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Accuracy Matters

In General,Inventory on January 27, 2015 by Eddy Cevilla Tagged: , , ,

An accurate inventory is at the core of any successful retailer. Not only does it help minimize your costs by allowing you to make smart purchasing decisions, but it provides useful data that enables you to shape, refine, and grow your business. With the right equipment, proper procedures, and regular attention you can make sure that your inventory is always up-to-date and accurate.

Save Yourself: Sales volume, business strategies, locations, and product assortments all affect inventory on a daily basis, so it’s vital to keep it accurate to ensure that:

  • The correct amount of product is ordered, saving you money
  • The correct product is identified at receiving, saving you time
  • Products are special ordered only as needed, saving you space
  • You have the data to expand sales opportunities through quotes, layaways, special orders, and special orders

It’s the Simple Things: Keeping a healthy inventory doesn’t have to be a pain, it’s just a matter of keeping your eye on the small tasks that can make a big difference. For optimum system performance:

  • Create new products in your database before you need to order them. It makes receiving a breeze and gives you more time to catch any mistakes
  • Enter accurate product information before a product is added to the sales floor to ensure you don’t hit snags during checkout
  • Set reorder levels for products that you never want to run out off
  • Regularly verify in-stock product quantities

Upgrade: Do you have outdated hardware holding you back from maintaining a healthy and accurate inventory? Arm your staff with the Motorola MC2180 – a more powerful inventory scanner that will help reduce count times and streamline your inventory practices. Updated features include an extended battery life, more room for your product files, and a color display.

If you have an MC1000 you’re looking to replace, get your order to us before February 28th to take advantage of our current promotional trade-in values and save up to $300 towards the purchase of an MC2180. Just dial 877 875 8663 or send a quick email to our sales team at sales@ascendrms.com.

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Ascend What?

In Ascend Analytics,Finance on January 20, 2015 by Eddy Cevilla Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably already know that Ascend Analytics received a major overhaul earlier this week. Not only does it look fresh-to-death, but it puts more of your data to work.

Basically: it’s beautiful, more powerful, and easier to use.

And yet we still get calls from many retailers who either aren’t sure what the web application can do for them or have never even tried logging in. To help fix that, we’re putting together a short overview that might encourage you to get up and running with your data in this week’s post.

Why You Should Care: One of the most frequent questions we receive is simply “How can Ascend Analytics make my business successful?” Fair question. And the answer is multilayered because of the wide range of opportunities it opens up. Ascend Analytics enables you to:

  • Set goals for key drivers of business success allowing you to measure small victories and efficiently work towards larger ones with your entire team
  • Access your business information from a web connection giving you the flexibility to review data from the back office or while you’re getting ready from the comfort of your own home
  • Pull the entire team together and show how individuals are contributing giving you data managers and owners everywhere crave
  • Spend less time finding results and more time creating them by displaying results and trends quickly and accurately at-a-glance

Is It Really That Good?: Yes. Ascend Analytics provides high-level summaries and drills the details of your business to make opportunities clear and visually apparent. And since the information displayed in Analytics is updated overnight through Ascend, you’re always sure to have up-to-date information without even having to be on location. View:

  • Sales trends, sales/hour worked, units/transaction, average transaction size
  • Current inventory status and historical trends expressed as days-in-stock, dollars, and units. You can even track special order lead times
  • Detailed reports of your service business, including labor dollars, work order performance, mechanic productivity, and add-on dollars sold
  • Individual team member performance details
  • Income and expenses to ensure a more positive cash flow and net income

Ok, But There Has to Be a Catch: Not really. Ascend Analytics is the hassle-free way to monitor your business, whether you have a 13 store chain or run a single location.

  • Analytics works with single or multiple retail locations and reports reflect results of all locations combined and/or individually
  • Security settings allow different permission levels to share information with managers and employees
  • Training and support is provided to ensure your full utilization of every aspect Ascend Analytics has to offer

Get Started: If you aren’t currently set up with Ascend Analytics, view the Analytics Pre-Install Checklist to find out how to get up and running. If you’re a store manager or owner, view the Workspace Tour (for Managers) for an overview of your Analytics workspace. If you’re a sales person, mechanic, or other store team member, view the Workspace Tour (for Team Members). Want to view some of the changes? Click here to watch a short video describing some of the updates included with our January release.

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Your Data, Your Way

In Ascend Analytics,Version Updates on January 18, 2015 by Eddy Cevilla Tagged: , , , ,

It’s a new year and Ascend Analytics has a new look! But we know you’re more interested in the numbers than a fancy new color scheme, so we’ve worked hard to make it easier for you to have quick, complete access to your data – without the fuss.

Reporting Done Right: Bringing all of your data together in a way that makes sense, while eliminating unnecessary clicks. Enjoy:

  • Smart toggles in standard displays that allow you to switch between chart and grid presentations of your data, while remembering your view choices for future visits
  • Compact displays that use a grid presentation to show week-, month-, and year-to-date values right below your graphs to give you the information you need at-a-glance without the need to visit a different page
  • Convenient displays of variances in-line within grid views for speedy comparisons
  • Budget values and variances in the Daily Sales Summary and Category Health Summary reports
  • .xlsx file types for files exported to Microsoft Excel

Updated Interface: New icons and graphics give your reports a clean, modern look. Changes include:

  • Standard displays that now show previous, current, and goal values in three separate colors for easy viewing
  • Store goals and totals that are now highlighted on the Team tab for quick analysis
  • A display of two decimal places when a number is not a whole number for more accurate reporting

Check Out the Updates: These changes go live for all of our retailers on Monday, January 19, so if you haven’t checked out the improvements yet, head over to analytics.ascendrms.com and start growing your business today. Want to take a quick peek at some of the changes? Watch this short video now to learn more.

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Tackle the Shelves

In Inventory,Reports on January 13, 2015 by Eddy Cevilla Tagged: , , , , ,

Many of our dealers are right in the middle of full store inventories, so this week we’re highlighting some helpful tips that might save you some time (and a few headaches) while your team tackles the shelves.

Count Everything: A physical, full store inventory count should be completed once a year. Every salable product is counted, regardless of location. You should also:

  • Close your store for the length of the inventory to avoid discrepancies
  • Clearly define small areas for scanning since physical inventory counts are performed by store section, not category
  • Avoid processing sales, layaways, or work orders once you’ve started
  • Prepare multiple scanners for use throughout the day.  Don’t have enough for the entire team? Email our Sales Team at sales@ascendrms.com to schedule a rental or go to the Integration drop-down menu from the Ascend Desktop, hover over Ascend and click on Order Hardware and Supplies to place an order today

Use the Software: Ascend provides many software solutions to help make your inventory count go as quickly and painlessly as possible. Some of the advantages include:

  • Our proprietary companion app, which allows the MC2180 inventory scanner to wirelessly verify inventory details such as stock, product name, and database match. Made specifically to work with Ascend RMS, Ascend Scan 3.0 takes some of the guess work out of inventory counts and gives you more time to focus on your task
  • Ascend’s Remove Duplicate Products utility, which can resolve duplicate SKUs and UPCs ahead of time, helps ensure that each product in your store is labeled uniquely. This minimizes time spent addressing product issues during your actual inventory
  • Custom reports, like Ascend’s Sales by Day of Week, which can help you determine the best day for closing
  • The Aged Inventory by Date report which allows you to reduce your inventory as much as possible by eliminating the need to reorder products that simply aren’t moving off the shelves

Keep an Eye on the Blog: We’re working hard to arm you with help documents that get you out of any sticky situation you might find yourself in, so make sure you’re following our blog for updates. This week, we’re focusing on those pesky “bad beeps” you might hear while scanning certain products. Watch this short video to learn how to handle products that just won’t scan.

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The More You Know

In General,Products,Reports,Version Updates,Work Orders on January 6, 2015 by Eddy Cevilla Tagged: , , , , , ,

Ascend version 2.12 included many big improvements when it was released a month ago, but a few small features may have gone unnoticed. To make sure that you’re getting the most out of Ascend, we’re highlighting a few more smaller additions in this weeks post.

Individuality, Rewarded: User-specific grid views are now available within the Category Mapper and Work Orders Due screens. Easily:

  • Organize work order and product information to reduce the amount of time needed to view what’s important to you
  • Customize work order and product headers by rearranging, sorting, or hiding any columns such as Brand, SKU, Customer Name and Date Due
  • Create user-specific layouts that follow users from one workstation to another

Best Fit: Expanded category drop-down menus make it easier to display category names regardless of length.

  • View entire category names with many useful reports like In-Store Products, Inventory by Category Retail, and Reconciled Inventory
  • Take advantage of the extra space while linking products within Database Explorer

Detail Oriented: Work Order Details has also received a few improvements that give users more control. Quickly:

  • View and edit Work Order Details within the Work Order window without having to manually save the transaction
  • Return to the Work Order window without having to modify  any Work Order Details if you’ve accidently clicked on the WO Detail icon. Just click ‘Cancel’!

Best System, Best Support, Best Team: Besides improving our software, we’re constantly looking for ways to help make your business perform to its potential. So, whether your find yourself in need of more receipt paper, an updated scanner, or a new PC give us a call to take advantage of top notch support and competitive warranty offerings.

Email our Sales Team at sales@ascendrms.com or go to the Integration drop-down menu from the Ascend Desktop, hover over Ascend and click on Order Hardware and Supplies to place an order today.

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Join Us for Camp

In General,Inventory on January 5, 2015 by Eddy Cevilla Tagged: , , , , , ,

Are you getting ready for your first full-store inventory, have new employees that could use some training, or just want a refresher course to start the new year off right? Then join Ascend Inventory Specialist Kristina Florin as she hosts 2015’s first interactive Inventory Boot Camp sessions!

Hands-on Training with an Inventory Pro: Each camp is a two-day hands-on training event where you will prepare an actual store for end-of-year inventory.

Videos and help documents can push you along, but there is no substitute for hands-on experience. Scan and count inventory using wireless scanners, then reconcile actual product lists before cleaning up real inventory discrepancies. Never let a cycle count or full store inventory stump you or your team again.

The cost is $699 per person and it includes all meals, 2 full training days, one-on-one support with Ascend experts, and all the knowledge you need to help your team back home.  After the camp you’ll also be eligible for discounts on renting wireless scanners to help with your own store’s inventory. See below for all sessions currently available.

And remember: space is limited, so sign-up today by calling Ascend Support at 877 875 8663 or by sending an email to help@ascendrms.com to reserve your spot!

Available sessions:

Charlotte, NC Session 1 – January 19th and 20th
Charlotte, NC Session 2 – January 21st and 22nd
Phoenix, AZ – January 26th and 27th

 

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Don’t Get Caught by Surprise

In Finance,General,Inventory on December 29, 2014 by Eddy Cevilla Tagged: , , , , ,

New Years Eve will be here sooner than you think! Start the new year off right by preparing today.

  • Backup: Nightly Ascend Backups are always recommended, but you should also make sure to save your year-end backup in a safe place. Backup your database to an external drive, then store it separate from the server or off-site, if possible.
  • Review: Print your Inventory by Category Summary and Customer Liability Summary reports at the end of the day on December 31st so that you have your tax information ready when needed. You should also check for outstanding Work Orders and Layaways, then clean-up old or inaccurate transactions.
  • Inventory: Perform a Physical Inventory and print a hard copy of the results. Don’t forget to review Negative Inventory at this time too. This can help you organize and clear-out older products, but it also helps your database stay healthy.
  • Order: We work hard to provide you with the best system and the best support. That’s why we give you the option to order hardware and supplies directly from us. Easily ensure compatibility and get peace of mind with our warranty. Interested in an estimate? Email our Sales Team at sales@ascendrms.com or go to the Integration drop-down menu from the Ascend Desktop, hover over Ascend and click on Order Hardware and Supplies to place an order today.
  • Watch: Still learning how to use our newest features? Watch our short (and helpful) video tutorials now.

Those taking advantage of our integration with Quickbooks should also:

  • Verify: Look over your QuickBooks sales and cost of goods sold values by comparing the Ascend Activity Summary to the QuickBooks Profit & Loss report. Ensure Accounts Payable is accurate and remember that you can download Trek invoices from Dexter for import into QuickBooks.
  • Audit: Review your Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet reports for oddities.
  • Balance: Reconcile your Bank and Credit Card accounts.

Need more help? Contact the Ascend Support Team from 8am to 6pm CST Mon-Fri at 877 875 8663 or email our on-staff QuickBooks ProAdvisors at accounting@ascendrms.com for questions. Just remember: we’ll be Closed on New Years day (1/1/2015) but will offer emergency support from 9am until 6pm CST.

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Some Holiday Gifts For You!

In General,Version Updates on December 25, 2014 by Eddy Cevilla Tagged: , , ,

Merry Christmas from all of us at Ascend! We hope you’re having a wonderful (and profitable) holiday season. Read on to learn about a few “stocking stuffers” you might have missed in Ascend.

Help Without the Fuss: We’ve updated our Help buttons to provide you with direct access to relevant help topics and videos based on the screen you’re viewing. Find new help links in:

  • Database Explorer > Customer Groups
  • eCommerce Sales
  • Sale Window
  • Reports
  • And more! Just look for the the help (?) icon

No Category? No Problem: Get your products in the right category using the new (none) option in the Category drop-down menu when exporting In-Store Products. This will help you quickly identify your uncategorized products so you can export them for batch updating.

Stock Up for the New Year: Did you know you can order hardware and supplies from within your Ascend program? Well, you can! From the Ascend Desktop go to the Integration drop-down menu, hover over Ascend and click on Order Hardware and Supplies. This is a convenient way to make sure that you always have enough paper supplies and the proper hardware to keep your store running.

A Surprise is Coming Your Way: We’ve got a BIG GIFT coming in 2015 to help make it your best year ever. Stay tuned for more details. Trust us, you’re going to love it.

Don’t forget, we’re just a phone call away at 877-875-8663. And make sure to watch our short video tutorials that highlight some of the other ways we’ve made Ascend work for you.

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We Didn’t Forget Reporting…

In Customers,General,Reports,Version Updates on December 17, 2014 by Eddy Cevilla Tagged: , , ,

Ascend version 2.12 has been out in the wild for about a week, but we haven’t finished telling you about all the new features quite yet. This update includes reporting improvements to help you track customer group sales, so if you want to learn how the get the most out of your data keep reading.

Still using an older version of Ascend? Update to start taking advantage of these and other improvements today.

 New AOR Reports: Get a snapshot report for customer group sales that allows you to quickly:

  • See the top items sold to a group
  • Show total sales and average transaction size for a given time period
  • Compare sale results to the last 90 days or the complete group sales history

Flexible Filters: Need specific sale information? Our new filter helps you:

  • Develop a sales strategy based on top performing products or seasons
  • Customize your search by combining filters with specific keywords or values
  • Narrow down group sales by day, user, vendor and much more!

 Learn More Now: Ready to see these new reports in action? Get started by watching this video then take a look at some of our other videos to learn more about all the improvements included with Ascend version 2.12.

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Upgrade to Version 2.12 Today!

In Customers,General,Inventory,On Sale,Ordering,Version Updates on December 10, 2014 by Eddy Cevilla Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Version 2.12 is here and we’re ready to share all of its newest feature with retailers far and wide. If you haven’t updated your system, make sure to do so as soon as possible to start taking advantage of all of the improvements we’ve made.

Not sure what’s included? Read on for a short list highlighting some of the major changes or click here to check out the release notes.

 Note Worthy Updates:

  •  Customer Groups will allow you to create groups of any type and size, then track their sales activity or automatically give group members special pricing at the register.
  •  Our updated Category Mapper function is similar to the one you’re already used to and allows you to map uncategorized products in one click without leaving the order/receiving screen.
  •  Vendor Product Spreadsheets have also gotten an update and will now allow Ascend to recognize any categorization made before importing. Our system will also export other product attributes including: “Category”, “eCommerce”, and “Non-Inventory” options allowing you to efficiently view and modify settings outside of Ascend.
  •  We’ve made it easier to print product labels and have taken the guess work out of receipt printing. Simply configure your desired workstations to print gift receipts by default or keep paper out of the equation and have your system email receipts instead. It’s up to you!
  •  Our new Sales Item Comments field allows for more detailed special order tracking. You can now include individual customer requests or shipping updates to help communicate information between store team members. You don’t even have to leave the screen you’re working on to make changes, just double click on the item and type away.

Update Today: Ascend version 2.12 has been released to all retailers, so update now! Want more information on these and all other changes? Click here to view the release notes or here for a complete list of Ascend version 2.12 video tutorials.

 

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