The latest News from GPK Retail Solutions

Merlin ESP Stock System Update – version: 4.1.3.0

GPK Retail is proud to announce the release of Merlin ESP Stock System Update version: 4.1.3.0.
This release is for all users currently utilizing version 3.2.2.0.
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.

Important

SQL Server Conversion

In this version we have finalised the move away from the Paradox database to the Microsoft’s SQL Server database. This was as a result of the paradox database not being supported any longer with new operating system like windows 7 and Windows 10. The move to Microsoft’s SQL Server was one that was the most convenient as that is what most customers already have in their store. If you do not have a copy of Microsoft’s SQL Server you will need to get yourself a copy.

The advantages of going with Microsoft’s SQL Server:
Compatibility with modern operating systems
There are new versions of Microsoft’s SQL Server that come out every few years, and as it is a Microsoft compatibility with Microsoft Operating systems like Windows is assured.
Data Size
Microsoft’s SQL Server is designed to be used by large companies and as such can retain very large amounts of data.
Compatibility
Microsoft’s SQL Server is a leading player in the database world, and as such there are many third party tools that we can take advantage of. Part of this will also be the ability to connect other devices to the data apart from just desktops.
Reliability
As a world leading in this field Microsoft’s SQL Server is a very stable database.

Please note though, that as Microsoft’s SQL Server is a much larger product than the paradox database it replaces, and as it will be running on the same Server as the Point Of Sale systems, there will be a slight decrease in the speed of some tasks. But there will also be a slight increase in speed in some other tasks.
So as part of this conversion we will be converting the data across from the paradox database to Microsoft’s SQL Server.

Minor Changes

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 have now using date/times in names to give more information.

FTP program changed to allow for some options to be ignored when files not available, to stop non important messages appearing.
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.
Added more logging to the End Of Day routine so that it is easier for support to pin point issues.

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.
Support for Metcash Export to Not Send Cost information for Direct suppliers.
Changes to Frequent shopper calling program to allow for move away from Paradox.
Bug fix in Export programs that could see settings cleared has been fixed.

We have a new Item Sales Report that shows Locations and Supplier References.
The Zero Stock On Hand now includes the ability to zero stock figures in Locations;
We have changed the default margins when adding new lines to use the defaults that are set in the departments. NOTE: You will need to set these for each department under Stock Classification / Departments.

The External Exports program now also supports the IBA Sales extract, which means we no longer need the separate program for IBA Sales. This means that the End Of Days will run a lot quicker.
We have added support for Back Office Payments made in Merlin POS to be exported to accounting packages.
We have now allowed for the ability to zero the stock on hand for specific locations.
We have changed the Random Weight Report to allow for non-random weight lines so that a total value on a meat fridge can be got in one PDE file. If non RW it used to ignore, now it will show values based on PDE qty and current costs

We have included the Number In Carton field as one of the fields that triggers the Family replication.
Have changed the Storeline End Of Day procedures to bring in to line with MerlinPOS in that External Exports and IBA sales will now run as part of End Of Day, meaning scheduled tasks setup to run these jobs can now be removed

Stock Admin has been updated to allow for running at Head Office sites.
Now for New Records added that are direct items, the Warehouse indicator will be set to ‘D’ and slow mover and General Merchandise flags set to false, even if they have been cloned from an item that has these set. Also the Core Range Indicator will not be cloned anymore.
In Head Office system you can now setup store lists via a list of stores. This has been added into all places where such lists are used (Mix & Match, Store File Creation, Reports, etc.)

Select Button gives you a list of your stores grouped by Promotional Group.

You can select stores individually or if you select Promotional Group, then all stores in that Group will be selected.
Error messages that are generated out of the “tbStock” will now timeout always (60 seconds) – for safety. This is mainly so that when running unattended processes they don’t stop because of one bad line. The bad lie will be reported in the log of the running program.
We have allowed for the definition in Label formats to include the Aisle Location field. So if you would like the Aisle number on your tickets then please contact support.
In Head Office we have made the Changes date accessible even if you choose to select All products in Selection.

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:

If you are wanting to activate the Competitive Pricing Program (also referred to as Core Range)) for Merlin ESP then the first thing you should do is contact Raps Support to make sure you have the correct version to run with the current version that Metcash is sending out.
The Competitive Pricing Program is a Metcash initiative that creates a group of items that must follow the hosted recommended retail price. If you elect to activate the “Competitive Pricing Program” then the following rules are applied to the items in the Competitive Pricing Program:
• Price Overrides are removed from the item
• Competitive Pricing products will be printed on separate stationary
• Reporting on Competitive Pricing products only
If you need more details of the “Competitive Pricing Program” program and how it works from Metcash end, please contact Metcash. You will need to contact Metcash to find out which Competitive Pricing Program you are participating in so you know which tick boxes to set.
New Parameters:
In System Administration > System Options > Preferences > Pricing, there is a button labelled “Competitive Pricing Program?” Here you select which levels you will be doing for the Metcash supported Competitive Pricing Program. Again, please contact Metcash for which Competitive Pricing Program you should set yours to. The Options are:

If you select any of the options, then they system will do a pass of all items to enforce the Competitive Pricing Program Rules at the levels you have selected.
In System Administration > System Options > Preferences > Labels, there are two new parameters:
Separate Active Core Range Items: If turned “ON”, labels will be primarily grouped into active Competitive Pricing and non- Competitive Pricing Program items.

No other breaks in Active Core Range: Applicable when separating Active Competitive Pricing Items. If checked, other breaks (e.g. label group) will be turned “off” within Competitive Pricing Items.

Applying Host Updates:

If Competitive Pricing is active then when an item is sent from Metcash flagged as a Competitive Priced product, the item will have any override removed.
Product Maintenance:

There’s a new combo box on the controls page which is only visible where the host is Metcash, BasX or Head Office. The combo box is only usable if the user is level 5.
If a “Competitive Pricing Program” level is not set then the field will show “None”. This allows for a store to set the Core Range level for an item.
NOTE: Metcash advise that this should not be done. The choices are all the types of Competitive Pricing Programs plus:
None Indicates the item does not have a Competitive Pricing Program Level set. If this is not a Competitive Priced item at the Host, then this may get reset when an update comes from Metcash for this item.
This could be used to correct a mistake at Host.
Never This flags the item to Never be a Competitive Pricing Program product. This will stop any updates from the Host setting this Competitive Pricing Program Flag.

Also, on the pricing screen, if an item is an ACTIVE Competitive Pricing Program product, a prominent indicator is shown just above the Retail prices.
If you try and change the price of a Competitive Pricing Program product you will be asked told that the item is part of the Competitive Pricing Program and that you are supposed to follow the Host pricing. You are then given four choices that allow for the Competitive Pricing Program Flag (above) to be set on the fly:

NOTE: Competitive Pricing Program = Core Range

Continue. Allow the change to proceed:
Note, if this is caused by the addition of an over-ride, this over-ride will be removed in accordance with rules if you continue with the item as is.)
Continue, but take item out of Core Range temporarily.
(It may get reinstated after a Host Update):
Continue, but take out of Core Range permanently
(i.e. Lock out of Core Range)
Cancel the Change

Labels:

For “normal labels”, we have added another optional level of control break for “Separate and Group Active Competitive Pricing Items”. And subsidiary to that, another option to decide whether to turn off lower level control breaks for the Competitive Priced Items (only) – i.e. so that they come out in one group irrespective of label group, warehouse type etc.

Selection Criteria:
If “Competitive Pricing Program” parameter are set, and there are values in the Stock file, then the selection criteria now has a Competitive Pricing Program for setting up Selection Criteria’s. This means any report in the system can be run for Competitive Pricing Program items only if you so want. In the Selection Criteria this is labelled “Core Range Item?”
Head Office Maintain.

For each store you will need to set the Competitive Pricing Programs that each store will be participating in. So when creating files for stores if the Competitive Pricing Program is set to none for a store, then pricing will happen as per normal. If a Competitive Pricing Program is set then if that item qualifies for that level then the base retail will be sent to the store without any pricing rules being applied.

To do this there is now a “Comp. Pricing” button which brings up the above form to allow for the settings for each store to be set.

Manual Invoicing

We have added in a checklist box so that you can choose the columns that you wish to see on the Invoice Entry tab. Note that depending on your edit choices some columns may not be allowed to be turned off. For example if you elect to enter Quantities via Cartons, then you can’t hide the Carton Column. As with other options, these visibility options are saved when you exit.

There is now an option for entering in new APN’s while entering in an invoice.
We have added in the ability to enter in bonus stock to an invoice. If you want to enter bonus stock then you need to tick the Bonus Stock column to be visible. Then when entering data, if a particular line is bonus stock, you just flick the flag on for that line. If you enter a cost or new retail, these will be cleared automatically. If it’s bonus stock no updating of cost/retail is done, but the average cost is updated (using a cost of zero for the qty entered), the value of purchases YTD is not updated, and a history entry is created for the qty entered (but with a value of zero).

In line with this new field there are two new columns on the report. The first is for any APNs entered (or imported), and the second is for the bonus stock indication. The headings are only shown when there is something in the data (i.e. a non-empty APN or a line with bonus stock flagged ON).
We have now added in the ability for the addition of items to the grid from within the grid, rather than hitting a search button. Items are identified either by PDE, APN or suppliers reference.

To allow this to happen, there is a new “add items directly in grid” option. You can add an entry using the Insert key, the down arrow and TAB keys (to open up a new record) and the ESCape key and Arrow keys/TAB keys to abort an entry. The navigator is visible for everyone, but the insert button is only visible if the “add items directly in grid” option is selected. Part of this change is also to allow for the for Supplier References search to also look at the Master file for the primary host. So the display there would look like:

We have fixed a bug in the Version 4 system where when you added a new invoice we were not reverting to the new supplier for the “Supplier Items” search button.
We have also changed the use of the date entry so you can still use the drop down, but now you can also just enter the date as you do in Product maintenance.
Allowed for the changing of GST flag, and if done then reflect the changes in invoice edit.

Scale Manager

We have changed the Avery Interface so that if the Print Expiry Flag is not set, then we send zero in the expiry days field to stop driver from flicking this flag on when it saw Expiry days set.

For Wedderburn we have changed the Linked Texts so that they are now configurable texts. This is in line with a request from Wedderburn to allow for sites to be configured differently. Please consult with your Wedderburn dealer when setting these.

Added a parameter to allow for Head Office to overwrite Store Descriptions.

Product Maintenance

Due to popular demand we have changed back the specials display to how it was in Version 3.1.

Have added in extra functionality for Product Group and Supplier searching.
Now in the Categories tab, you can still select from the drop down list or, you can hit the Find button next to it and search for it using the new search box.

This allows you to search for the product group/supplier by normal search methods found in selection criteria. This also shows you other items that are attached to that product group / supplier to help in selecting the right one.

If you are searching for a product and you select product group/supplier and type in a description into the search field, you will also get this form, but if you double click an item in the right side, then that item will open up.

We have re-organised the “POS Details” tab sheet to accommodate additional of fields in PLU Table. Basically we have switched the APN box with the POS flags box. This rearranging means we have expanded the detail on Mix & Match box as well as expanded the APN box so those extra fields can be seen. The new field in this version is the “Fixed RW” tcik box. This is used when you have a Random Weight (RW) barcode but it is to be set in Scale Manager as a Fixed Price. Setting this will flow through Scale Manager and set the Fixed Price flag. When Sales are collected it will then report the Quantity of sales as units (not calculate kilos as it would normally do for a random weight barcode).

As the internal item number is now 8 digits we have changed the Auto search logic in this latest version. So what did happen was that if the length of the entered number was <= 6 digits then we would search for Item number, else we would search for an APN number. Now that the item number length is eight digits we clah with UPC numbers that are also 8 digits. So before when you searched for a UPC it was bigger tha 6 digits so search APN. Now it is <= 8 digits so stayed at Item number. So what we have done is now if the entered number is <= 8 digits AND is a valid item number we search for an item number, else we do an APN search.

Host Updates – General

We have made changes to way we split the Metcash full description to better allow for their entries that contain prices, like Gift Cards or Phone re-charges.
Changes have been made to Host Apply Updates for Head Office sites to take-up a new converted format.

Metcash Version 7 Host Changes (Future)

In preparation for the Metcash Version 7 changes that will happen next year, we have added in support for the changing of the item numbers from a six digit number to an 8 digit number.

This includes a new parameter for changing the Size of the Item Numbers. This will default to 6, so nothing needs to be set at this point.
This flows thru to profiles, and again, no action required at present. These settings can be set at the PDE level.

Product Maintenance

We have made the Ware house indicator larger to accommodate extra values added in V7. There is some changes in the Specials edit to allow for new fields that will be displayed when the V7 change takes place.

There has some new fields have been added to the Stock and Specials tables in preparation for V7, as well as some new tables. A new field “Export to External Apps” to help control the export of information for Online shopping sites (this will default to being on). This is supported by Head Office and is also an availablefiled in the maintainable fields in Stock Spreadsheet. There are also new classification files that have been added to support the new MSC structure that Metcash want implemented. This can sit beside your current structure, or in place of it. That will be a decision that you can make at a later date. The sepcials tables also have some new fields to help support V7. A Promotionl ID should allow for Metcash to make updates to current running promotions. A placement field which will indicate how the promotion type has been promoted – in the brochure, on TV, or simply an in store promotion.
Host Apply Updates
New programs allow for the processing of the new Metcash V7 hosted files that are in XML format. Changes here to table structures for new fields as well as the addition of some new tables.
Host Apply Updates
New programs allow for the processing of the new Metcash V7 Invoice files that are in XML format. We are yet to complete the interface for the ALM Version 8 Invoice format as they are yet to complete the development at their end. Reports needed changing to accommodate the new headings and 8 digit item numbers. Also updated so that reports not asked for, will now not appear (previously were appearing empty).
Have added functionality to table restructure programs to allow for the loading of Data. No affect for customers, but allows us to update easier in relation to new tables for Metcash Version

Host Invoices

In response to a customer accidentally processing a Host Invoice twice, we have added in an option to Apply Host Invoices that allows you to run it in reverse mode.

For safety reasons this has been classified as a high end user function and so you may need to call support to have it run, But if you do have the privileges then you can hit the key combination of CTRL-ALT-R. This will toggle the visibility of the Reverse Invoices Option. If not visible then the option is off. When it is made visible it is turned on

Stock Admin

We have made some changes to the Stock Administration program. This program does routine clean-up work on the system.
The “Remove Items added BEFORE Date that have NO APN or PLU” is now looking at the Never Cull flag on the item, and if set will not remove the item even if it qualifies for removal.

We have also added a clean-up of aged files (old host updates, host invoices, PDE files, old log files, etc.).
Also we have added in support for Head Office Systems, so that tables on the Head Office side will now also get cleaned.

We have added in a new “Check Stock for Cost and Retails in excess of system Limit”. This compares costs and retails in the system to the parameter “Maximum Allowable Cost/Retail” (for more information see the document in Help: Stock Admin – Max Cost Retail). It will attempt to recover costs and retails in excess of limit by looking in the master (except for over-ride) and then the Change History. Failing all else, it may set a forced cost of 599 and may also set a forced retail of 999. Before and after values are reported on.

EDI Invoicing

Introduced new option “AutoMatchVendor”. This defaults to false, but if you set it to true then for an automatic match on supplier’s ref then if it’s the only reference exactly like that, then accept it without asking for OK. We are also now copying processed EDI Invoices to a SaveEDI directory that will be cleaned up the usual way by Stock Admin.