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The Configuration Module is responsible for defining the product features and options that can be selected when entering orders for customers. The key features are
The SOC (Sales Order Configurator) screen, where the features and options for an item are shown, is automatically displayed when an item number that can be configured is entered.
Features and options for an item are chosen as it is being entered on the order. When one of the lines containing a configuration question on the SOC is selected, a list of the choices is shown along with the availability and cost for each. Selecting from the list enters the choice. The configurations for items are created and maintained on one single screen using Treevision™. All the features and options and how they are related can be viewed at a glance.
A right-click menu makes it easy to add, edit, and delete choices and inventory items. Modular (make a choice) and variable (enter a quantity) rules are supported.
Modular choices within modular choices permit the construction of decision trees with dependency rules. For example- An order for a bike may have two top level choices - Men’s or Women’s. The choice of a Men’s bike provides the second level choices - Mountain or Street. Etc.
In addition to allowing choices to be made, variable information can be entered using a pop up numeric keypad. A practical example of the use for variable information is specifying how many reflectors to put on each bicycle wheel or the number of inches of steel tubing required.
The rules-based system contained in the SOC provides support for complex orders and ensures the correct configuration of products, which results in inventory savings and the best use of staff time. Similar configurations from previous or current sales orders can be located, copied into an order and edited. This saves a significant amount of time on orders with many features and options.
The SOC will recalculate the price and cost based on the features and options chosen each time the Save button is selected. Product configurations can be predefined and assigned finished good item numbers.
The configurations of similar finished goods can be copied to speed up the process of creating them.
The SOC will determine the correct finished good item number to use based on the configuration that was entered. Entering a finished good item number will automatically fill in the configuration choices that are associated with that finished good. A wide variety of costing and pricing rules can be established and used when a configuration is entered which does not have a predefined finished good set up.
Each item can have a default configuration, containing the most common choices from which to start when the item is first entered.
The choices for configurations can optionally include prices, available quantities and locations. There are six different ways of formatting the configuration information on a printed order as
A convenient Config button allows configurations to be changed even after they have been entered. The Configuration Module reports support data mining. This means that information on how many times a particular option was chosen, by whom and for what product is readily available. The reports can also provide information on the status of pending or unshipped orders. For example, the demand for certain features or options which are on those orders.
The Configuration Module has built in support for kitting, making it native to the accounting system. Kitting in ALERE far exceeds what is commonly considered standard kitting capabilities. Just as an order can be configured with features and options, so can a kit. This even includes building a kit on-the-fly by choosing the components from a list and entering the quantity required for each.
Orders for kits that do not require features and options to be selected are taken without ever seeing the configuration screen. Components are allocated in real-time when the order for the kit is saved. At the same time, the kit is placed “on order” in inventory.
For companies using ALERE Manufacturing, kits and their components are included in the MRP (materials requirements planning) process. Orders for kits generate picking tickets for either the complete kits if they are in stock, or for the components that make up the kits. Kits and their components are automatically issued from inventory when the order is shipped. Over shipping missing kit components is optional.
Bills of material that can be configured are displayed when ALERE Accounting is linked with ALERE Manufacturing.
"Configuration" is part of the ALERE Accounting line of products, developed by TIW Technology.
ALERE Accounting is a horizontal product. It offers functionality designed for usage across a wide variety of industries and business types.