Approving works orders

Most companies approve works orders (WO) in a different order to that in which they were scheduled. This can result in non-optimal use of stock; for example Match-IT may be asking you to kit from two batches of the same material whereas in fact you know you can kit it from a single batch.

The effect of such non-optimal kit lists can be felt in stores. Another result of starting works orders in this way is self-referential returns; meaning that Match-IT will not let you start WO A because it wants a return from WO B (because B was scheduled first). To overcome both of these issues we now always perform a reschedule of a WO when it’s approved. These reschedules ignore all kit tentatively allocated to other WOs waiting to be approved – resulting in optimal kit for the WO that is being approved. The side-effect of this is that if you start lots of works orders in a different order to that in which they were originally scheduled, they will appear to be unkittable – because another WO has ‘stolen’ it’s kit when it was approved.

However such works orders can usually be approved because alternative kit will be found during it’s own approve-time schedule. This behavior is not appropriate to all companies and so there is a default to turn auto-approve scheduling off should you require it. A pending tweak is to extend the kit state flag (K) to include a character implying ‘this WO was kittable but it’s kit has been stolen and now it’s not kittable without an approve schedule’. The above logic also applies to sub-contract purchase orders. The difference is that Match-IT performs the reschedule when the SCPO is created. Again a default exists to disable the auto scheduling.

Nominating a Match-IT recovery station

When starting Match-IT after a windows crash or lock-up, Match-IT will automatically start in recovery mode. Sometimes Match-IT will tell you that a recovery station has not been nominated; this note explains how to nominate one.

1. Make sure that nobody is using Match-IT.

2. Start Match-IT on the station that you wish to nominate as your recovery station. In normal circumstances the recovery station should be your server because recovery often involves a lot of computational effort. If you do not have a server, choose a powerful workstation.

3. Press the space bar when you see the grey splash screen appear with the Match-IT logos. This will take you into a window that allows you to set/clear various start-up options.

4. Click on the tab that says /recover and then press the button labelled Add this option. Now press Resume.

That’s it, you have now nominated a Match-IT recovery station. You should always use the recovery station when starting Match-IT after a windows crash or lock-up. It’s good practice to make sure that everybody is logged out of Match-IT first.

Getting started with user-designed paperwork

Many early users will be using paperwork designs that cannot be edited without some rework by Match-IT. Later system moved to completely user-editable paperwork designs. This note points the way forward if you would like to start moving from the old style paperwork to the new user-editable paperwork.

A good place to start is probably your works order because it doesn’t go out of the company and you can probably live with a few anomalies while you get it right. It’s always best to edit an existing paperwork design rather then create one from scratch and that’s what we’ll do here.

Your works order paperwork is controlled by a layout that a MC module default called Make Job Card Layout points at; the default may be called Job Card Layout on older systems. We’re going to use this default to access the layout responsible for generating the paperwork and change that – we’re not going to change the value of the default itself. This will become clearer later.

Press F4 to get a list of defaults. Click Show all classes and then type mc and Enter to locate on the MC module (Class) defaults. Move down to the default mentioned above
and select it, then press the System Value button. The first thing to remember is that this default has a layout as it’s value and that a layout is something that contains a reference to a printer and a paperwork design – so we don’t want to change the layout that the default points to, but rather, the paperwork that the layout points to. Click on the ellipsis (…) button next to System Value and then click the Detail button. You are now looking at the detail of the layout that the default points to.

You’ll see that that the printer is defined in the first tab and the paperwork in the second tab. Click on the tab called 2. Paper and then click the ellipsis button next to the Paper prompt. You can now select a new paperwork design. You’ll see one called UserJobCard with the E column ticked – meaning it’s one of the new editable paperwork designs. Click on this paperwork design and then click the Select button. You have now changed the paperwork design that the Job Card layout is pointing to. You’ll see that the Editable flag is now ticked in the Paper Properties box. Save and Close the layout, Close the Select Layout window and Close the System Default window.

When you approve works orders now, the new editable design will be used. Go with the standard design for a while and then decide on changes you would like to make.

To edit a paperwork design, use the above technique to navigate to the Available Papers browse and click Edit (rather than Select), or fire off the Available Papers browse directly. It’s probably not in your current menu structure so you’ll need to get to it via the Processes+GoAnywhere menu. It’s an OL module process called Available Papers. Select that line and Execute it. Now find the UserJobCard paperwork and Edit it.

You are now in the “List and Labels” design form. Read the help via the ?+Contents menu. Use File+Save to save any changes. Make simple changes first while you get used to it. There are options for previewing your changes and for viewing a list of the fields that you can include in the design (View+Windows+PopupVariables).

To get help on what the variables available contain, use the Match-IT help file. From the Help+HelpTopics menu item, double click on Reference and then Report Files. This is a list of all the reporting files. Double-click on a file to see an explanation of the fields it contains.

There are also some standard OL module defaults that you can include in the design. These are available for selection from the Variables section of the popup window and contain things like your company name and address. They also contain standard header and footer text for documents that you can change on a per customer/supplier basis (because they are defaults).

How do I print to a web page?

Using the HTML View layout when printing browses (for example the materials catalogue) generates a HTML format report and displays in your default internet browser. Once in your browser it can be printed, emailed or saved to disk for upload to a web site etc. Another advantage of the HTML report is that data columns are auto-sizing and you can fiddle with the HTML afterwards if necessary.

How do I access recently used records?

When starting builds later then 21.1.8 you will notice that a little window appears called the MRU list. This is a list of Most Recently Used records; think of it like the History bar in Internet Explorer; double clicking on a record brings up the edit window for it. For example you may have been editing a material recently and need to edit it again; instead of going back to the Materials Catalogue and finding the record you can just scan down the MRU list and double click on the appropriate entry. Those records used most recently appear at the top of the list. The list is usefully resized to be thin but long and placed at one side of your Match-IT desktop.

It’s appearance at startup is controlled by a GX module default called Auto start recently used list; as such you can configure Match-IT to have the list appear on a site/station/user/role basis.

Try it and let us know what you think; please don’t hesitate to send critical feedback.
This facility has been there for a while; the appearance on the desktop and the default controlling it is new.

How do I print out all fields in the customer/supplier file?

Match-IT has a generic file browser that lets you display all fields in any file. How you get access to this tool depends how your ribbon menus are structured but a generic way is to use the Go Anywhere menu option and Execute the ZS process called File Browser.

Then select the file you want to browse and the key you want to browse on. You will see all fields for all records in that file. You can optionally only show records with specific key values depending on the key you have chosen.

To print the browse use the print button that appears at the foot of the window. The HTML browse print layout is quite useful in this respect because it automatically sorts out column widths etc.

WARNING: DO NOT EDIT ANY INFORMATION USING THE GENERIC FILE BROWSER WITHOUT SPEAKING TO US FIRST.

Controlling how Match-IT iconises and closes down

There are a number of ways in which your machine may decide to iconise Match-IT or close it down completely. Firstly, Match-IT will iconise for security reasons if you have not used it for a particular length of time; that time is defined by the AS default called Gone Away Ticks which is defined in seconds. You will need to enter your password to restore Match-IT from this iconised state.

If Match-IT is left iconised for a second period of time, it will close down completely; this second period is controlled by the AS default called Max Hide Time and again this is defined in seconds.

Your Match-IT session may also close down completely if you run it outside of the login window. The login window represents a time during the day when you are allowed to use Match-IT and is controlled by two AS defaults called Earliest Allowed Login Time and Latest Allowed Login Time.

Your overnight scheduling is not affected by this time window unless you have modified the login time window for the Agent.

If you are experiencing unexpected logout requests, please check both the system values of the above defaults and any specialised values of the defaults. Note that when Match-IT closes down you are always given the opportunity to stay logged in if you happen to be at your station.

Note also that other users may request you to log out, when for example an upgrade is about to be performed.

An alternative way to model dispatch methods

When a dispatch method is used the works order that is created is unusual in that the kit and the output batch represent the same product; for example a dispatch method is often used as a resizing operation or a ‘clean and pack’ operation.

The kit batch has the Packed flag un-set and the output batch has the Packed flag set. When a dispatch method is used, Match-IT allocates the same batch number, instance number and expiry date for both the kit and output batch (because in the real world they are the same thing).

If for some reason a dispatch method is not suitable (for example you require the kit and output materials to have different product codes) you can achieve the same behaviour by using derivitives.

If a material is marked as a derivitive of another, Match-IT takes this to mean that it represents the same real-world object, but has been (for example) resized or been cleaned and packed.

When Match-IT schedules a method step where the output material is a derivitive of the kit material it treats that step as if it were a dispatch method; i.e. the same batch number, instance number and expiry date are used for both the kit batch and output batch; even though in this case they have different product codes.

Note that in both cases if the kit batch is an existing batch the batch number, instance number and expiry date are propagated to the output batch.

What are document issue numbers?

The following Match-IT business model documents have issue numbers associated with them:-

  • Enquiry/Quote
  • Purchase Order
  • Sales Order

Each document has an overall issue number and a separate issue number for each line.

All of these issue numbers can be shown on the paperwork.

When a document or document line is initially created the issue number is set according to a default.  The most common default values are 0 and 1.  Match-IT is initially configured such that the default values are 1.  The same defaults are used for document and line issue numbers.

Enquiry/Quote from a EN module default called First Enquiry Issue Number.

Purchase Order from a PO module default called First Purchase Issue Number.

Sales Order from a SO module default called First Sales Issue Number.

The reason for the default is so that the issue number can represent an amendment number by setting the default value to 0 or an issue number by setting the default value to 1.  Note however that when modelling amendment numbers the Match-IT user interface still uses the phrase Issue Number.

You will find that some of your customers use issue numbers and other use amendment
numbers. The beauty of the default based initialisation is that you can set up customer specific defaults such that when you create a new sales order the issue numbers (amendment numbers) are set appropriately.

Match-IT never automatically adjusts an issue number (amendment number); it is considered the user’s responsibility to adjust them appropriately.

Issue numbers (amendment numbers) are shown on the Audit tab of the relevant
forms.  They are not protected from change.

Accompanying issue numbers in the document header forms (not the lines) there are
two related fields: Issued Changed On and Issue Changed By.  These are automatically populated by Match-IT with the current date and user when you change an issue number but you can freely edit over them afterwards.  Like the issue number
fields, these fields are available for use on your paperwork.