Master file / data base creation

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The core stock item database is contained in the file "master.dbf". It is referred to as the "Master File". Building and maintaining your master file is probably the most important activity in BPOS. A well built master file will stand you in good stead for the life of your store.

The master file is keyed using a unique "ID" see section "Initial Planning" - normally this is the barcode of the item. There are a larger number of other fields. Some of these fields contain keys for other files. The most important ones are the supplier and department files. A list of fields in the master file can be found in the appendix.

There are 2 places where you can add new items File/Item/Add and Sales/Enquiry/Item.

File/Item/Add prompts

This is prompting for the ID/PLU/Unique lookup for a new title. If the article has a barcode then you should use it. If you enter a value which is already on file, BPOS will warn you. Assuming the value you enter is unique you will see the Item Entry screen. Note: you cannot start an ID with the characters "/" (Slash), "." Full stop, "," Comma, "'" Apostrophe or ";" Semi-Colon. These characters are permissible in the body of an ID just not the first character. See the section on Inquiry

This screen is common - you will get to see a lot of it!

Start to enter your data. There are some fields, Prim Supplier and Department, which are compulsory. For example. To fill in the supplier field you need to insert the code value of the supplier. If the supplier isn't on BPOS then you will need to add a new one otherwise BPOS will accept the code entered. The system of codes for suppliers ensures that only valid suppliers can be added to the system. An example of a supplier would be "Penguin Books" where the supplier code could be "PENG" (Codes are always upper case).

Adding a new supplier is straight forward, There are 2 methods, Direct using File/Supplier/Add and "Inline" where you can add a supplier "on the fly".

This is added to the system by creating a new supplier or using an existing one. BPOS will help you find these.

The inline method requires a little more explanation however it is possibly used more commonly that the Direct method. The inline method is used my a number of other files as well. Assume you are entering a brand new item record with a brand new supplier. When you are in the supplier field several things are possible

  1. You enter a supplier code that is already "on file" BPOS will just accept this value and move on.
  2. You enter a supplier code that is unknown. BPOS will show the inline selection dialog
  3. You know the supplier code is not on file so you can hit <Spacebar><Enter> or preferably <F10> to bring up the inline selection dialog.

The inline dialog looks like this -

A key point here is the "<supplier>" reference in the top right corner. This shows you the file that is being "looked up". From here there are several options.

    1. Select the supplier code to be used. Either use the <Arrow> keys and <Enter> or start typing the code. If you were to hit <D> here, BPOS would move to "Deptford Wreckers". Hit <Enter> to select this option
    2. Hit <Ins> to insert a new record. As the option displayed is the Supplier file, <Ins> will prompt for a new Supplier code

Type in a new supplier code, BPOS will check that it is unique and warn if it is not. Hit <Ins> again to retry. Assuming the supplier code is unique then BPOS will present the Supplier Edit screen. If you are in a hurry, you only need the Supplier Name entered however, it is advisable to enter as much detail as possible

The inline system will return with the newly entered supplier offered. Hit <Enter> and the supplier code is ready to go.  Note: the inline system also supports <F10> to edit the selected inline lookup item and in some cases, not supplier or department, <Del> to delete a record. The <F10> is useful is you have lots of suppliers/departments etc and wish to check that this is the correct one.

The inline system works for most of the the "lookup" type fields. This includes Department, Brand, Active, Category  and package fields. Note: the Department is a compulsory field. To set the other lookup fields as compulsory (you may not feel these add value) you must go to Utility/Details and then select the hidden configuration menu using <Alt-F6>

Complete the rest of the Item Entry. Most of the fields are self explanatory. The one confusing field is "Category". Categories are "Customer Defined" lookup fields i.e. it allows you to categorise your stock according to how a customer might inquire for stock. Therefore a stock item can have an unlimited number of categories attached. This may or may not be of value to you however the categories are used for catalog production as well. You could have a category of "Xmas 2016 Sale" and attach this to all items in this sale. The category system is very flexible but requires some maintenance.  If the Utility/Details/<Alt-F6> Category flag is set to "N" then BPOS does no prompting to enter a category on a stock item.

Assuming the flag is set to "Y"  then you will first see this option

This is a "List of the categories on this Item" ! - it is not the "List of categories". To add a category hit <Ins> You will be prompted to select a category. If the category does not exist a further (pink) inline selection dialog will permit you to add a new category to "the list of possible categories". Once entered, the category code can be added to the Item. BPOS will show the first category added to an Item in the Item Enquiry screen. Note: this category system also extends to the customer file. i.e. each customer can have membership of  unlimited number of categories. Think "VIP" or "School".

As always, you can complete the item entry screen using <PgDn> at any time. We strongly recommend that you take the time to consider your item database as important business "Intellectual Property". We have seen many retailers who did a "quick and dirty" job of the Item database and later wished they had spent more time on this activity.

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