Manage your margins with new features in 4.0Beta3

 

bcwilson's picture

Ardent xTuple-watchers may have noticed that we've had a longer-than-usual development cycle for our upcoming 4.0 release. When the final release arrives in a few months it will coincide with the release of our mobile/web client, which has been a huge development effort. At the same time, we have been developing some new features that will tune the product for the Wholesale Distribution market. We just released an unusual 3rd Beta of the upcoming xTuple 4.0 and it is loaded with features that are designed to quietly revolutionize the product, especially for distribution businesses. 

Cost Plus Pricing

Let's say you're a distributor. You buy low and sell (hopefully) high, and make your money on the margin. To maintain your margin you need to set your prices relative to the cost of the items you buy. We now have a cost-plus price schedule method that allows you to do just that. You can define price schedules to set your customer prices by marking up the cost. You can assign different markups to different customers or customer categories. It's pricing your way. 
 
[Price Schedule Item showing a Markup]

 

Sales History

We've made a number of enhancements that fall into the category of Item Source Enhancements.
 
For distributors, prices may differ greatly among customers, so when you create a new order for the customer it's important to see a history of sales of an item to that customer. With increased visibility the sales rep can provide the customer with consistent pricing and maximize the margin. To make this easier and more convenient we've added a History tab right on the Sales Order Item screen. This tab has two radio buttons. The Sales History button shows a list of previous sales of the item to the customer, including prices. 
 
[Sales History tab on Sales Order Item screen]
 
 
The Cost History radio button on the History tab lets you switch to a list of purchases of the item, so you can see what you've paid for the item in the past. You can use this cost history to make sure you're setting a profitable price.
 
Cost History on Sales Order Item tab
[Cost History on Sales Order Item screen]

 

Item Sources

You can also switch to the Supply tab on the Sales Order Item screen to see a quick list of all available Item Sources for the item. This will provide information about replacement cost, if the item is out of stock.
 
Item Source on Sales Order Item screen
[Item Source on Sales Order Item screen]

 

Contracts

It is common for a vendor's prices to be governed by a Contract that is effective for a certain period. We are introducing a new record type in 4.0Beta3 called Contracts. You define a contract, including effectivity dates, and then assign Item Sources to that Contract, so they will all be governed by the same dates. You can copy contracts, which will create a copy of all Item Sources, so that prices can be adjusted. You can now set prices that are good for a year, and automatically have the new pricing Contract kick in on the correct date. You can even attach actual Contract documents to the contract record for reference.
 
Contract
[New Contract screen]

 

Sales Type

Another enhancement you'll find in Beta3 is the concept of Sales Type. This is a user-configurable field that appears on the Sales Order header. It drives Sales Account Assignments. So, for example, if you have retail sales and b2b sales, and you want them to be recorded to different accounts, you can define these as Sales Types and assign them on the SO header. 
 
[Sales Account Assignments now includes by Sales Type]
 
In the near future, Sales Types will be incorporated into the Enhanced Commissions package so you'll be able to assign commission schedules based on Sales Type, too.

 

Boost Your Security

Finally, a heads up: We have always offered SSL security as an option when logging in to your xTuple database. In the future we have decided to make this a requirement. In the 4.0 release, if you have not enabled SSL connections on your xTuple database server you will receive a warning message telling you that the connection is not secure. We will provide a link with instructions on how to enable SSL (it's not hard), and of course you can always contact our Professional Services team if you require assistance setting this up. In 4.1 and above, non-secure connections will no longer be allowed. We hate to nag, but we feel it is time to help our users ensure they are using the best possible security practices when communicating sensitive business data on the Internet.
Finally, a heads up. We have always offered SSL security as an option when logging in to your xTuple database. In the future we have decided to make this a requirement. In the 4.0 release, if you have not enabled SSL connections on your xTuple database server you will receive a warning message telling you that the connection is not secure. We will provide a link with instructions on how to enable SSL (it's not hard), and of course you can always contact our Professional Services team if you require assistance setting this up. In 4.1 and above, non-secure connections will no longer be allowed. We hate to nag, but we feel it is time to help our users ensure they are using the best possible security practices when communicating sensitive business data on the Internet.Exciting Beta
 
Sales Type [18492]
 
Cost-Plus Pricing [18313]
 
Item Source enhancements [18387]
 
SSL Encryption [18236]
 
 
Sometimes a software release is a ho-hum affair; sometimes it's a quiet revolution. We've just released an unusual 3rd Beta of the upcoming 4.0 and it is loaded with features that are designed to quietly revolutionize the product, especially for distribution businesses. 
 
Let's say you're a distributor. You buy low and sell (hopefully) high, and make your money on the margin. You are especially sensitive to costs, and to maintain your margin you need to set your prices relative to the cost of the items you buy. We now have a price schedule method that allows you to do just that. You can set your customer prices by marking up the cost. You can set different markups and assign them to different customers or customer categories. It's pricing your way. 
 
Also for distributors, since prices may differ greatly among customers, it's often important to see a history of sales of an item to that customer, so you can price accordingly. We now offer a sales price history tab right on the Sales Order Item screen to provide a quick way to reference this data. 
[screen 1]
This tab lets you switch between sales and purchase history, so you can see what you've paid for the item, and what you've sold it for in the past. 
[screen 2]
You can also switch to the Supply tab on the Sales Order Item screen to see a quick list of all available Item Sources for the item. 
[screen 3]
 
In the distribution world, it is common for a vendor's prices to be governed by a Contract that is effective for a certain period. New in Beta3 is the concept of Contracts, which are a way to group Item Sources, and the addition of Effectivity Dates to Item Sources and Contracts. You can now set prices that are good for a year, and automatically have the new pricing Contract kick in on the correct date.
You can even attach actual Contract documents to the contract record for reference.
[screen 4]
 
Another enhancement you'll find in Beta3 is the concept of Sales Type. This is a user-configurable field that appears on the Sales Order header. It drives Sales Account Assignments. So, for example, if you have retail sales and b2b sales, and you want them to be recorded to different accounts, you can define these as Sales Types and assign them on the SO header. 
[Screen 5]
A future use of Sales Types will be incorporated into the Enhanced Commissions package, so that you'll be able to assign commission schedules based on Sales Type, too.
 
Finally, a heads up. We have always offered SSL security as an option when logging in to your xTuple database. In the future we have decided to make this a requirement. In the 4.0 release, if you have not enabled SSL connections on your xTuple database server you will receive a warning message telling you that the connection is not secure. We will provide a link with instructions on how to enable SSL (it's not hard), and of course you can always contact our Professional Services team if you require assistance setting this up. In 4.1 and above, non-secure connections will no longer be allowed. We hate to nag, but we feel it is time to help our users ensure they are using the best possible security practices when communicating sensitive business data on the Internet.
 
johnf's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/03/2010
From the screen shots I

From the screen shots I gather that it is possible to use a Prodcat and set a Fixed price for a schedule? Although, I can see it working for some I don't see that working for many.

Johnf

 
fblauer's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/11/2007
Community or commercial

I am not clear if this is in postbooks or standard edition. Also, I don'r see a beta3 on sourceforge?

 
ned
ned's picture
Online
Joined: 10/20/2008
These will all be in

These will all be in PostBooks. There will be additional functionality available as part of the xWD commercial package. See the full spec for more details.

Beta3 is currently in internal pre-release testing; should be available on SF middle of next week (October Somethingteenth).