it is in an active Core Range still apply. For more details on that please refer to the 3.1.0.x Update notes.

Changes in Version 3 Core Range in terms of Merlin ESP are as follows:

The button to activate Core Range has been changed from Core Range to “Competitive Pricing Programs”.   This is still found under:  System Admin  >  System Options  >  Preferences.

This now shows all the Competitive Pricing options so that they can all be set individually (screen shot below).  Which options you select will depend on which programs you are a part of. These will be provided by Metcash.


In Head Office System you will need to setup the selections for each store in Store Maintenance (as Below).  So there is now a “Comp. Pricing” button which brings up the above form to allow for the settings for each store to be set,.

In Product Maintenance we have moved the “Comp. Pricing Item?” field on the Controls tab so that we have more room to display the larger literals.  These literals are now also displayed in the Pricing screen where applicable, and in line with the branding we have made Black & Gold literals display with Black writing on a Gold background.

Note: Active indicates that this item is a core item in Metcash file and set active in Store.
Inactive indicates that this item is a core item in Metcash file but not set active in Store.
Labels program is now also using the new literals, and we are breaking on each Range if requested to do so.

The selection Criteria also now reflects the same options.

Label Changes

We have added in some extra fields that you can set, to allow for some different types of labelling for Mix & Match tickets.
This allows us to do tickets like below.

See Appendix A for label types using these options.

We have also added in some extra checking for large label counts that come through.  This is to help when large numbers have accidentally been entered into the Label Count Field.  It will warn of the large number and show you the item that has caused it.
When printing Mix & Match tickets we have changed at the request of users that when you elect to print a ticket for each item, it uses the Number Of Labels on the product to determine how many of each label to print, NOT the label count set on the Mixd&Match..

With the change in the allowance of Frequent Shopper promotions being on at the same time as a normal promotion, then the “non Member price” could actually be a special and not just the normal retail.  So we have had to change the label program to recognise this fact in regard to special tickets.  This was also the case with new features added to the Mix & Match tickets that allow for the normal retail to be on the tickets.  With these changes we also had to add in the ability to request tickets when these underlying conditions change, such as usual price.

MerlinPOS Interface Changes

We have added in a change to the “End of Day” sales collection, where if we do not get the sales on the first attempt, we re-request for them (up to 5 times).  This is if the SQL Server is busy, sometimes the first request can time out.  We have also changed the logic so that if we get PLU sales, but fail to get Department sales, then we will continue on with the End of Day.  This is because we can complete most of the other End of Day functions once we have the PLU Sales.  If this does happen then you would be able to go in the next day and run an EOD for yesterday and this would collect the department sales only, as the PLU sales will have been flagged as sent.

We have added support for the three message types on the PLU’s that are supported by MerlinPOS. These have been added to Product Maintenance and we have added in a Messages button so you can see the Message numbers values.  To refresh this list from the tills go to System Administration  >  System Options  >  Point Of Sale  >  Interface Options  >  Press the Messages button.

The Messages button is also available in the Department Maintenance screen for helping with setting the defaults at the department level.

We have also added support for the three discount flags that can be set on an item with Merlin POS. So Discount Allowed flag has been replaced by “General Discount”, and we have added Staff Discount, and Account Discount.  Ticking any of these indicates the discount is allowed in those areas.  NOTE: The new flags default to the same setting as General Discount.

We have added in support for Lay By Sales in that we now collect a Lay By Sales file from Merlin POS.  We then use this to move stock from the Store to the Lay By Location.  For this to be used you need both Stock Locations setup in Merlin ESP and Lay By’s setup in Merlin POS.

If you are using Lay By’s then you will need to setup the following:

  1. Enable the use of External Storage Locations.  Sysem Administration > System Options > Preferences > Inventory > Use External Locations..
  2. Using the Locations button on the same page, define, at the very least, a location called, say, “Lay By”.
  3. Mark that LayBy location as being “Not For Sale”
  4. Still within the Maintain Locations application, select that location in the grid and hit the “Set LayBy” button. This should show the id of that location in the “Lay By Id” box at the bottom right of the form.

We have removed the restriction in the system that would not let a Frequent Shopper promotion come on if there was another promotion already on.  This restriction existed because of the Fujitsu registers not being able to handle this scenario.  Merlin POS though can handle both being on at the same time so this is now possible. With this change though we have had to change the labels as described below in “Ticketing Changes”.

Also as a result of this we have changed the layout of the prices tab so that these Frequent Shopper Specials can be seen more easily.  Screen real estate being at a premium, we have gone with showing just the absolute essentials for the special details. (So e.g. the buy period for a sell special is not shown and so on.) we have also reworked it so that they always appear in a fixed order in fixed places – buy, sell and freq – see example below.

We have also changed the “source/origin” literal to show the Host Promotion Group ID instead of the Host name.  If the ID (or name if we go that to that) is empty, then it falls back to showing host name.

As before, more or less, the boxes only appear where there is something to show, so the first edit button changes as necessary. See below.

Manual Invoicing Changes – incl. Stock Locations

As part of changes made to Manual Invoicing we have added in the ability to allocate stock to different locations.  This has been designed for a customer who has an off-site warehouse.  To activate this feature you need to set a parameter under System Options > Preferences > Inventory > “Use External Storage Locations”.  Under this tab there is also a Locations button that allows for you to setup the names of the external locations.  There is no need to add a Store location as that is assumed.  In future changes it is envisaged that this area will also be used for Laybys, so a “Not For Sale” option is available on the locations, but more on that when the time comes.

Coming with this is also a Storage Transfer facility that allows for you to move stock from one location (ie warehouse) to another (ie Store).  This can be found under the Stocktake Menu.  Also if using the external location the Maintain Products screen will show an information button next to the Quantity On Hand field that will allow you to see total qty’s based on all locations.  The Quantity On Hand field still show the stock in the store only.  The various programs that look at the Quantity On Hand field have also been changed to look at the different locations if required.  The Manual Invoicing program now allows for the invoicing to be into a location (if the parameter above is set).

We have changed the look of the invoicing program to make it clearer to see all the options available, so there is now a whole page for the Invoice options rather than squishing them in the top.  We have also added in some features to try and make for a one stop shop, in response to customer request.  So there are now option to allow for the editing of the number in carton, and also for forcing of labels for the items.

We have also added to the Totals in the bottom right to try and help with balancing.  Before it would just show a total for the invoice which could have been Inclusive or exclusive of GST, depending on how you were entering it.  We have no expanded that to show Totals Exclusive of GST, the GST Total and Totals Inclusive of GST.

There is also a layout changed for Toyworld that will show the extra fields they requested.  For all other customers these will not be seen.

Also in response to user feedback we have changed the way the searching button acts.  Now when searching for a supplier reference and only one result is returned we will auto select that item, rather than ask for confirmation.

Also we have added an additional button “Add From List” which delivers the exact same functionality as the old “Add Item” with the “Search Supplier’s Items Only” checked. The “Add Item” button, now does a search, that can be moderated by the “Search Supplier’s Items Only”.  So now if you search by hitting the “Add Item” button and the “Search Supplier’s Items Only” is checked then when you search by Supplier reference it will only return items attached to that supplier.

New Review Order Utility

In response to a request for assistance in creating promotional orders we have created this utility to review and adjust an order, as well as create a promotional order at the same time.  When you fire this utility up, you select the order that you want to review in the normal manor.  This will bring up a screen like that shown below.

At the top of the screen under the banner “(Main) Order File” is the order that you have just chosen to review.  In the middle of the screen under the banner “Specials” are the specials that are attached to the current item you are looking at in the order.  What specials you see here are determined by the “Show Which Specials?” radio buttons on the left.  The highlights of the Costs in the specials are to indicate the discount (%) of the specials.  These colours can be seen in the top right corner.  The quantities here are used as defaults when you want to add the item to the Promotional Order (which is located at the bottom). 

They are in terms of weekly sales, so that is the discount is 20% of the normal cost then it will order 2 weeks worth of stock.  The starting point for the order will be the same qty that is in the current order.  If there is an item you want to add to the Promotional Order, then hit the “Add to Prom. Order” button at the top right corner.  This will add the item to Promotional Order at the bottom of the screen.  When you exit you can save this order and will be told the name which is “Order PROMO” followed by the date time you saved the order.  If you want you can save this promotional order and come back and re-load that by hitting the “Load Existing Prom.Order” button at the bottom left. 

You can also use the “Select Order” button on the bottom panel to change the order you are reviewing.  There is also a “Refresh Specials” button in so you can get up to date information if people are working on the system, or you have made changes.  Also to try and make things quicker we have included a tick box at the top of the Order file you are reviewing to just show items that have specials according to the Specials radio box, and show the Best Available cost in the Order grid.  This utility will show not only items that are in the Stock file, but also the Master file if you have not activated the item yet.

Appendix A

New Mix&Match Label formats

Due to the extra information that is required on some labels, the user will need to predefine what is required for this information to be printed.

To that end,  the new label printing screen now has a new section at the bottom right of the screen where this information can be entered. This will be saved when first used and is not needed to  be re-entered each time the label is printed.

Users should create new labels groups within the Mix&Match manager to attach the various M&Ms to, so they will be sorted separately at time of printing..

Standard multibuys with “Each” Price

This will be called Port 9up M&M Ea and new settings are as below
This will be called Port 9up M&M Item Ea  or  Port 9up M&M Item Liq  and new settings are as below
This will be called Port 1up M&M Item Each  and new settings are as below

ALM Multi Bottle Buy Labels.

ALM have requested that users be able to print labels that have the “each” price of a Multi Bottle buy plus the normal price if the Multi buy is not achieved.

Three new labels have been designed for this purpose.
Attached are the ALM examples of the labels required and the MerlinESP settings to Print these.

Note: The Merlin labels  are not an exact match to the ALM examples, but are similar in style  and layout.
This will be called Port 9UP MM ALM and new settings as below
This will be called Port 9UP ALM  REV
This will be called Port 1UP MM ALM