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New Features in FF&EZ

Posted by jimcarls on February 27, 2012

FF&EZ is continually being improved based on feedback from users (and potential ones).  Below is a quick overview of some of the most useful recent additions to its capabilities. [Updated 3/28/12: Company logo added to reports.]

Supplier vendors

FF&EZ's "vendors" have always been oriented towards the manufacturers of the FF&E that designers and salespeople specify for a project or sales order, although it was still reasonably easy to make a "vendor" represent the company from which the actual items would be purchased.

With version 3.2.8, both of these roles — manufacturer and supplier — can be assigned separately for each spec, allowing the manufacturer vendor to be entered and maintained, while any spec or group of specs can be assigned to a supplier to whom orders will be sent.  Using this feature means that bidding documents can be created that show the manufacturer (or not), and the successful supplier can be assigned to all (or any subset) of the products to be ordered.

vendorform-supplier.png

This is done by using the optional "Supplier, Item #" fields just below the main "Vendor ID" and "Catalog/Model #" fields.  You can assign suppliers to individual specs or with the "Assign Supplier" utility to assign, remove or replace a supplier on groups of specs based on several filtering options.  If the supplier has an internal Item # or SKU, it can entered for individual specs.

The list of suppliers from which to select is created by simply marking any vendor in the Vendor List as a "Supplier" (meaning that any vendor can be both a manufacturer and a supplier of other manufacturer's products).

vendorform-options.png

When FF&EZ prints an order-related report or converts specs into orders (in the Design/Purchasing version), it automatically groups the orders beneath the supplier (where one has been selected) and embeds the manufacturer's name and model # (if a supplier item # was also entered) at the top of the order item description.

"Material" Specs

A new field on the Specification List screen allows you to optionally classify a spec as a "materials" spec:

specs-material_spec.png

This makes it automatically appear on the new "Materials List" report, which prints a condensed image list of materials by area and usage.

report-materials.png

By changing the way specs are selected and entering an alternate title, the format can be used for other types of reports where an array of images would be useful.

Budgeting by square foot (or meter)

The room screen now includes a calculator that takes the room's area and a target "budget per area" to calculate the effective budget for the room.  The unit of measure defaults to "sq ft" but can be changed for your entire firm on the Setup screen or for any given project on the Project List screen.

room_budget_calculator.png

Specification Status and Revision Control

Several new fields and controls help designers keep up with the status of product specifications:

specs-status_fields.png

Approval Fields - Keep track of "official" sign-off dates for both internal design approval and for client approval. Like all date fields, you can double-click these for a calendar or use the "+" and "-" keys to roll the date forward or backward.

Vendor Quote Tracking - Enter a vendor quote # or ID, the quote date and an "expiration" period in days.  The system will then show the expiration date for the quote (next to the "Total Cost" field") and flag specifications that are about to expire or have done so.

Submittal Tracking - These fields track basic requirements, dates and status for sample submittals.

Revision Control - Nothing too fancy here: The "Revision Group" field allows you to enter a simple code of your own choosing to mark a group of specifications as part of a group that has been revised.  When you print reports, you can then filter on group codes, using the Query Tool, to print objects that include specs in the revision group and enter a revision date for the report.  The revision date can be saved to the project screen if desired.

Status Notes - This new field creates user- and date-stamped internal notes for each specification as needed.

Status Columns - The Specification List grid now shows symbols for the status of the "Design Approved," "Client Approved" and vendor quote (for the latter, whether a quote ID has been entered and whether the quote is about to or has expired):

specs-status_columns.png

Status Reports - All of these status fields are summarized in a set of new "Specification Status List" reports that are available on the Specification List screen's Print function.

Unlimited Images per Object

In previous versions of FF&EZ, you could include a single image for objects that only required a single specification to order or multiple images (one per product specification) for objects that required more than one product.  However, this did not cover situations where more than one image was desired for a single specification (e.g., where a supplier would quote a single price for a chair that included customer-ordered material that the supplier would order).

To address this, as of Version 3.25, specifications have an "Image only" option that can be selected: 

specs-imageonly.png

This allows you to create a "specification" that is only used to add images to the "multi-image" report format (including simple vendor information and a short description) but which will not appear on any purchasing-related reports or processes (because you are typically writing the full specification in the primary product specification).  This feature can also be used to add extra images to any component of a multiple-component object. Since the images display in the order defined by you on the component list, you can place extra images in any order.

Since FF&EZ's "object + component" structure for specifications is open-ended, this means that there is no limit to the number of additional images that can be added to a single object.  Using this new feature, future versions will include a report format designed for use in "existing conditions" documentation, where images may be accompanied by short paragraphs

Report Logos

Version 3.2.30 adds the ability to select a company logo that will appear on all report formats:

setup-reportoptions.png

And More...

A full list of recent enhancements and fixes are always available on this site.  You can see it in the on-line help system under "Version Changes."

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