Month: May 2014

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Warranty Claims – Layout – Define Screen Layouts

Well, I thought I might as well do posts on the Warranty Claims.  I wanted to start talking about the Layout section of configuration.  If you are familiar with the notification or equipment records, you should be very familiar with this concept.  You have a lot of building blocks, and endless possibilities of what to show, what sequence and what tab.  Let me show you just how flexible it can be.  The Define Screen Layouts is ever more flexible, in my opinion, than the equipment record or notification.  You have unlimited items you can load onto a tab, not just the standard 4 or 5 fixed locations.

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Using OWTY, you can see the layout folder.  Define Screen Layouts is our destination today.

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So, you will now notice the familiar tree structure on the left.  If you are designing your own layout, I highly encourage you to copy one of the existing layouts and change it to fit your needs.  For demonstration purposes, I’ll walk you through the SAP layout.  Highligh SAP, then double click on the Tab Page Title on the left.

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Now on this portion, you can see each tab that is configured for the layout.  Again, you can define as few or as many tabs to be displayed for your layout.  You can also adjust the titles of each tab.  For demonstration, I’ll select the Header Details tab, to show you the next drill down.

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Now, for those of you familiar with the equipment configuration, this will be somewhat familiar.  The nice thing to notice is that you are not confined to the 4 or 5 fields.  You can add as few or as many boxes as you want.  The Group Box contains sets of fields that you can add.  Unfortunately, you cannot alter the fields within a group box, but at least you can limit what you show.  As an example, check out some of the many group boxes available for the warranty claim layout.

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This is the part that typically requires a lot of experimenting.  Many of the options look similar, but will have quite a different look and feel.  So I encourage you test each one to make sure the optimal selection is made.

You’ll just continue this process for each tab, until you have your claim layout.  Remember, if you create a new layout, you will need to go back to your claim configuration and enter this new layout.

thanks for reading,

 

Warranty Claims – Control Data – Warranty Check

Well, I recently talked with some old colleagues about an upcoming new avenue of business for them.  One of the options was Warranty claims, so that got me thinking that I should get back to this configuration piece of warranty claims 🙂  Today I’ll discuss the Warranty Check.  The configuration itself is pretty straightforward.  The idea behind this single piece of configuration is how the action (A200 Warranty Check) should behave.

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Using OWTY you can see where to configure this step.

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Now the configuration portion only has 2 pieces.  One is the LinkItemResults which can be either AND or OR.

This field comes into play if you have a complex master warranty that contains more than 1 item.  So if you have a simple time based, this won’t impact you at all.  But if your master warranty has multiple items within it, and you select AND, then all items must be true for it to be considered under warranty.  If you select OR, any one item will suffice to be considered under warranty.

The FactoryCalender is exactly what it sounds likes.  Just another calender, that will be used to calculate time based warranties.

I’ll try to post more warranty claims config in the coming days, as I don’t have anything else interesting to post at the moment.  I’m currently trying to catch up on my sleep after 3 incredibly long weeks.

Thanks for reading, and as always, if you want to hear about something in particular, let me know.

Powering Through… Is it worth it?

In my career, I’ve often had to fight through long stretches of work, with minimal sleep.  I’m in the midst of another of those stretches, and I’m realizing a few things.  The question I keep asking is “is it worth it?”.  A simple question, with a very complicated answer.

Now I’m used to working long hours because I have my “day job” and also my business.  Due to the nature of the game, my business has to take a back seat to the “day job”.  So I’m used to working late nights to keep my business moving toward my goal of doing my business full time.  So, I would’ve thought that doing the “night shift” during testing wouldn’t be bad.  Initially, it was ok, I get to watch all the hockey games, even the ones that don’t end until after midnight.  =)  but after a few nights, I started to notice how exhausted I was ever day.  Much of the problem is my controlling nature.  I’m responsible for a big chunk of the work, so I don’t want anyone else touching my models.  Now, this is a stupid mentality to have.  I’m a contractor, so these models won’t be mine forever.  Yet, I still don’t want to give them up.  I don’t even know why…  but I’ll save that conversation for another day.  But this is driving me to work the late shift from 10-2am, get up at 7am, get Alex rolling and off to school, then I log in for most of the rest of the day.  I take an hour off here and there, or maybe even take a brief nap, but in general, I’m “On” for the full day, and then again from about 9pm – 2am, Sunday – Thursday.

this is nearing the end of week 3.  Happily, the final week.  Here’s what I figured out…

1. I’m not as young as I used to be, so functioning indefinitely with little to no sleep, just doesn’t work.  Read my post on the “Sabbath” if you want to understand why 🙂

2. I have 2 small kids.  That means when I’m not working, I’m with them.  either playing, feeding, or putting them to bed.  That takes a lot more energy than I ever realized.

3.  Being “on” at the day job is a lot more taxing mentally than moving onto my own business stuff.  First off, I love doing my stuff for Javellin, so I don’t think of it as work.  Doing the “day job” means I need focused on work for far longer than I like.

4.  As the weeks have gone on, I’ve noticed that I’m getting sloppy, not focusing as well, and making a lot more simple mistakes that I generally wouldn’t make.  Simply, I’m tired, mentally and physically, so I’m not at my best.

All these combine to one simple fact…  I can’t do the 12 hour days for 3 straight weeks.  1 or 2 weeks, maybe for a go-live, but for testing, it’s not worth it.

The morale of this story…  don’t kill yourself because you’re too stubborn to let other help you.  It is not in anyone’s best interest.

Thanks for reading,

It’s Business – Don’t take it personally

You know, those words are so easy to say, but often difficult to live by.  If you’re anything like me, when you get stressed and tired, everything can feel like a personal assault.  It’s during these times that you really need to take a step back and not go on the defensive.

My current situation has me on a late night shift, and still working all day at my “day job”.  Realistically, this shouldn’t be that different from my normal work schedule, except that I get to work on my own stuff during the late nights.  But something about having to be “on” all day and “night” can be very tiring.  Also, when I start to get tired, I can’t just call it a night until my shift ends.  Because of this, I’ve noticed that I’m really tired, often irritable.  When I read my emails, I have this tendency to see things as an attack.  So, what’s important for me, and maybe you experience this too, is to hold off on any responses that you can while you feel like this.  Don’t IM, text, call, or email until you are more rested (or at least are a few minutes separated from reading).

The other important thing is to remember that rarely is anyone out to assault you.  If it’s a co-worker, they want everyone to succeed, so they are just pointing out opportunities to improve.  If it’s family, well, they love you, and just might not realize your frame of mind…  so there’s your word of advise…

thanks for reading,

Marketing – Segmenting your list

Well, lately it’s been marketing mode for me again.  As much as I want to spend my time developing, need to build the business up a little first 🙂  So one of my latest lessons has been segmenting my mailing lists.  Originally, when Mike and I started, we gathered up our prospect list, and put them into a couple of lists.  Seemed good.  It was based off of how promising the leads were.  Well, this can work if we didn’t have 2 very different segments to the business (at that time it was 3).  Since I’ve been the more focused marketer, it means I’ve been blogging more, and sending out more emails.  Well the problem is that a list that contains SM and PP and VC prospects, what do you suppose happens when the list only receives information about SM?  you guessed it…  lots of unsubscribes, because in general, PP and VC people don’t care about SM.

Well, after getting ourselves a decent list of prospects from our recent conference, we realized that we need to break these lists up and target the group effectively.  Of course, this is easier said than done, but Capsule CRM has actually been pretty good at helping me find the people that were broken into a segment.  There will always be some people we have no idea about, so they will get everything…  but the ones we know about, we can target to only send them PP stuff, or SM stuff.  In general, it’s probably better to send less stuff, than the wrong stuff.

So, that’s been one of my recent endeavors, to classify all of our prospects…  so now we have a few lists…  the next step is to send them useful information.  In general, I have more than enough blog posts, some white papers, etc. that I should be able to handle this 🙂  at least for a few months.  ha ha ha.

Anyway, take it from me…  focus the right information at the right people.  The spray and pray method, really doesn’t work (at least it didn’t for me).

thanks for reading,

Time Management – Outsourcing… but what???

It’s interesting, because as I read more books and listen to more audio program, similar these constantly keep appearing.  the latest thing I’ve heard is using outsourcing to do the work you don’t like.  I’ve heard it a few times before, but like so many things I looked at it, and thought…  eh…  I don’t need to do that.  Now that I realize just how valuable my time has become (maybe it’s because I feel like I have so little of it free), I find myself wondering, what can I outsource???

Those of you that know me, might describe me as hands-on (that’s a nice way of saying micro-manager/control freak) 🙂  While this isn’t all bad (as long as no one is micromanaging me. ha ha ha), it means that i Have a hard time letting things go to other people.  I’m even noticing it in my “day job” that I just don’t trust other people to do things…  so instead I try to run the whole show.  This is a terrible trait for someone that aspires to be independently wealthy and be able to enjoy life.  So my most recent struggle is…  what can I let go, to get some time back into my life?  I know myself well enough, to realize that I better start small, so I can get a quick win…  but when I look at my to-do list, it turns out I have a lot of little things…  none of which I’m anxious to hand over to someone else…  for example…

Paying random bills – there are always some bills that I have to log into my bank or the website and send a check for.  I could hand this over to my wife, but again… control freak.  I don’t want to hand over the checkbook…  so… what’s next…

check the garden, empty the compost pot…  I actually like doing these things.  Not glamorous, but I love mentally checking out…  so what’s next?

Writing blog posts…  well, as nice as it would be…  that’s gotta come from me.  Don’t get me wrong, anyone out there interested in doing a guest post, please hit me up.  I’d love to take a day off =)  but in general, this is something I can’t delegate…

File Papers… well, who the hell would understand my filing system.  To me it’s logical, but my friends will attest, what I see as logical, doesn’t always gel with the rest of the world.  Afterall, I was crazy enough to join the USMC at the age of 28.  I can’t be all there…

Creating landing pages for some of my new White Papers…  now, here’s a good potential.  I know I’m not the creative type, and someone could likely do this better than me…  ok.  I think I found my first potential…  but now what…  where do I go?  Elance?  on-line search?  crap, now I added something new to my list.  ha ha ha.  never ends.  But going forward, this might be a great place to start.

Infinite Development Tasks. Now here’s a potential as well.  I have so many things on my list, and really, coding another web app isn’t that exciting.  Rather, I’d prefer to do the design work, and then let someone else handle the web dynpro portions…  now, I need to find some help.

Well, thanks for letting me ramble…  And if you happen to be interested in some free lance development work, please let me know.  I’d love talk to you…

thanks for reading,

Variant Configuration – Balancing Options vs. Maintenance

Today, I’m going to talk a little bit about the “theory” of variant configuration.  I use the term loosely, because, well, everyone has their own theory.  I guess that’s why it isn’t a law 🙂  One of the struggles I encounter over and over again is clients that want to use the variant configurator to handle 100% of the options for a product.  Without a doubt, the first place I learned VC was still one of the most solid implementations I’ve ever seen.  But ever there, the line would occasionally get blurred.

Let me walk you through what I mean.  Whenever I walk into a VC project, I go in with the expectation of being able to handle 80% of the product options.  Some places more, some less, but it all depends on the complexity.  For example, let’s just say you have an option that is order twice a year, but it works like everything else.  It’s just a simple option, no complex logic, so in my mind, it’s a no brainer, add it and probably never sell it, but life isn’t any harder from a maintenance perspective.

Now, we take the flip side.  We have an option that gets order let’s just say 12 times a year.  But this option has a lot of extra rules built around when it can be picked, what it can be used with, complicated BOM components dependent on multiple things.  Well, now what do you say?  if it’s me, I try to push back saying it should be a special.  What’s a special Mike???  Well, very simple.  It’s a standard part number in the system, you can even copy the BOM rules from VC to get everything else right.  But you keep that stuff out of the VC.  “But why?  VC can handle it?”

While that statement is technically true, VC can handle most anything.  What becomes the defining factor is the increased logic that all the simple things now have to work around, along with the time to “decipher” what is happening every time a new option gets added, or something simple changes.  That costs time, money, and even processing speed.  For a “possible” 12 orders, that just as easily could have become standard part numbers.

Now everyone will take their own stance on this, and everyone is probably right…  for their scenario.  I’m just telling you from my standpoint, specials should be special…  standards should be VC 🙂

Thanks for reading,