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March 6, 2017

Monthly Update – February 2017

If You Likey, Spread the love, Y'All

I can't believe it's March 2017 and another month has already passed. But it has. That is the beauty of facts (and science), they are true whether we wan't to accept it or not.

Okay, so let's talk miniTPMS a little. ​

Things are happening on two fronts now, front-end and back-end development and mockup design, but only the mockup is visible. Ok, that is three fronts! Anyway, the good thing is, stuff is gettin' built.

One thing on the backend that you will like is this: every client of ours gets its own separate database. Surprised? Well, maybe you are maybe you ain't.

But you should know, there are TMS systems out there that have one huge database with all the data: all clients, and their clients, and their vendors, and that's just not the best way to do things in our humble but always right opinion. 

Because it's a potential security risk. And chaotic. And dangerous.

Again: We are creating separate databases for each our our clients.​

And yes, I get it, our mockups are getting ugly. But the point is to have the philosophy behind it done right, and not start with the beauty.

Kind of like having a girlfriend (or a boyfriend, whatever). You want them to be acceptable even when they wake up after a night of partying. And if you go to the movies together, or to the theatre, they'll put up some make-up and brush hair and suit-up or what not to get their sh.t together. So no worries. Minitpms is still in the "waking up" phase.

Last time we talked about purchase orders and invoicing for both vendors and customers, but in February we figured out it might be cool if we have all these separate screens combined in some sort of a tabbed version. And have it all on one place.

Complicating things to simplify things?

Well, it's like this:

If you are in any way an overloaded PM or company owner or anyone who has to deal with ton of finance daily, you must have been in a situation when even the table with 3 (read: three) rows present a problem for you to understand.

This is the part when you wish you would only see, what you want to see (like in that Madonna song).

And that is why we are separating the big salad of financial mess into smaller chunks, in order to make them easier to see and understand. Which eventually leads to the fact that you'll be able to make a decision more easily. Like when you want to click on "send invoice" or "set as paid" etc.

So, on the Client side, we will have these tabs:

  • Approved POs - the list of Purchase Orders to be invoiced (by us, to Clients, of course). If we select more and click a button, a popup will appear (maybe) so that we can either make draft invoice, or a final invoice that can be sent.
  • Draft invoices - created from last step, but they can still be changed, deleted, POs removed etc. Once a PO is removed from the draft, it goes back to Approved POs (awesome, right)?
  • Final invoices - these are the invoices that were finalized, but not sent. We have our reasons why you can do that (we'll make it easy for You to understand the concept too)
  • Sent invoices (aka Receivables) - the invoices you marked as sent (if you, for example are sending invoices through normal post you don't need to send them in e-mail too), and the invoices that are sent via e-mail. Pretty straight forward. And the list shows any of the clients outstanding payments, or dues, etc.
  • Paid invoices - To your greatest surprise, this is the list of paid invoices. 

Maybe it sounds like something overwhelming but it will all come down to the status of normal behaviour once you start using it and see how easy it is now to find out what is the status of what invoice etc. Oh, yes, because we do plan to implement some kind of  "ALL" invoices list, for example, which will show everything regardless of the status. 

Very similar concept is in the making on the Vendor side: ​

  • Approved tasks - list of financially and morally 🙂 approved tasks that vendors did. These can be sent into the POs.
  • Draft POs - these are the Purchase Orders "in making", and this is very good for you (unless you want to send a separate PO for each and every small task, in which case you won't like this feature), good, because you can wait for a month or two to create one PO for your Vendor and send them that one PDF (or a link to HTML) and have them send you one invoice. The other solution being spamming the poor fellas with 142 POs and losing their love because of too much e-mail.
  • Sent POs - this is pretty obvious, right? Purchase orders that you have sent but the Invoice never arrived for them. It's the limbo of finance. 
  • Invoices Payable - received invoices from vendors, with their numbers, due dates, etc. these invoices are paired with one or more Purchase Orders, because, what if you have a crazy vendor who invoices only every 3-4 months and you have sent them 3 Purchase Orders.
  • Invoices Paid - the ones you paid, obviously.

And it will look something like this (just much prettier). Ok, I know, not  a big deal, but trust me, it serves a great purpose.

This is the look of Approved Tasks, of course. Once you click Draft POs you'll go to the next Tab of this screen and see what is in the draft, etc all the way until Invoices Paid.

Hope that makes sense for you. If not, someone of us is way out of line (or reading the wrong blog).

But if you didn't like the numbers game, maybe you'll like the templates game.​

Templates: The Next Best Thing After Wi-Fi

​The 2nd thing we have been working on was using templates. It's still not 100% done, heck, NOTHING in minitpms is 100% done, the real challenge will only begin when we start to use the system live (which will be soon enough), so take this lightly.

Templates are here so we can fasten our seat-belts and ​liftoff. But they are not for everybody. Heck, minitpms is not really good for everybody.

Here's two examples of when you'll have extreme turbo super-frenzy ​benefits of templates: 

  • If you work for LSPs (or End Clients) who often send you the same project, just a little different. In miniTPMS we call all these thing "Components" (rather than project, projects are a bigger thing). So in our case, it would be: you get a new Component for the same project very often. With a template you'll need to enter only 5-6 data, instead of 30 🙂 
  • If you have clients with different workflow needs: let's say one client of yours is just a small company and wants only translation. If they send you 15-20 components a month, you are already save a ton of time if you create a template. But if you have a bigger client, where something needs to be done in a 3 step workflow (think the usual TEP here, translation, editing, proofreading) and something else in a 6 step workflow (TEP + dtp + 3rd party review + finalisation), or 5 step, etc... well you get my point.

​And how they will work is probably some kind of pre-populalted popup, where a bunch of things are already filled in: LSP, End Client, Component Root, Project Manager, Workflow, ... and it looks something like in the mockup below. 

​So instead of entering 100s of data (this doesn't even show everything, like Industry and type of the translation work) you have to insert only three. That's 3. And go to next step, where you can add some more required and some optional data:

Client volume is how much work is client giving you, obviously this is required. Check the unit and chose if this is a Fixed priced project (or you know, if it's free, click Fixed but put 0 as the price). Add languages - these will most probably be changed into buttons just like in the "normal project entry" case. And optionally you can insert Vendor instructions (this is something that all the translators, reviewers, editors and their catz and dogz will see), and you can also insert an internal comment (which is only visible to the people in your insider circle of trust. Read: PMs and Coordinators).

Again, that is three required data entered here as well. And you are ready for the next step:​

​Which is picking and adding vendors to the tasks. This one up is the classic TEP, just written as TER (ha!) and yes, the same guy is chosen for all three but it's like that just because it's a mockup. 

And wait, that's it. There are still things not completely fixed (as I mentioned it at the beginning) such as if we should put Vendor volumes here too (you know, how much translation should Jozsi do), or leave it out at this moment. We'll see.

And it didn't even need five steps, only three. Hopefully this can be done under a minute. At least that is my goal for now. 

​Lookin' pretty good if you ask me, but this time I ask you, so if you like it or don't like it, drop me a note and tell me. Because, we're ready to listen. Like, really.

That's all folks. You can go back to sleep now.​

If You Likey, Spread the love, Y'All

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