Morning Flight Gold
Posted: 21 Jun 2008 08:28 am
It's me again. I was wondering if there is any instruction for the Flight Engineer. I cannot wrap my head around it to figure out how to use it.
It did take me a while to figure out Morning Flight. I think I downloaded the Free Edition over a year ago but didn't use any of it till about 3 months ago. Once I understood the basic premise of what it was built on (product based and not press based) I picked it up real quick. Any assistance on how to utilize the Flight Engineer or a finger pointed (by anyone) in the right direction would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
. . . . . Keith
Joined: 20 May 2008 Posts: 7
Here's the thing: Just because nobody has asked the question, it'd be a stretch to assume everyone else knows the answer. The Flight Engineer is a work in progress. Without a help system or basic instructions or, until your post, so much as a topic in the Forum, I'm betting you're not alone.
For the time being, the Flight Engineer is first and foremost an inventory control system. The program automatically deducts the amount of Paper needed to run a job from your in-Stock inventory as you enter orders. It lets you adjust that inventory and print Activity Reports and Count Sheets. See Inventory > Update Paper Inventory on the Engineer's main menu.
Next, it offers a Shopping List, not only of in-Stock Paper but of all types of paper that need to be ordered. That list, too, can be adjusted. See Operations > Update Paper Buys.
Finally, the Flight Engineer houses the Paper Cutter, Paper Pricer and Offset Run Pricer that are part of the main program in the Free and Silver Editions. We decided to move them here in the Gold Edition to keep the main menu lean and simple.
The Engineer will become much more capable in time. Some functions on the drawing board include the "Wrench" (a tool that lets you adjust a whole slew of parameters now inaccessible, under the hood), and some analytical stuff. As in "did we make money on this job or did we lose our shirt?" That's all down the road a bit.
Anyway, glad you asked.
. . . . . Hal Heindel
Sorry about that. It was not my intent to assume everybody else knows the answer. What I did assume was that I was overlooking something and I didn't want to ask a question that had already been answered.
It is cool to know that I posted the first topic about the Flight Engineer! So, I spent the whole day so far playing around with the Engineer and I noticed something. When I print out an Inventory Count Sheet, it shows paper that I had deleted; even the custom ones that I had entered. Thanks,
. . . . . Keith
Keith, didn't mean to sound like I was lecturing! Quite the opposite, I was trying to put you at ease. This is a very informal forum, with a great bunch of members. So please keep on asking questions, even when you suspect the answer might be hiding somewhere in another topic.
Now, about deleted paper still showing up on the Count Sheet. Developers have been known to call bugs UF's, "Undocumented Features." The behavior you've encountered with the Flight Engineer is certainly undocumented (when it comes to the Engineer, everything is!), but in this case it really isn't a bug but a feature.
Here is why. When in-Stock paper is deleted, what happens depends on whether the paper was program-generated or user-created. If it was program-generated, the item is deactivated. If it was created by the user, the item is phased out. Deactivated items are still visible in the browse box, flagged with a red bullet. Phased-out items no longer appear.
The reason even phased-out items are kept on file (but unavailable for selection) is to preserve referential integrity. Such items may have been used - "referenced" - in a quote or an order, so they remain in the file for archival purposes. During housecleaning, MF first scans related files to make sure phased-out records are no longer referenced, then erases them. Referential integrity is one of the cornerstones of relational database theory.
Why keep deleted in-Stock paper on the Count Sheet? Mainly because inventory may still be on hand when the item is phased out. How long such items should stay on the Count Sheet is a perfect candidate for the Flight Engineer's "Wrench." Suppose I should go make a note of that in my to-do list.
. . . . . Hal Heindel
"Referential integrity is one of the cornerstones of relational database theory." - Wow. You know your stuff! Thanks for the reply. After I made the post I started thinking maybe it is intentional and if so, why. And I think that was the best answer I ever received about anything ... except when my wife said yes. I was concerned about the user-created paper that was showing up. I kinda figured the program generated ones were intentional. I do have some Hammermill cover stock sitting on my floor that is still sellable but I don't plan on ordering anymore.
I do have another question - When I add paper to my In-stock Paper, it puts a whole carton in the inventory. I usually order only a couple of reams at a time so is this something I will just have to adjust manually when I do my shopping list? And one more question - Is Housecleaning something the program does automatically or can I initiate it manually? And finally, if I may offer a suggestion for the wrench, I think it would be cool to select a number of days (say 1-180?) before it erases phased-out paper. And maybe the option of erasure when paper count hits zero?
Anyway, thanks again. I plan on messing around with it some more tomorrow. I love the idea of inventory management as I have a habit of ordering paper that is already on the shelf! (It makes me so mad.)
Your Flight Engineer test pilot
. . . . . Keith
There is a way to do it better. Find it.
Thomas A. Edison
Keith, you're certainly making my case for support being a two-way street! This is how it's supposed to work . . . constant step-by-step refinement, driven by user input. Thanks in large part to contributions from members of this forum, when we're looking for ways to improve Morning Flight, we never have to look very far.
Housecleaning is done automatically at the turn of the year. The Wrench will let you do it manually whenever you feel it's time to throw out the trash. Setting the number of days for auto-deletion of phased-out paper is a good idea and easily implemented. So is the zero count option. Thank you for those suggestions.
About the shopping list, yes, you will need to adjust your list manually when you order less than a carton. With in-Stock paper, the recommended practice is to always order full cartons, especially if Carton-Plus pricing is in effect. That's less of an issue in the States, because here vendors often use carton prices on orders for a single ream. Not so in most countries abroad. I suppose we could have the Engineer order just enough paper for each job if it's One-Price paper (all quantity brackets priced the same), but that may be putting too fine a point on it. After all, in-Stock paper is meant to be used in moderation - see http://www.morningflighthelp.com/HTML_Help/paper_categories.html
Ordering paper you already have? I don't think there is a printer alive who hasn't occasionally ordered some odd-ball paper, something you just know you would never in a million years have ordered extras of, only to trip over a whole carton of the stuff a month later! Yeah, that hurts!
. . . . . Hal Heindel