Introduction to eSignature

 

eSignature functionality is here! We’re delighted to announce this much requested feature as an integrated part of our SQLWorks platform:

eSignature allows a SQLWorks user to generate a single-use URL for a PDF report format (such as a contract, letter or order template) to send to an external signatory. The signatory can access the PDF through their web browser – signing a (touchscreen compatible) signature field that is then merged onto their paperwork in the correct place.

Each signed document is then automatically saved back into your main SQLWorks database, allowing you to integrate this critical step into workflows, projects, and your other business operations.

 

esignature process

 

Signatures can be an essential CRM checkpoint, and can be used as evidence that a customer has approved a purchase, agreed to the next stage of a bigger project, or consented to important terms & conditions.

To confirm identity, signatories can be verified with pre-saved security questions, can be given time-limits to sign, and can be required to sign multiple times within the same document before submission is allowed.

Most importantly, SQLWorks eSignature functionality does not require expensive ‘per-signature’ costs as is the case for many well-known competitors – or any special prerequisite software for the signatory – and can be integrated with a wide range of SQLWorks other functions.

 

esignature

 

We expect this tool will evolve as SQLWorks companies find new and exciting uses for online signature technology – using the power of integrated software to make the approval process easier and more efficient.

For business software advice and expertise, please contact our team today.

Using Shipping Controls

According to recent ONS figures, over 30% of businesses in the UK experienced difficulties getting the stock they needed during 2021, as supply chain issues continue to bite. Ensuring goods and materials arrive on time, in the right place, has become an important part of maintaining productivity.

SQLWorks offers a range of optional shipping controls that can help businesses better manage challenging supply chains, including:

 

Consolidations

Consolidations allow a purchasing manager to group individual purchase orders together into a consolidated group (for example representing the contents of a single shipping container) and assign meta-data to that consolidation, such as freight vessel numbers, suppliers, delivery details, docking dates and more.

Each new consolidation can be managed from the Purchase Ledger – simply select the purchase orders that need to be grouped and move them across the screen from left to right to assign them to the container.

consolidations

Here you can also manage other important information about that container, including actual delivery circumstances, additional on-costs or customs duty, and complete the shipping process.

On-costs can even be automatically split among the contents of that container, allowing a business to factor in the cost of shipping goods into those stock items’ cost-prices, sale-prices, and their eventual profitability.

 

Barcoding

SQLWorks permits stock-handlers to assign a barcode to any stock item, for use elsewhere in the platform. Intelligent Stock Ledger search fields allow the user to also search based on these bar codes, identifying a stock item even if only its bar code is known.

barcoding

Besides each stock item’s ‘Bar Code’ field you can also generate a preview – this same technology can optionally be used on a company’s templates for orders, pick sheets, delivery notes and many others, to help speed-up stock identification wherever that paperwork needs to be used.

SQLWorks uses EAN13 barcode generation that is accurate, internationalised, and works with a wide range of 3rd-party barcode scanning devices.

 

Dangerous Goods & Tariff Codes

With the need to declare tariff codes for internationally shipped goods, and dangerous goods codes for anything hazardous, these can be assigned to any stock item in SQLWorks under the ‘Advanced’ Tab.

tariff codes

We use formats from the UK Department for International Trade’s published 2021 dataset as our starting point.

Much like pricing or descriptions, shipping codes can be merged wherever stock items appear on documentation – please discuss with the SQLWorks team if your business has any special requirements.

 

Please speak to the SQLWorks Team to learn how our software can transform business operations. Contact us.

Introduction to Backflushing

Backflushing is an alternative method of allocating components or materials to manufacturing, whereby stock is deducted only after production has been completed.

Backflushing makes it easier to work with quantities that would otherwise be highly impractical to ‘pick’ for use on Works Orders, and is a particularly useful technique when:

    • Components are too small or numerous to be ‘counted out’ in a sensible timeframe. (e.g.: screws, nuts, bolts, other low-cost parts used in volume.)
    • When materials are divisible, liquid, molten, gaseous, in lengths, weights, or otherwise issued ‘approximately.’ (e.g.: paint, ingredients, chemicals etc.)
    • Where a ‘spare’ quantity needs to be returned to stock after manufacturing is finished. (e.g.: scrapings, leftovers, recycled material.)

In SQLWorks every component on a Bill of Material (BOM) has a default allocation method – either ‘Standard’, ‘Backflush’ or ‘Return’ which defines how stock of this item will be ‘used up’ in the Stock Ledger. These work as follows:

    • ‘Standard’ – This is the default, and is used for all items that need to be counted out in advance of production. Components will be removed from stock when the user clicks ‘Take’ on the Works Order, before production begins.
    • ‘Backflush’ – Components will only be removed from stock after the Works Order is built, and the user is then asked to specify how much has been used.
    • ‘Return’ – Similar to backflushing, however components will only be removed from stock after the Works Order is built, and the user is then asked to specify a ‘spare’ quantity that gets returned to stock.

By changing a component stock item to ‘Backflush’ on a BOM, nothing will be removed from stock at the ‘Take’ stage, instead being deducted only after that BOM has been ‘built’ on a Works Order. The user can then specify how much has (or hasn’t) been used.

This is significantly more practical for certain items – although production managers may need to initially estimate the stock quantity of a Backflush item that they expect to use on its BOM (e.g.: how much paint an item typically needs.)

The user can edit a component’s default type by right clicking on it in a BOM, and choosing ‘Change Component Type.’ Components set to Backflush will be marked with a small ‘B’ symbol in the BOM.

When ‘Taken’ within a Works Order, only Standard items will listed as being removed from stock, and Backflush items will always show a taken quantity of zero (with the user then prompted after the ‘build’ stage for the correct quantity used for Backflush, or quantity excess for Return.)

backflushing

For many manufacturers, drawing down stock ‘post-production’ in this way may be the only way to accurately update your usage of resources. Using backflushing is an efficient way of tracking manufacturing using more fluid components, and allows SQLWorks to keep your production precise.

Video: Manufacturing Brilliance

 

[subscribe_to_unlock_form]

 

Getting Started with Query Builder

Query Builder:

Query builder is a powerful reporting tool that advanced users can use to interrogate the SQLWorks database, cross-reference data in new ways, and get insight from business analytics.

Working in steps across the screen, Query Builder guides the user across four main tabs including ‘Setup’, ‘Tables’, ‘Conditions’ and ‘Preview.’

Setup tab allows users to create new queries, and choose the base layer data for their query from their SQLWorks database. For convenience, users can save queries here, opt whether to share them with other users, and re-run their favourites to generate new results as system data is updated.

In the Tables tab, the user can drag in related tables to cross reference different data within the database, and build new comparative reports that don’t already exist by default by selecting one or more data columns from within those tables.

query builder gif

The Conditions tab is perhaps the most powerful – allowing the user to assemble or subdivide the existing data in ways to extract very specific report outputs. Three tools are available here – Filter By, Sort By, and Group By. Filter By options can be used flexibly to exclude irrelevant data an target subsets, while Sort By allows you to re-order everything based on a specific table column to highlight priority data first.

Group By allows users to aggregate data in powerful ways – for example totally values per company, automatically calculating averages into value fields, or totalling costs. Programming criteria are available to do this, including ‘Distinct’, ‘Count’, ‘Concatenate’, ‘Maximum’, ‘Minimum’, ‘Sum’ and ‘Average’ – with columns ordered or re-designated to structure the report as you wish.

query builder group by

In the Preview tab, users can preview the results of their query and export to a range of formats including Excel spreadsheet (.xlsx), Comma-separated value (.csv), text (.txt), PDF (.pdf), print formats, or even email the results direct to themselves.

We hope users will find Query Builder to be a potent weapon in their arsenal of reporting tools – giving you new ways to identify patterns, compare and contrast relative data, or summarise from a new perspective.

 

For more information, please see our full guide to using query builder, or contact our team today.

Updated: Export to Excel

Export to Excel:

SQLWorks allows users to export data from almost any visible table (and most reports) to structured spreadsheet formats including Microsoft Excel (.XLSX) and comma-separated values (.CSV) – useful for manipulating data and analysing trends.

.CSV files are useful, but are basically limited to plain text organised with column breaks. Exporting to Excel provides much more scope for organising the output data for business purposes.

To make this more powerful, we’ve recently updated the options available when users export SQLWorks data to Excel to include:

 

1. Smarter Headers:

Column headers are delivered in a separate text format, with bold and underline – and now display numbered headers correctly. Where columns are clearly identifiable, Excel exports are also given column data formats (date / integer / text etc.) automatically.

spreadsheet

 

2. Automated Column widths

SQLWorks will scan the data being exported and size each Excel column appropriately for the data being exported.

This helps minimise the amount of spreadsheet formatting the user has to do manually. Automatic column sizing also factors in the column header, and works between 5-80 characters.

 

3. Intelligent Alignment

In line with accounting display conventions, ‘text’ data is left aligned by default, while ‘date’ and ‘number’ data is now automatically right aligned (as are headers.)

This helps make it easier to label numbers with text in the same row – and to compare various numbers in the same column, even if they share a preceding digit, but have different orders of magnitude.

 

Each user’s default export type is accessible via their CRM preferences – allowing users who require their data pre-formatted in Excel to choose this as their preferred output.

Data can be exported from reports by choosing ‘File’ as the export destination, or by highlighting some or all rows in any SQLWorks table and selecting ‘Export’. If Microsoft Excel is your default application for .XLSX and .CSV files, the app will open the data on screen automatically.

 

For more data management expertise and support, please contact our team today.

Managing Assets & Machinery

Asset Register


If a business harnesses important physical assets, keeping track of these over time quickly becomes essential.

Whether it’s your own machinery, or a piece of equipment you maintain for a client, attributing costs to these accurately is an key part of your business financial planning – and helps you make smarter decisions about future investment.

SQLWorks supports this process with a dedicated asset register – allowing the user to save a range of information (including make, model, warranty and more) for both in-house and client assets to aid day-to-day business operations. Asset Register can be found in the Stock Ledger, and helps the user build a centralised and definitive list that can be controlled with permissions groups, like any other SQLWorks Ledger.

For in-house assets, SQLWorks users can also link these assets to Purchase Orders – ensuring that asset’s data contains a detailed maintenance history that includes financials.

Helpfully, this also works across multiple Purchase Ledger suppliers, so that maintenance costs (such as repairs or replacement parts) remain accurate even if an asset’s service contract changes hands. This helps a company stay flexible, since accounting and contract periods may be much shorter than machinery lifecycles.

Assets may also be optionally enabled as a special tab in a customer’s Sales Ledger account – ensuring a service engineer can easily access known information about a client’s asset as a part of routine account maintenance. This might include location, serial numbering for identification, or notes on past repair work.

SQLWorks ensures business managers can properly document and maintain a full asset register – itself an asset to a well-informed team.

 

For expertise and software assistance, please contact our SQLWorks Team today

SQLWorks V10 Live on Big Sur & Windows 10 (20H2)

Operating System Update:

SQLWorks Version 10 is officially compatible with Apple macOS 11 (‘Big Sur’) and Windows 10 October 2020 Update (’20H2’).

Our SQLWorks Software Development Team – which uses both Apple macOS and Microsoft Windows 10 for development – works hard to ensure our software maintains the best possible lifespan and interoperability, without the need for companies to spend on paid version upgrades.

big sur

Big Sur introduces a number of changes to Apple macOS, including visual enhancements, updated notifications, and performance improvements such as the ability to install updates prior to a restart.

Windows 10’s October 2020 update, coded 20H2, introduces a number of Windows 10 Start menu, taskbar and visual enhancements, and changes to Windows’ Settings controls.

In testing, SQLWorks performs around 5% faster under each operating system.

Although we generally recommend users do not install operating system updates on mission-critical devices during OS beta-testing, or immediately at point of new version release, keeping IT platforms up to date is both an important cybersecurity and business continuity measure – and users should seek to move to the latest operating systems once tested successfully.

 

Speak to our SQLWorks Team today.

Introduction to Production Planning

Production Planning


We’ve extended SQLWorks to include more powerful production planning/process routing in Version 10 – allowing Production Managers to masterplan working spaces, types of work, and employee skills to organise manufacturing capacity more effectively.

Workshop Map can be opened via the Products module in the NavBar, and uses three key elements:

  • Work Centres
These are places where work is done – normally a specific location or tooling area on the factory floor, and remember important data such as available working hours, setup/lag costs and more.
  • Processes
This is a type of manufacturing process – such as assembly, welding, mixing, painting etc, and can be restricted to specific work centres or employees.
  • Employees
This is the employee table used in SQLWorks CRM – listing your company’s available staff.

Each Process Route has a series of numbered steps (carried out in a specific order) called a Work Flow. To organise the Work Flow, the production manager simply chooses the Work Centre, Process, and Employee that is assigned at each step – by dragging and dropping them into the Workflow builder.

Workflow steps each carry associated costs and manufacturing times, allowing the system to build a comprehensive picture of the process route a finished product must follow to be completed in full.

production planning

Production managers can save Template Process Routes and assign these to Bills of Material – with the right default process routes being loaded automatically on new Works Orders to save time. Expected completion times are estimated automatically, and progress can be logged as each step of the Workflow is underway

Any Process Routes that are currently in use will be shown in the ‘Active Process Routes’ table, along with the details of the BOMs being produced which follow that process route.

Production Managers can also use this part of SQLWorks to generate reports (either from the perspective of Work Centres, Processes or Employee) to see outstanding and current Works Orders, and to gauge capacity from each.

This helps inform staffing decisions, shift patterns or identify production bottlenecks. Where there is a clash (for example, if a ‘Welding’ process employee has more welding hours due on Works Orders than is available in the calendar), SQLWorks will display ‘CLASH’ in red next to that Bill of Materials.

Overall SQLWorks’ Production Planning gives Production Managers the power to coordinate working spaces/resources, types of work, and personnel for maximum control. Production Routes help structure and streamline the manufacturing process, and organise manufacturing capacity more intelligently.

 

For expertise and software assistance, please contact our SQLWorks Team today

SQLWorks Manufacturing Launches

 

Announcing Version 10:


Lineal Software Solutions are excited to announced the public release of our next generation of SQLWorks software.

Version 10 of our flagship business management suite harnesses more advanced manufacturing capabilities for the first time – introducing brand new material requirements planning (MRP) capabilities into our existing integrated accounting, CRM & stock control platform.

Automation is critical to productivity. SQLWorks MRP allows businesses to instantly gauge future demand for stock items & materials based on a flexible time horizon and existing stock availability, automatically generate purchase orders for approved suppliers, automatically roll-up part and cost changes through bills of material, and automatically create works orders for production centres on the factory floor.

 

MRP software

“… We are clear that the faster adoption of technology will result in greater investment and in more manufacturing taking place in the UK.”

 

UK Gov ‘Made Smarter’ Manufacturing Review

 

 

These hotly-anticipated new features will help drive real business benefits, especially among manufacturing and logistics companies: including more intelligent and cost-effective purchasing, optimised stock holding, and coordinated forward planning of production.

Factory managers can now backflush manufactured items, auto-attach engineering documents, optionally roll-up updated part-costings from purchasing through the relevant kits, and even import new assemblies from popular engineering CAD software via drag-and-drop.

 

 “… British manufacturing needs a factory reset.”

Mike Matthews, Lineal Software Solutions

 

MRP is an immensely powerful tool for running a business – and we’ve given users the ability to drill-right down into purchasing and production recommendations – finding the exact source of demand from potentially thousands of orders, to line level, with a simple double-click.

SQLWorks manufacturing abilities integrate seamlessly with other business processes across accounting, CRM and stock control – and we’re planning further extensions to functionality for release later in 2020: including detailed capacity planning, support for ‘Just-In-Time’ (JIT) style manufacturing, and more complex ad-hoc report building.

 

sqlworks versions

 

We’ve also made some updates to the visual identity of SQLWorks with this iteration to help make our software feel smoother and more accessible to new users, and expanded Lineal’s UK Software Development Team of Omnis developers to hasten our development cycle.

Mike Matthews, Lineal’s Managing Director, explained: “This is a terrific new leap forward for our SQLWorks software. The new release is our most advanced ever, and introduces powerful new manufacturing and logistical control to our existing business management tools.”

 

manufacturing

Measurable Business Benefits


  • One, fully-integrated platform
  • Heightened financial visibility
  • Hours of work duplication saved by automation
  • Greater manufacturing control
  • Optimised spending & stock holding
  • Genuine support for business continuity

 

 

“We believe the ability for industry to automatically complete important engineering tasks – like importing newly-designed assemblies, production planning, updating part costs and forecasting future operations – will prove a popular choice among manufacturers.”

“Post-lockdown many firms will be doing some serious soul-searching about whether their systems are really up to scratch. British manufacturing needs a factory reset. If you can’t innovate then you’re at a dead end, and modernisation will be an important part of the UK’s economic recovery.”

SQLWorks Version 10 with MRP is available NOW


 

sqlworks contact

Discover More


Simple, fast and intuitive data entry. Detailed, responsive and targeted data analysis.

 

 

 

Learn more at www.sqlworks.co.uk or by contacting our UK Software Development Team today.