How to Create a New Product

How to Create a New Product

Summary

This article details how to create a new product database. Basic knowledge of database principles is required. The use of Product Designer is required. This article describes how to create a retail product. Creation of a fabricated product is beyond the scope of this article.

More Information

  1. Determine the name for this new product. The name should be descriptive but relatively short. Avoid the use of the inch mark (“) in the product name.
  2. You need to decide what styles to include within this product. Generally, styles are broken up as they are by the various manufacturers, or by differing options needed to create those styles. Examples are: Standard Rectangular, Two on One Headrail, Cordless, etc. Additional styles may be added at any time.
  3. There are three Display categories for each option: Retail, Fabrication and Invisible. Additionally, there are seven Type categories for each option. Retail Display items allow you to select from a list, enter text or enter numbers. The Type categories that apply to Retail Display are Numeric (enter a number), List (select from a list), Text (enter a text and/or number value) or List/Text (select from a list, but able to enter free text without overriding the option). Fabrication and Invisible Display items are used mainly in Fabrication Product Databases; however, Invisible options are sometimes used in a Retail product. Finally, the Format item allows you to specify if numbers are displayed in Measure format with fractions, or the number of decimal places that the result is carried to.
  4. Create a listing of the different options that need to be included for each style. Examples are: Room Location, Width, Height, Mount, Finish, Color, Control, etc. Be sure to specify in your listing if any of these options are dependent on another option (in the example above, Color lists might be different based on the Finish selected).
  5. Determine the Display (Retail), Type (Numeric, Text, List, List/Text) and Format (normally Measure, if needed) for each option. Format only needs to be specified for Numeric Type items.
  6. For List or List/Text Display items, determine a name for the list. It is normally the same name as the Option that will be used. For list values that will be dependent on another selection, indicate which list is the “Parent”: e.g. in the example we are using, the list “Finish” would be the parent of the list “Color”. Determine the values that will be entered for your lists.
  7. Now that you have your basic structure outlined, open Product Designer. Click File>New Product. Determine if you want to create a new product based on an existing product, using a template, or start from a blank product database. Highlight the product you wish to use, and enter a Product Name (this is how the product will be listed within Solatech Window Covering Software) and a File Name. Then click Create. Your new product database will be created and opened in Product Designer. In the examples shown below, it is assumed that this product database is being created from a blank template.

Note: in using Product Designer, the record is not written to the database until you have moved off of the line being modified. This is normally done by either pressing the down arrow on your keyboard, or by clicking with your mouse to a field in the next line. If the Pencil icon is shown on the left side of the line you are working on, it has not yet been written. If the current window is closed without the record being written, that record will be lost.


  1. Click View>Styles/Components. Enter the name of your Style(s). Enter also the Sort order for the order you wish the styles to be displayed in. To sort the Styles Alpha-numerically, enter three 9s in the sort field. Close this window.
  2. Click View>Lists. Enter the names of the lists you determined above. For any list that has a parent, create the name of the parent list first, then create the child list name. Select the name of the parent list from the drop-down in the Parent column.
  3. Beginning with any list you have that is a parent of another list, double-click on the list name to open the List Items window. Enter the values for this list. At this point, only concern yourself with the Item Name and Sort columns. Sorting is accomplished in the same manner as described above for Styles. To sort the list values Alpha-numerically, enter three 9s in the sort field. Enter a number into the sort order column if you want the options displayed in a different order. Repeat for your remaining lists.



In the directory tree view to the left of the screen, expand your first style. Double-click on Options.

5.

Create your option names. Examples for different types are:

a. For text items (such as Room Location), the values entered into the columns from left to right are:

Option Name: Room Location; Sort: 1; Display: Retail; Type: Text. Remaining columns are blank.

b. For Numeric items (such as Width), the values entered into the columns from left to right are:

Option Name: Width; Sort: 2; Display: Retail; Type: Numeric; Format: Measure. Remaining columns are blank.

c. For List items (such as Mount), the values entered into the columns from left to right are:

Option Name: Mount; Sort: 4; Display: Retail; Type: List; Format: Blank; List: Mount (or name of list - will be in a drop down box); Parent: Blank. Remaining columns are blank

d. For List items with a Parent (such as Color), the values entered into the columns from left to right are:

Option Name: Color; Sort: 6; Display: Retail; Type: List; Format: Blank; List: Color, Parent:

Finish. Remaining columns are left blank. NOTE: The parent option must be created before, and be displayed above, the option name that has the parent.


6. It is required that you include as the final option “Remarks”, as a text entry option. NOTE:

All Styles require at least one option. Remarks can be used as this one option.

7. There is a column under options that is labeled “Order Desc.”, with a column “Prefix” to the right. Place a check in the box for Order Desc. if you want this option to be displayed in the order description. Enter a value in the Prefix column if you want a prefix to be shown immediately before the option value (e.g. w: for Width, h: for Height)


8. It is recommended that once the options have been created that you refresh your product list and temporarily activate your new product within the Solatech software to ensure that the options work correctly (numbers are displayed in the correct format, list selections operate properly, no sorting errors made, etc.) At this point, there will be no pricing for the product.

9. Pricing must now be determined. As most products within the industry are based on a chart system, this will be discussed first. Surcharges will be addressed later in this article.

a. You must determine how many different price charts will be used for this product, and assign price chart names. If there are multiple price charts for a particular style (e.g. for different fabrics or finishes), you must have multiple price charts in Solatech.

b. Solatech uses a system where there is a “Base Chart”, and, if needed, characters are appended to this Base Chart name to arrive at the final price chart name. Normally, the base chart is CB (shorthand for Complete Blind), with suffixes of A, B, C, etc. or 1, 2, 3, etc. These suffixes are used to differentiate between different finishes or fabrics, for example. It is generally less confusing to append to the base chart name using the convention of your supplier. Example complete chart names would then be CBA, CBB, etc.; or CB1, CB2, etc. Remember, this listing is for unique price charts, not surcharge items (such as cloth tape or routeless, or a flat rate surcharge). Again, surcharges will be discussed later.

c. In Product Designer, on the tool bar, click on Price Charts. The price chart window should be empty. Type the name you determined above into the Price Chart column. The comment column can be used if desired to help you specify what the price chart is used for. This comment is NOT shown in the Solatech software, it is only displayed within product designer.


d. Create your price chart using Microsoft Excel. Enter your widths across the top of the spreadsheet, and your heights along the left side of the spreadsheet. The top left cell should be left blank. In entering your dimensions, you should NOT use the inch mark (“) or fractions (if your break points are not whole inches). Instead, enter the values as decimal (e.g. 36.125 - NOT as 36-1/8). DO NOT use the dollar sign ($) when entering the dollar values in this spreadsheet.


e. From Excel, click and drag to encompass the entire price chart, then click Edit>Copy.


f. Switching back to Product Designer, double-click the price chart name you created above.

The price chart window should open, and this price chart should be empty. Click Edit>Paste.


g. When prompted, select “Paste as Price Only, leave Cost at Zero” and click OK. Your values will be pasted into the price chart.


g. Repeat for any remaining price charts.

h. In Product Designer, on the left side of the navigation window, expand your first style (normally, Complete Blind). Double click on Price Lines.


c. You must give a name to each price line, which is normally descriptive.

APPLIES TO

  • Product Designer 3.x
  • Product Designer 4.0
  • Product Designer 4.1
  • Product Designer 4.2

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