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