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Distribution Cloud Overview

Overview

Distribution Cloud is a CRM and Order Management Platform designed specifically for distributors. Its focus is to empower the CSR and Sales teams to provide an amazing customer experience while also maximizing profits and efficiency. Our unique approach combines the flexibility of a CRM package with the structure and wealth of information from the ERP System.

This document will go over some of the functionality within Distribution Cloud, however, please keep in mind that this software is being actively developed, and much of this is subject to change.


Mission Control Overview

As you enter Distribution Cloud’s Mission Control screen, you’re presented with a high-level summary of how many documents you have open, their total cost, and the total revenue that they’re generating. 

From this view, it’s easy to understand how much you have on order, on quote, or on invoice. You’ll see the amount of each type of document, as well as the sum of their cost and revenue.

In the top-left portion of the screen, you’ll see the Queue Selection dropdown (this defaults to “All Workflows”). By clicking on the Queue Selection dropdown, you will be able to quickly filter your documents by Quotes, Orders, or Invoices. 


 

Both the queue selection dropdown and the main document grid provide aggregate information about what’s in each queue of the workflow. This allows you to quickly understand the current state of your workflow. Using this data, you can quickly and accurately answer questions about your business such as:

“How many web orders came in overnight?”

Look in “New Orders”

“How many quotes are waiting on customer approval?”

Look in “Customer Approval”

“How much total revenue is waiting on inventory to be replenished?”

Look in “Backordered” or “Purchasing”



The Queues window on the left side of the screen allows you to quickly enable or disable the visibility of the different Workflows and Queues within your company. It also includes a search bar for narrowing down the view to specific documents.



The Documents grid also supports a variety of filtering. The queue visibility configured in the Queues window takes effect here, allowing you to view all queues or only a select few specific to the task at hand. The grid can also be searched, allowing you to choose some of the built-in columns, or any extended columns you have configured in Business Central (that have been configured to be visible in Distribution Cloud).



You can further narrow down your results by utilizing the filters in your search. Clicking "+ Add Filter" will open a popup window containing a list of filters that you can easily toggle on to help narrow down your results.



One piece of feedback that we consistently hear around Business Central is that it’s difficult to find information about related documents or other objects. For example, from an Order, it can be very challenging to find the Shipments, Invoices, and Purchase Orders generated from it, or the quote that it was generated from. To help with this, Mission Control combines all these related documents into one place - a column where you can see how many related documents exist, and quickly view a list of them. You can then click on one of these documents and immediately open it up in Distribution Cloud or in Business Central.



Mission Control is also a great way to view cost and margin information at a glance. As seen before, we aggregate this information at the queue and workflow level, but we also display this at the individual document level. Gross Margin in particular can be a great tool in quickly evaluating an order.



On a similar note, a popular feature that we intend to adopt from SalesPad is the concept of document “Statuses” within Mission Control. In SalesPad, we see this feature as being useful to quickly understand some high-level information about the documents - whether they’ve been shipped, whether they’ve been picked, etc. In Distribution Cloud, we’ve decided to start small, implementing a warning status that calls out if the document lacks any Line Items. In the future, we’ll expand this column to provide more in-depth insights!

Mission Control’s core function is providing a view of the status of a company’s Workflow. Of course, that means that users need a way to move their documents through their workflow so that they are in the correct queue that represents their current status.

 


To configure your workflows, start by navigating to the Workflows screen. Click the dropdown arrow in the top-right, then select Workflows.



In the Workflows screen you'll see a row of tabs, each correlating to a type of workflow (Quote, Order, Invoice, and Return). These tabs allow you to filter the workflows that you're looking at by a specific document type. 

Let's say you would like to create a workflow for your Orders. The first thing you need to do is open the workflow for Orders by clicking "Order Workflow".



This will open the Order Workflow screen, where you can define the workflow. 

The next step would be defining the Queues within that workflow, which you can do by clicking the "+ Add New Queue" button. When you add a new queue to your workflow, you'll see a popup asking for a name and description of the queue.



After you've given the queue a name (and a description, if you'd like) you can click the "Add new queue" button at the bottom. 

Be sure to save any changes made to your workflow by clicking the "Apply Changes" button at the top of the screen.



Now that we've gone over how to create a queue, go through and create a queue for each of the steps within your workflow and you should be looking at something like this:



Once you have all of your queues defined, you can begin defining the path. Clicking the arrow on the right side of any individual queue will expand that queue, from the expanded view click the "Setup Queue" button. This will present you with a few new options:

  • Edit Name
    • Edit the name of an individual queue
  • Automated Actions
    • Specify automatic actions to take place when a document enters the queue (i.e., all allocated inventory is removed from the document)
  • Primary Path
    • The next queue that a document will be forwarded into
  • Alternate Path
    • Specify actions to take place based on certain criteria (i.e., if an Order contains more than '100' of a specific item, send the order to the Manager Review queue)

For the most part, this setup is relatively straightforward. Simply go through each of the queues, and set a Primary Path for each queue so that sales documents can flow into the next step.

The order of the example workflow above would be New Order > Pick Package > Ship Package > Create Invoice. However, let's say you'd like to set up a Manager Review queue for any sales documents that come in during the weekend. The first step would be to create a Manager Review queue. Once that is created we will need to set up the Alternate Path for the New Orders queue.

The Alternate Path will be comprised of several conditions: if the document date is a specific day of the week (in this case, Saturday and Sunday) then move the document to the Manager Review queue, rather than the Pick Package queue.



Once the Alternate Path has been defined, you'll see a new view under the New Order dropdown showing a summarized version of the step.



The final step is to setup the Primary Path for the Manager Review queue so that after the document has been reviewed, it can be processed through the normal path. For this example, you'd set the Primary Path of the Manager Review queue to Pick Package.

At this point, your Orders workflow has been fully setup and should look something like this:



There is a staggering amount of control and customization that you can utilize within the workflows of Distribution Cloud, feel free to try and create unique rules/workflows to fit your business needs! If you ever need assistance with the setup of your workflows, you can also reach out to our Customer Success Team.


Customer Card

If you need to check in on a customer’s status, Distribution Cloud’s Customer Card is the one-stop-shop for all the information that you would need. From checking the status of an Order, creating a new Quote, or simply finding a phone number, and everything in between, you can get it all done from the Customer Card.

 

To find the Customer Card for a customer, simply navigate to the Customers module, and select the customer from the list by clicking on their name.

 

 

Once you’ve opened a Customer Card, you’ll notice that you have an immediate overview of their current standing. In the top-left corner of the screen you can see their status, their current balance, and more!

 

 

You’ll also notice just below that is a view of their primary and shipping addresses, as well as contact information.

 

 

Moving towards the center of the screen you’ll see a large window containing a lot of information. Starting at the top-right corner, you’ll notice that you can create a new document for the customer right from this screen by clicking the New Document button, then selecting the document type.

 

 

Just below the New Document button are a number of tabs that you can access, let’s start with the default tab, Open Documents. Within this tab is a list of all of the open documents pertaining to your customer. From here you can quickly scan through their documents from a high-level view, or use the dropdown arrow to get a slightly more in-depth look.

 

 

You can also fully customize this view to your liking by adding, removing, or rearranging the columns using the Edit Columns button.

 

For a more in-depth look at your customer’s purchases, you can also use either the Products tab or the All Documents tab. The All Documents tab allows you to see all of their sales documents, including historical and voided, rather than their open documents.

 

 

The Products tab is an overview of all of their purchases, listed by product. This tab can make searching for a specific purchase significantly easier, as you don’t need anything other than an item name!

 

 

The Contacts tab allows you to create and save as many contacts as you may need for a customer. 

 

 

Similarly, the Addresses tab lets you create and save as many addresses as you need. This is also where you would go to set a primary and shipping address for your customer if needed.

 

 

Lastly, the About tab is where you can enter/edit all of your customer’s details. Setting their currency, assigning a default payment term, entering tax information, assigning a Sales Representative, or even adjusting their name can all be done from this tab.

 

 

How do I find customers by “x”?

By default, searching for a customer will only search by that customer’s name. However, if you need to find a specific customer and you only have access to a customer number or phone number, you can easily search by navigating to the Customers module and adjusting the search criteria to either ‘Search by Customer Number’ or ‘Search by Phone Number’.

 

 

How do I update my customer information?

Open the Customer module, find the customer that you’d like to update then navigate to their Customer Card. Once you’re in the Customer Card of the customer that you’d like to update, select the tab that corresponds to the information that needs to be updated (i.e., Addresses tab for primary/shipping address changes, Contacts tab for contact information changes, About tab for invoicing/currency/tax information).

 

How do I add a new address?

Open the Customers module, find the customer that you’d like to update then navigate to their Customer Card, select the Addresses tab and click the + New Address button.

 

 

How do I set an address as the shipping or primary address?

From the Customer Card, navigate to the Addresses tab. Within this screen you will see a list of all of the customer’s addresses. When hovering over an address in this list, you will notice an ellipses appear on the right side, click the ellipses to mark an address as primary or shipping.

 

 

How can I find what I’ve sold to a customer?

To find a list of all items that have been sold to a customer, open the Customers module and navigate to the Customer Card of the customer that you’d like to search. From the Customer Card select the Products tab and you will see all of their purchases sorted by item.

 

How do I set up a new customer?

To create a new customer, open the Customers module, then click the New Customer button located in the top-right corner.

 

Documents


What type of documents can I create?

You can create Quotes, Orders, Invoices, and Returns within Distribution Cloud. 

 

How do I add products to a document?

To add a product to a sales document, open the document that you would like to fill out, navigate to the bottom of the screen and click Add Product. You can also hide the header of the sales document to provide some more screen space, to do this simply click the Hide Details button. 

After you’ve clicked Add Product, a list of products will appear. Within the list, you can either click the item you’d like to add or begin typing to search for a specific item. After you’ve clicked the item that you’d like to add, you can adjust the line item details as necessary.

 

 

 Once the document has been created and filled out, you can move the document to the next queue in your workflow by pressing the "Submit To" button. 

If you would prefer to manually specify the queue that the document is sent to, clicking the dropdown arrow on the right side of the "Submit To" button will present you with a list of available queues to send the document to, allowing you to have more granular control over the movement of your sales documents within your workflow.



You can also view your sales documents from a mobile device, as well as process them through your workflows! For more information on how to process sales documents from a mobile device, please refer to the Distribution Cloud Mobile page.


Products

 

How do I find products by “x”?

By default, searching for a product will only search by the product’s name. However, if you need to find a specific product and you only have access to a description, you can easily search by navigating to the Products module and adjusting the search criteria to ‘Search by Product Description’.

 





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  1. Christian Hartford

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