May 2018 Newsletter

 

What we’re talking about in May:

  • Enterprise Management Construction does it ALL! – Construction Today write up
  • Ruth S: Why you should review your server regularly
  • Ready to make the move to Estimating SQL?
  • The TUG boat is leaving the dock!
  • Awesome ‘Tips and Tricks’ for Sage 300 CRE | Sage 100 CON | Sage Estimating

 


X3 Construction is now part of Sage Business Cloud Management

by Joanie Hollabaugh, Sr. Director of Marketing 

A few years back, Sage launched an enterprise product for construction which was developed on the Sage X3 (ERP) platform, by actual project managers who need an enterprise solution for a very complex project in Dubai. You may or may not have heard of it, but it’s being rebranded to fit in with the Sage suite of cloud-based solutions. It’s a fascinating story, and Construction Today was intrigued, apparently. The following is an excerpt of an originally published article by Construction Today (read the full article here,) and reprinted with permission of Chris Wiener, CEO, {SAW} and Software Mill.

“Construction is actually discrete manufacturing”

“The challenge is to identify customers who have outgrown their current product and introduce them to an alternative solution without them thinking there is a problem with the existing application,” he continues. “Enterprise Management was a perfect platform to customize for construction because whether we like to admit it or not, construction is actually discrete manufacturing.” – Eric McCashey, director of Sage product marketing enterprise

Enterprise Management Construction – formerly known as Sage X3 Construction and part of the Enterprise Management solution – empowers project managers and other stakeholders to better manage the entire construction project lifecycle. It captures more granular, work-in-progress project and financial data using one integrated system. Sage leveraged its more than 30-year history of providing business applications to deliver a completely modern and mobile enterprise management solution. Using this platform and built from the ground up, Enterprise Management Construction addresses the complexity and risks faced by today’s mid-tier to larger construction firms.

Enterprise Management Construction delivers a data-driven, unified experience built on the proven Enterprise Management platform. Today, the industry solution offers core capabilities for complete construction lifecycle management including: project management, contract and subcontract management, estimating, project financial and cash flow management, project document management, timesheet support and project visualization and analytics.

Enterprise Management Construction integrates with other Sage solutions, including HR, payroll and CRM products. It also integrates with other third-party applications such as Oracle Primavera and Microsoft Project. “This is a fully integrated solution from the Sage ecosystem,” according to Chris Wiener, CEO of Specialized Application Workshop {SAW} and Software Mill, developer of Enterprise Management Construction. “Enterprise Management Construction gives its customers a unique experience. It works right out of the box and does what it says it does.”

Continued Refinement

The first changes to the solution were made in March 2017 to include a project management module that understood project flow and a cash flow analysis module. Enterprise Management Construction also understands contractual relationships and is flexible enough to accommodate them.

Sage launched Version 2.0 in January to further expand its product functionality and better serve the entire construction industry. The update to the Enterprise Management Construction platform enhanced the functionality of Job Cards and Work Packages to make it easier for a smaller team to facilitate.

Version 2.0 allowed companies to calculate and report fractional progress with each activity update in Job Cards to better understand the true amount of work performed. Work Packages – groupings of resources such as labor, materials and equipment needed to complete a task – were also enriched in the new version with the development of an abstracted Bill of Quantities that provided for unspecified material selection.

Although Job Cards and Work Packages saw the most changes in version 2.0, other aspects of Enterprise Management Construction continue to be refined. “We have been looking to add a vehicle and equipment assets management module and we’re working to create the next-generation of asset management,” Wiener says. “If you have construction assets, watch this space.”

“We are looking at contractors, service and facility management companies as part of our next development cycle,” Wiener says. “We need to make sure we are delivering excitement to the industry through a unified single interface. A ticket can be raised in the portal, the service desk can dispatch for maintenance services and material inventory can be drawn from the warehouse. It’s all automated processes that have enabled greater capabilities for facilities and service management.”

Enterprise Management Construction is used mostly by construction project managers, site supervisors and construction and quality field team leads to cost, plan and report construction progress. But the goal with the new architectural changes is to broaden its reach to more end-users. “This is a big change in terms of having everything tied together with accounts payable, receivables, inventory and control systems,” Wiener says. “Those relationships can get very complicated.”

Customer Feedback

Customer input plays a key role in expanding the functionality of Enterprise Management Construction. A business partner advisory committee made up of existing and potential users was established to evaluate the system and recommend changes through surveys and discussions on workflow and features.

The results of these discussions have been and will continue to be incorporated into the upgrades to ensure Sage’s platform stays on the cutting-edge of technology. For example, significant effort was placed on improving customer access to information, decision-making and execution of those decisions because users said they wanted to achieve a result in the least amount of clicks.

“The product is developed by a growing team that understands the underlying logic of the system and is capable of creating the new features that fit seamlessly into its overall performance,” Wiener says. “Each stop on the Enterprise Management Construction roadmap was selected because of its value to the client. We know what the problems are in the industry and we’re setting up the tools to solve those problems long-term.”

According to Wiener, “Many of the legacy systems still in use today have not kept pace with the kind of real-time data collection and dissemination that Enterprise Management Construction offers.”

— End of excerpt —

Choose the right equipment

So, which product fits your needs?  A simple construction equipment analogy to help you understand the difference: Sage 100 Contractor is like a bobcat, Sage 300 CRE is a bulldozer, and Sage Enterprise Management Construction is a massive pile driver.

In other words, Sage 100 is a great fit for SMB businesses, that are primarily contractors or subs. Sage 300 CRE handles mid-market, multi-entity companies like a boss. Sage EM Construction is a better fit for enterprise businesses who need multi-language, multi-currency systems, that work on highly complex projects.

No matter the size or scale of your company, Sage Construction software will have the right solution for your business.

 


Review your server for now and the future

 

Make an annual appointment with your IT team

A reliable and robust server platform is a requirement for any software, including your Sage products. You may have recently upgraded or changed servers to accommodate a software upgrade. Or you may be planning for that in the near future. There are many reasons to review your server and network on a regular basis.

Although you should not need to change equipment every year, you should do at least a brief system review every year. This applies whether you are using on-premise equipment or a hosted (cloud) service. Here are some key points to consider in that review.

Discuss your own business requirements:

  • A change in number of users
  • A change in locations of users
  • A need for more software for mobile and productivity uses
  • Touchpoints with external software—with customers or vendors
  • Future operational expectations

Review system requirements:

  • Double check minimum and optimum recommendations for your Sage products
  • Consider requirements for add-on software and non-Sage products
  • Consider projections for Windows requirements
  • Stay in touch with industry options for hardware and hosted services

Identify your expectations:

  • Find out what level of system response time and processing speeds are needed; human productivity is affected if there are wait times
  • If remote access is needed, identify the parameters for use and for security
  • Assess storage needs and calculate generously for space
  • Make note of who provides various elements of your IT support and how much you need to handle yourselves
  • Keep track of problems or issues that you want to prevent with the next server option

Maintain budget awareness:

  • Keep track of overall expenses for the current server environment, including related IT expenses
  • View these annually but aggregate them for a two- to five-year window of time
  • Keep track of general industry prices for hosted services, where the server is located elsewhere, and you pay monthly or annual fees
  • When you do budget for a system change, use the accumulated data to compare total costs over that time window. That will help when comparing the on-premise option to the hosted service choices.

No matter where your server is located or how your network is configured, it is worth your time to review them regularly and prepare for the future.

 


Are you ready to make the move to SQL for Estimating?

Walk this way!

With Sage discontinuing the support of Estimating Pervasive and the Sentinel USB, you may have considered upgrading to the SQL version. While you are not required to migrate (although without support or access to replacement USB devices), this is a good time to do so, as Sage has invested heavily in the SQL platform along with the totally repackaged V17.11 — the biggest Estimating release in a decade (read about features and functions here).

See it live!

Sage is hosting a live webcast: “The next generation of Estimating is here… have you upgraded?” with Mark Reich throughout May. Mark will address all of your questions and concerns, including:

  • See what you’re missing if you’re not using Sage Estimating (SQL).
  • What is happening with Sage Estimating Pervasive?
  • Are you hesitant to upgrade to Estimating (SQL)?
  • Demo of the new innovations in the solution
    • 2D & 3D integration products and partners (BIM)
    • Alternates, data connector, overline quantities and more…
  • Roadmap summary

Here’s the link to register: REGISTER HERE  (Note: this webinar is the third topic on the page, but the others are worth your time too!) 

Here’s a handy bookmark to LAI’s collection of estimating blogs: https://ledgerwoodusa.com/category/estimating/. There you will find our past articles on the release, plus tips and tricks from Sage’s Estimating Marketing Manager, Renee Mullen.

If you would like LAI to demo the product for you directly, click our “No Big Deal” demo button below.


The ‘TUG’ boat is leaving the dock!

If you don’t know about TUG — The Users Group for Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, Sage 100 Contractor & Sage Estimating — you are missing THE ultimate informational resource for your Sage software and opportunity to network with other users.

Founded in 1987 to bring together those who use these software applications for the construction and real estate industry, TUG is a membership-based, volunteer-led, and professionally managed not-for-profit organization.

An annual membership gives you access to conferences, newsletters, web forum and a weekly “TUG Tip of the Week” — all driven by users.

LAI and TUG

Ledgerwood has always supported TUG and its mission:

To connect members with others who use the software on a daily basis so that they can educate each other and exchange knowledge to find real-world solutions.

In recent years, LAI’s Sage Certified consultants have presented and assisted at several National and Regional Conferences. This year, Pam Schulz (Sage 100 CON), Kyle Ziegler (Sage 300 CRE) and Ruth Stockdale (Sage 300 CRE) will be presenting and assisting at the 2018 Conference in Orlando, FL.

Registration for the conference just opened this month! Take a look at the conference information by clicking below, and while you’re visiting the site, consider joining or renewing your membership.

 


 

 Follow LAI on Social Media for current construction and technology news!

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Check out the LAI You Tube channel – recordings of past webinars and training classes!


Upcoming LAI Online Training and Networking Events:

Jun 13 @ 8:00 am – 9:00 am
Timberscan Paperless A/P Webinar @ GoToWebinar
8:00 am
Paperless Approval for Sage 300 CRE Timberscan is the ONLY Enterprise Content Management (ECM) System designed specifically for Sage 300 CRE (formerly Timberline)! Join us for a live online webinar[...]
Sep 12 @ 8:00 am – 9:00 am
Timberscan Paperless A/P Webinar @ GoToWebinar
8:00 am
Paperless Approval for Sage 300 CRE Timberscan is the ONLY Enterprise Content Management (ECM) System designed specifically for Sage 300 CRE (formerly Timberline)! Join us for a live online webinar[...]

 


Compensation for travel time

Submitted by Bryan Eto, CPA BeachFleischman

New Opinion Letter out from DOL

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has issued a new Opinion Letter on whether employers must compensate employees for travel time. These letters are issued to help the public better understand compliance with certain federal laws. They’re based exclusively on the facts provided by an employer that asks the agency for a formal, written opinion. The letter described in this article provides an employer with details of when it had to pay its traveling staff members in three different scenarios.

Scenario 1: Out-of-Town Travel

In this situation, the WHD addressed whether travel time should be compensated for hourly technicians who take a flight on Sunday for training that begins on Monday at 8:00 a.m. These technicians return home on Friday after the training concludes, although they occasionally travel home on Saturday if earlier flights aren’t available. The hourly technicians don’t work at a fixed location. Instead, they work at various customer locations each day. They have no fixed daily schedules and often work 8 to 12 hours a day repairing, inspecting and testing cranes.
They may, at times, work up to 16 hours per day depending on the condition of the cranes, the availability of parts, and other variables. A technician may need to stay in a hotel overnight and return in the morning to complete the job. On occasion, the company’s technicians travel out of town for training courses.

The WHD notes, that under federal regulations, travel away from an employee’s home community “is clearly work time when it cuts across the employee’s regular workday,” as “the employee is simply substituting travel for other duties.” The WHD doesn’t consider “time spent in travel away from home outside of regular working hours as a passenger on an airplane, train, boat, bus, or automobile” to be work time. The central issue raised in Scenario 1, however, is how to determine what travel time must be compensated when there is no regular workday.

Determining Regular Work Hours

A review of employees’ time records usually reveals work patterns that are sufficient to establish regular work hours, according to the WHD. In this scenario, it’s known that the technicians typically begin work at 7:00 a.m. Therefore, the only apparent irregularity in their work schedule was when they ended work.

The WHD states there are different methods that an employer may use to reasonably ascertain an employee’s normal work hours for purposes of determining travel time that must be compensated. One acceptable method is to review an employee’s time records during the most recent month of regular employment. If the records reveal typical work hours, the employer can consider those as the normal hours going forward — unless some subsequent material change in circumstances indicates that the normal hours have changed. If the records don’t reveal any normal working hours, the employer can instead choose the average start and end times for the employee’s workdays.

There are rare cases when employees really don’t have normal work hours. As an alternative in those cases, the employer and employee (or the employee’s representatives) can negotiate and agree to a reasonable amount of time or time frame in which travel outside of employees’ home communities will be compensated. The WHD stated that it won’t find a violation for compensating employees’ travel when an employer reasonably uses any method noted above to determine employees’ normal working hours for purposes of determining travel time that must be compensated during the working hours that were agreed upon. (Note, however, that the methods listed above aren’t an inclusive list)

Alternative Methods of Transportation

The employer seeking the Opinion Letter also asked whether an employee must be compensated for travel time if he or she chooses to forego travel by plane and instead wants to travel by automobile. To answer this question, the WHD cited a federal regulation that states that “if any employee is offered public transportation but requests permission to drive his or her car instead, the employer may count as hours worked either the time spent driving the car or the time he or she would have had to count as hours worked during working hours if the employee had used the public conveyance.”

Travel Time Between a Training Site and a Hotel

In addition, the employer asked whether an employee must be compensated for travel time to commute between a training site and the hotel where he or she spends the night. The WHD referenced 1996 and 1999 opinion letters that state: “Generally, the travel time from the hotel to the work site and back would be considered ordinary home-to-work travel, and, as such, need not be compensated.”

Scenarios 2 and 3: Travel in an Employee’s Normal Home Area

Scenarios 2 and 3 in the opinion letter largely deal with ordinary commutes to and from work. In Scenario 2, the hourly technicians travel from their homes to the office to get job itineraries before traveling to the locations of customers. Their commute time to and from home may vary, and they ordinarily use company vehicles. In Scenario 3, the technicians may “drive from home to multiple different customer locations on any given day.”

The WHD noted that work time that must be compensated generally doesn’t include time spent commuting between home and work, even when the employee works at different job sites. However, travel between job sites after arriving at work should be compensated by employers.

Use of a Company Vehicle

The WHD was also asked whether use of a company vehicle makes otherwise non-compensable travel time compensable. The WHD again noted that travel between job sites during the workday must be compensated. With respect to commuting time, however, the WHD stated that use of a company-provided vehicle doesn’t, alone, make an ordinary commute compensable — provided that “the use of such vehicle for travel is within the normal commuting area for the employer’s business or establishment and the use of the employer’s vehicle is subject to an agreement on the part of the employer and the employee or representative of such employee.”

 

Beach Fleischman 2201 E. Camelback Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85016 | 602.265.7011 | http://beachfleischman.com | twitter: @BeachFleischman

 


 

No Limits to Custom Fields in Sage 100 Contractor

by Pam Schulz, Sage Certified Consultant

Give it a try!

In addition to the “old” User Defined fields in Sage 100 Contractor, many screens now have a “Custom Fields” button.

You can create an unlimited number of Custom Fields using this button. These fields are more versatile than the “old” User Defined Fields. (My personal favorite is the Character field with a limit of 255 characters — a “mini-notepad” — and you can have more than one!)

How to create custom fields:

  • Log in with Administrator rights
  • Click the Custom Fields button.
  • Click the “Add” button on the popup window

  • Define the new field; including Field Type, Size, prompts, default and security information. Do NOT change the field name.

  • After saving, use the “pin” button to show the field as “part” of the screen. (The field will originally pin to the side of the screen but it can be moved:

How to use the custom fields in reports and forms

  • To use the custom field in a report, simply select the field. Note there is a NEW data table created with the custom fields:

  • To use the custom field in a form design, write a calculated field:

These fields allow collection of customized data in many screens. The opportunity for multiple “long” fields allows the ultimate in the best processes and data reporting for YOUR needs.

 

Want help with custom fields? Use the form below to request an appointment with a consultant.

 

Financial Statement Headers

by Kyle Zeigler, Sage Senior Certified Consultant

When your Sage 300 CRE system was first implemented, the basic financial statement designs were likely created in the Financial Statement Designer module, including a Balance Sheet, Income Statement, and Trial Balance. These may have been modified over time or copies made so that custom versions could be created. When Sage 300 CRE users print financial statements using General Ledger > Reports > Financial Statements, these financial statement designs are accessed and used to create the printed document.

When the user’s Sage 300 CRE general ledger structure includes GL prefixes to accommodate either multiple fiscal entities or multiple GL divisions (departments, cost centers, etc.), printing financial statements for a single entity or division requires some additional settings. Financial statements can be printed in detail, showing every general ledger account in the system for a selected GL prefix or group of GL prefixes, or in consolidated form for all GL prefixes or a specified group of GL prefixes. To provide clarity for the reader of the statements, then, it may be important to include appropriate headers indicating the entities or divisions included in the statements.

To access the header fields of a particular financial statement, use Financial Statement Designer to open the statement design. Once open, select View from the menu bar at the top of the window and then select Header.

Most users will want to indicate the type of financial statement and the period being reported. Each line in the header is an Instruction. Plain text can be typed on the line and new lines can be added by pressing Enter. Instructions can be deleted or cleared using Edit. The font and alignment of the text can be formatted by clicking on the line and using Design > Instruction Options. Adding fields from GL settings, such as the period end date or company name, is done by using Design > Text Field.

When Design > Text Field is selected, a list of available fields is presented to the user. Selecting the appropriate text field can be tricky, however, and sometimes requires a little trial and error. Read on for some tips on which field to select to achieve the desired results.


The fiscal entities (companies) or divisions to be included in financial statements are selected at the time the financial statements are printed, but are defined in Financial Statement Designer > Tools > Prefix Groups. Depending on how the prefix groups are set up, different results will be achieved with different Text Fields in financial statement headers:

  • Any Text Field that includes a period, quarter, or fiscal year end date or period number will retrieve that information from the fiscal settings for the company. If you are consolidating multiple companies in the prefix group, all of the companies must have the same period, quarter, or fiscal year end dates in order for this information to be printed on the financial statement.
  • Company (fiscal entity) information such as company name, address or Federal ID number will likewise be retrieved from the company setup in GL. This information will not print on financial statements when multiple companies are included in the prefix group selected at the time the statement is printed.
  • When consolidating multiple companies or divisions in financial statements, the Prefix Group Description is the best field to use to indicate the companies or divisions included in the statements. If that field is insufficient, the financial statement designs can be copied for each group, and the text information typed in the header Instructions so that the same information prints every time the statements are printed.

If you need assistance in creating your financial statement designs or other reports in your Sage 300 CRE software, please don’t hesitate to contact Ledgerwood Associates.

Need help? Call us to schedule a Sage Certified consultant today!

request-support

 

How to delete SQL Databases in Estimating Management Console

by Renee Mullen, Sage Marketing Manager

Have you found yourself in that all too familiar position of completing test migrations or copying your Standard Database and realize that now you have tons of copies of the same Standard Databases and you need to delete them? Lucky for you, we have the tools and we can walk you through the process to delete those pesky Standard Database copies.

Note: These steps can be taken from either the workstation or the server directly, it is IMPORTANT to remember to back up your data prior to deleting anything from the Estimating Management Console and ensure that Estimating Security is properly setup for users.

  1. Open Estimating Management Console (Start, All Programs/Apps, Sage Estimating 17.xx, Estimating Management Console/Management Console)
  2. Navigate to the Standard Database tab.
  3. Right click on the database to be deleted and select Delete.
  4. Read the Warning Message and select the appropriate response.
  5. Select “Ok” to the confirmation message.

There you have it! Quick and easy. By following these steps, you can create and delete as many Standard Databases as you need.

Questions? Chat with Sage Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m.–8 p.m. ET.

For more information on this topic visit Knowledgebase article 70879. You can find this information and more in the Sage Knowledgebase.

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