NECS, Inc.

Software for Food Distributors

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ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD Frequently Asked Questions

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ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD Frequently Asked Questions

May 13 2011
NECS has compiled a list of the many questions customers have been asking about the new ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD.

The ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD will become the tool your DSR’s value most to get their jobs done effectively and efficientlywhile adding more line items to their orders, getting the maximum gross profit, and earning higher commissions.



Please take a moment and review.  Chances are your questions are answered here.  If not or you need further clarification, please feel free to contact NECS.

1. Which model iPad works with the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD?
2. Are you planning on releasing an Android version?
3. Some of my salespeople can be rough on equipment.  Do you have any advice to help ruggedize the iPad?
4. What exactly does the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD do?
5. How does the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD link to my office?
6. How does my company data get to the entrée.NET secure server?
7. I am very interested in using the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD for my salespeople, but I currently do not use your NECS entrée software.  Is it possible to use in my situation?
8. Can my inventory on hand quantities be live?
9. Does the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD need to have Internet access to use it?
10. How are ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD program updates / bug fixes installed?
11. Does the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD get installed via the Apples iTunes store?
12. Is any of my company’s data stored on the iPad?
13. Can the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD automatically have Loading Sheets print at my office?
14. Can I scan barcodes to create a customer’s order?
15. Will my salespeople see Gross Profit and Commission information?
16. What is the item “Fall Off” listing?
17. What is the “customer item display” screen?
18. What control over the customers Standard Order will the salesperson have?
19, What kind of Dashboards can I view on the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD?
20. What reports can be generated with the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD?
21. Will my salespeople have access to the Contact info in entrée?
22. Can my salespeople create quotes for potential new customers?
23. I really like the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD, but currently own entrée.DSR for my salespeople.  Do you offer an upgrade path to go from entrée.DSR to the new ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD iPad software?
24. What is the cost of the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD?
25. Can I use Apple’s “Facetime” application?

Which model iPad works with the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD?

The ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD requires the Apple iPad 2, 16GB, iOS 4.3 or later. It also requires the iPad to be locked in “portrait” orientation.

Are you planning on releasing an Android version?

Yes, we are planning an Android version for release, which should be available in July 2011.

Some of my salespeople can be rough on equipment.  Do you have any advice to help ruggedize the iPad?

Some companies have produced iPad cases that can greatly protect both the unit and the screen.  For example, Otterbox makes a line of iPad cases in their “Defender” series, and Gumdropcases makes an iPad case designed for military use, which can really take some punishment.  Here are two links to investigate:
http://www.otterbox.com/iPad-2-Defender-Series-Case/APL2-IPAD2-D9-E4OTR_A,default,pd.html
http://www.gumdropcases.com/military-edition-ipad-2-case.html

What exactly does the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD do?

The ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD was created primarily as an order entry tool for your DSR’s.  However, besides order entry, it also provides for 1) exchanging messages between the office and your DSR’s, 2) viewing a customer’s open orders, 3) viewing a customer’s accounts receivable, 3) viewing graphical dashboards of informative sales information, 4) generating reports including price lists and sales history going back 13 months, 5) viewing contact information and 6) creating quotes and managing new customer prospects.

How does the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD link to my office?

The ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD is our first mobile application based off entrée.NET.  This means the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD communicates directly with a remote entrée.NET secure server, and not your local server in your office.

How does my company data get to the entrée.NET secure server?

Your data is sent to the entrée.NET server by means of our automated scheduler application that runs on your local network.  You tell it how often to do things such as update inventory, special pricing, promotions, credit hold customers, import new orders, etc.

I am very interested in using the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD for my salespeople, but I currently do not use your NECS entrée software.  Is it possible to use in my situation?

Yes.  We designed both the entrée.NET system, along with the ELECTRONIC ORDER PADS, to have an “Open Interface”.  This means we can provide your IT staff with the data file layouts needed to export information into entrée.NET and then import the orders into your current software.  We know that we are onto something groundbreaking with entrée.NET, the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD, and other planned mobile applications we are building, and wanted to be able to offer this to distributors besides just current NECS customers.  Also, if you are a competitor to NECS software, and are interested in offering these solutions to your customer base, please contact NECS president, Chris Anatra (email: chris@necs.com), for more information.

Can my inventory on hand quantities be live?

No, at this time, on hand quantities are not live on the iPad.  Though we have customers that send inventory on hand updates automatically every 10 minutes to the entrée.NET secure server, the realistic time is every hour throughout your day of business.  However, you can determine what is best for your operation, and make those settings in the automated scheduler.

Does the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD need to have Internet access to use it?

Yes, the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD is a “connected” iPad application.  This means your iPad must have Internet access to create orders, etc..  This can be either WIFI or through a cell network such as Verizon with their data plan.

How are ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD program updates / bug fixes installed?

Because of the connected design of the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD, whenever program updates or bug fixes are released, there is no need to download anything to the iPad, as the software code is actually running on the entrée.NET server.  This method of handling program updates makes it one less thing you have to concern yourself or your sales team with.

Does the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD get installed via the Apples iTunes store?

No, the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD is not installed on your iPad through the iTunes store.  Instead, the first time it is used on the iPad, it is started by means of a special web address that you enter into the Safari browser on the iPad.  After that, there will be an icon on your iPad screen you can touch to start the application.

Is any of my company’s data stored on the iPad?

No, your company data is not stored on the iPad, so there is never a need to “update” the iPad with data.  Also, in the event your iPad is lost or stolen, there will be no company data that could fall into the wrong hands.

Can the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD automatically have Loading Sheets print at my office?

The automated scheduler can also automatically import orders into your main NECS entrée software.  This means the orders from the iPad will be in your system, ready to print Loading Sheets, but you will need to select the Print Loading Sheets option in entrée in your office to actually have them print.  You will be notified via email and on screen messages that there are ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD orders waiting to have their Loading Sheets printed.

Can I scan barcodes to create a customer’s order?

If you want to enter orders by scanning UPC barcodes, you can use a Bluetooth scanner, but it can only read “UPC codes”.  This is accomplished via the “Quick Entry” mode on the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD.  The procedure is: 1) scan the UPC code, then 2) enter the quantity.  And of course your items need to have the UPC Code field defined in Inventory File Maintenance so the iPad can identify the scanned data with the correct item in your inventory.

Will my salespeople see Gross Profit and Commission information?

Yes, while creating an order, the Gross Profit and Commission information will be displayed per line item, as well as the entire order.  Salespeople can see immediately how the Gross Profit and their Commission are affected by changing pricing (if you allow them this feature).

What is the item “Fall Off” listing?

As way to keep on top of what your customers are purchasing, and to provide warning when certain items are no longer purchased (because they may have begun purchasing those items from another source), we have introduced the item “Fall Off” listing per customer.  Whenever a salesperson is entering an order, they can hit the “Fall Off” tab, and it will show those items the customer is no longer purchasing from you.  You can select to display fall off items starting from one week, extending back to twelve weeks.

What is the “customer item display” screen?

If a salesperson is entering an order on the iPad in the presence of a customer, there is information which you will not want the customer to view, such as gross profit and commission details.  However, sometimes the salesperson may need to confirm the correct item is being entered.  To address this situation, we have created a special button the salesperson can press which switches the iPad to a full screen view of the item in question, including an enlarged image of the item, along with all four lines of description, brand name, pack size and the extended item notes.  They can then show this screen to the customer for verification the correct item is being ordered.

What control over the customers Standard Order will the salesperson have?

Salespeople will be allowed to remove items from a customers Standard Order, so that items they no longer purchase can be “cleaned up” to unclutter the Standard Order screen.

What kind of Dashboards can I view on the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD?

You can view Dashboards pertaining to customer sales, breakdown by city and open accounts receivable.

What reports can be generated with the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD?

All the reports available with entrée.NET, using up to 13 months of customer sales history, are included, such as: 1) Invoice Detail, 2) Invoice Summary, 3) Inventory Worksheet, 4) Scanned Invoices, 5) Item Consumption, 6) Order Guide / Product Listing, 7) Open Balances, 8) Usage by Brand, 9) Prospect Price Quotes, 10) Prospect Listing.  Note that the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD will generate PDF file for the selected report, which can be viewed or emailed.  If you wish to actually print the report directly from the iPad, you will need a Bluetooth compatible printer and possibly additional software (such as available for free or a nominal charge from the Apple iTunes store).

Will my salespeople have access to the Contact info in entrée?

Yes, you will have access for all the contact information stored in your main entrée system.

Can my salespeople create quotes for potential new customers?

Yes, the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD includes a “Prospect” section where potential customer information can be entered; including generating a custom quote for the products the prospect is interested in, along with pricing.  The quote can be emailed to the prospect as a PDF file.  Later, if the prospect becomes a customer, it’s easy to make them into a live customer and bring over all the quoted items into their Standard Order file (with or without the quoted pricing).

I really like the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD, but currently own entrée.DSR for my salespeople.  Do you offer an upgrade path to go from entrée.DSR to the new ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD iPad software?

Although both systems allow for a salesperson to enter an order, they are different applications running on different hardware platforms.  The entrée.DSR software was designed to be used on a Windows based laptop, whereas the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD is designed to run on the iPad via our entrée.NET platform.  The ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD was not designed to replace the entrée.DSR software.  The lower pricing model  of the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD also supports this.

What is the cost of the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD?

First, each iPad to use the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD has a onetime activation fee of $395 with a $25/month recurring software maintenance fee.  Also, you must have entrée.NET, which handles the communications between your office and the iPads.  There are currently three options for entrée.NET, depending on what features you need, with a $3,995 cost (with $100/month unlimited order / hosting cost).  being the most popular. However, we are creating a fourth option for entrée.NET for those customers who only are interested in the ELECTRONIC ORDER PAD.  This fourth option will have a cost of $2,495, with a $50/month unlimited order / hosting cost.

Can I use Apple’s “Facetime” application?

Apple’s “Facetime” application is included on an iPad which provides video conferencing between Apple devices such as iPads.  If you have an iPad in your office, you can video conference with your DSR’s.  If they have questions or would like you to see something (such as a damaged product), they can just point the camera on the iPad at the product or situation, and you can see in live streaming video what they are referring to.