Archive

Archive for the ‘Vessel Service Solutions’ Category

How VSS Helped Baltimore Marine Recovery Operate More Efficiently

December 14th, 2016

BMR-Logo-Stacked
Baltimore Marine Recovery, LLC provides emergency towing, salvage, refloat, charter, and launch services to the Chesapeake Bay area. Dale and Christine Plummer have been using Vessel Service Solutions (VSS) for three years. In 2015 and 2016, they won the BoatU.S. Smooth Sailing Award for “Superior Operational and Organizational Standards” – with help from VSS.

Q: Why did you decide to start using Vessel Service Solutions?
A: We have 10 boats, about 14 staff, and we work out of 3 ports (Annapolis, Baltimore, and Middle River). On top of being busy all year-round, there is a lot of paperwork to deal with on a daily basis. We wanted something to make our lives easier and enable us to continue to deliver great customer service. Plus, VSS allows our captains to handle dispatch orders, fuel and maintenance logs on one iPad application.

Q: What goals were you hoping to achieve with a new solution?
A: Reduce paperwork! Before VSS, we used the standard issue 2-part carbonless TowBoatU.S. invoice. Forms were lost overboard, misplaced, or just were not returned by the captains in a timely manner. With three ports, it was hard to manage and the captains complained that managing paper in a windy, wet environment sucked!
snowy_BMR

Q: How has VSS helped your business?
A: In addition to allowing us to go virtually paperless, we’ve seen an increase in boaters assisted and faster turnaround time on payments from BoatU.S. Being able to email a completed, signed order to BoatU.S. directly from VSS is great. I can also share the completed invoice with the boat owner by email.

The system has also made it is easier to process and track orders. I have an accurate and extensive historical record of all orders processed, that I can sort, filter, and search through. I no longer have to flip through old orders in a filing cabinet when BoatU.S. has a question on an invoice. VSS orders can also be submitted directly to my QuickBooks file. Three years ago, I hand entered every order into QuickBooks after I scanned and emailed it to BoatUS. Today, I push a couple of buttons and it is done.

bmr_qb_push

The Time Sheets module has made payroll much easier, as well. Instead of calling the captains for their hours, I run a simple report and see all timer entries. If something looks off, I can ask the captain to review and update the timer entries. Once that is done, the updated entries are immediately available to process payroll using the Time Sheet reports. I can run one report and have all employees’ time sheets for any time period complete with details for easy reference.

timesheets_bmr

Q: What is your favorite feature of VSS?
A: I have a couple favorite features. The first is remote dispatching. It is a total game changer. I can take my entire office with me. I have the ability to handle calls and dispatch orders from my son’s football game or from my home in the middle of the night – without getting out of bed.

The second would be ease of use. The system is very straightforward and user-friendly. Even those captains who aren’t tech savvy have found the system easy to use. Now that they know the VSS system, my Captains can’t stand using paper. If they manage to leave without an iPad aboard, they always come back and get it!

And third would be the text notifications that the captains receive when they have been dispatched an order – my guys use that as the basis for their timers. Each email has the invoice number and every invoice needs a timer so at the end of the day they have a running list to use to create or review their timers.

text_captain_bmr
IMG_0995_edit

macOS Sierra Compatibility Update

October 13th, 2016

xxl_MAC OS 4-1200-80

Apple’s newest OS roll out, macOS Sierra, not only comes with a new naming convention, but also features new Siri functions and the ability to copy and paste from device to device!

If you’re as eager as we are to upgrade to macOS Sierra so you can open your MacBook with your Apple watch, don’t hesitate, because all of our Mac plug-ins and solutions are macOS Sierra compatible.

Here is a full list of our Mac products and a brief explanation of how they can help you automate your workflow!

Solutions:
Core4 CRM v3.0.0.3: Core4 is our flagship CRM solution. Built to be robust and expandable, this business tool allows you to track everything from contacts to sales transactions and from calendar appointments to notes and documents. You can connect the Core4 with your QuickBooks file, Outlook accounts, Address Book, and iCal.

Core5 Starter Edition v1.0.0.1: The Core5 Starter Edition is an intuitive and easy to use CRM solution. It is pre-configured to connect with your QuickBooks file, the Core5 is designed to be immediately deployable.

Vessel Service Solutions v2.3.0.0: VSS was designed for covering ship or water craft breakdown emergencies and allows users to eliminate time-consuming paperwork and processes. Users can tracks boat mileage, maintenance, and fuels ups and use it to track time sheets and pull various reports.

Plug-ins:
FM Books Connector Online v2.0.0.0: Want to save time and energy by eliminating double entry of contacts, invoices or sales transactions? Use this plug-in to connect your FileMaker solution with your QuickBooks Online file.

Address Book Manipulator v4.0.1.0: Avoid the hassle of having to add contacts to your Apple Address Book and then re-type the details into your solution when you back to the office. The Address Book Manipulator allows users to update all contacts in FileMaker or Apple Contacts and then easily push the information from one application to the other, ensuring contact information is always up to date.

iCal Manipulator v2.0.1.0: Add an event once and have it on all your devices. This plug-in directly connects FileMaker with Apple Calendar and supports multiple calendars, recurring events, and tasks.

PDF Manipulator DC v1.0.1.0: Process forms faster by extracting and inserting data between PDF form fields and FileMaker.

Change Printer v4.0.7.0: Automatically changes printers, sets optional printing attributes, facilitates the coordination of large and complex print procedures, and easily switches between various types of printers/drivers.

File Manipulator v4.0.1.0: File Manipulator can copy, move, rename or delete files and folders directly from a FileMaker solution. In addition, you can compress and encrypt file data with password protection, as well as decompress and decrypt file data.

For additional details on product functionality and integration details, please contact sales@productivecomputing.com or call 760-510-1200.

VSS: How to Push Invoices and Pull Balances with QuickBooks

April 22nd, 2016

 

If your VSS system is configured with QuickBooks using our FM Books Connector, you can push invoices to and pull balances from QuickBooks. Please contact PCI if you wish to configure VSS with QuickBooks.

Pushing an Invoice to QuickBooks:

Once you have a completed order, you can push it to QuickBooks by locating the QB menu item in the top toolbar.
 
VSS_QB_1
 
This QB drop down will give you three options:
1. View in QuickBooks
2. Push/ Update Invoice to QB
3. Pull Invoice Balance
 
VSS_QB_2
 
When you click Push/Update Invoice to QB, you will see a series of popups as the invoice pushes. The first will ask if you wish to continue, the next will indicate the invoice is pushing, and the third will indicate if the invoice pushed correctly.
 
VSS_QB_4

VSS_QB_5

VSS_QB_6
 
After you have pushed an invoice, you will notice that the Overall Status will state “Pushed to QB” and the Pushed to QB status will indicate the date of the push.

VSS_QB_7

If you make edits to the order after it has been pushed to QuickBooks, you can select Push/Update Invoice to QB and it will update the invoice in QuickBooks.
 
Pull Invoice Balances:
You can post payments in QuickBooks and easily pull over balance information in VSS.

When you click “Pull Invoice Balance”, it will ask you if you wish to pull balance information for a Found Set or This Order.

VSS_QB_9

Found Set:

Clicking Found Set will pull balance information for all of the orders in your found set (if you have performed a find) or it will update the balance information for all records in your system if you have not performed a find.

For Example: In the graphic below, I performed a find for all invoices for a specific time period. My found set was 10 records. If I clicked Found Set on the pull balance prompt, it would pull the balance information for these 10 orders.
VSS_QB_11

In this graphic, I did not perform a find, so I am currently managing all orders in my system (84). If I clicked Found Set, it would update the balance information for every order that had been pushed to QuickBooks. Please note, if you have a large number of records, this could take some time.

VSS_QB_12

This Order:

Selecting this option will only pull the balance information for the current record you are viewing.

Once you have pulled balance information, your Paid On status will update with the date of the last payment.
VSS_QB_13
 
The More Info tab provides you additional information such as the QuickBooks ID, when the invoice was pushed, the last time the balanced was checked, and the invoice’s current balance.

VSS_QB_14
 
View in QuickBooks
In order to “View in QuickBooks” you need to first push the order to QuickBooks.
Clicking this option will open up the invoice in your QuickBooks file for easy reference and editing.

Vessel Service Solutions. Think AAA for the Sea.

April 12th, 2016

VSS_Logo_AI_png_Old_light
Our wonderful products team here at PCI has been hard at work on Vessel Service Solutions (VSS) 2.0 – a new and improved vertical solution for the boat assistance and towing industry.

VSS was first released over two years ago in January 2014 and sold as a customizable framework for covering ship or watercraft breakdown emergencies – kind of like a Big Mac – you could have it your way. We provided you the burger and bun and you decided all the delicious toppings you wanted. The idea behind the product was to help an industry, which relied heavily on 20th century processes (think scans and faxes), streamline their workflow by going paperless and digital.

VSS has come a long way since then. We’ve taken this framework and turned it into a truly wonderful and efficient solution with expanded functionality—yet still delightfully customizable.

Here’s how it works.
VSS_Flow_Graphic_1500

The process is simple enough—but saves the dispatcher and captain considerable time eliminating double entry and doing away with the necessity to print, scan, or fax any paperwork. The entire process from receipt of the order to sending it for payment takes place in one interface.

Other than an efficient orders process, the solution also offers users the following modules to track almost every aspect of their business:

Fuel logs per boat with information including: engine hours, location, and cost per gallon.
FL_blog_3_border

Maintenance Log where users can make an entry each time maintenance is performed on a boat.
Maint_log_2

Maintenance Schedule that graphically shows the viewer when the next required maintenance is to be performed.
Maint_sched_blog_edited

Time Sheets where personnel can link day and night hours worked to a specific order, calculate commission totals for an order or bill by the unit (ft. yd. mi.) for services performed.
VSS_Blog_TimeSheet_edited

– A variety of reports can be pulled on Orders, Boats, and Time Sheets.
Blog_reports_edited

Preferences is where the magic happens. This is where the user can customize some modules, manage QuickBooks, add boats and ports to the fleet, manage personnel contact information and update QB items/ services.
blog_prefs_edited

VSS is packed full of all types of goodies and nifty features for the user—much too much to discuss in a blog. If you’re interested in learning more about what else this solution has to offer contact us at sales@productivecomputing.com or 760-510-1200.

We also invite you to visit our website www.vesselservicesolutions.com for addition product information, capability overviews, and instructional videos.