QBPOS Desktop Multi-Store General Overview

QBPOS Desktop Multi-Store General Overview

Store Exchange Overview

The term Store Exchange refers to the transfer of data between your remote stores and Headquarters. Data is sent between stores in a compressed file, referred to as a "mailbag" (compressed to reduce transmission file size and time).

Store Exchange has two components:

  • Send Files to create and send mailbags to other stores, and
  • Receive Files to process mailbags that have been received from other stores.

When a remote store is first installed, a mailbag from Headquarters is required to initialize the remote with the company inventory, preferences, and related files. Thereafter, it is recommended that Store Exchange be run daily between each remote store and Headquarters. This ensures that each store can view current item quantities available at other stores, that Headquarters is updated with the daily transactions from each remote store, that company reports are current, and that remote stores receive new data files, including inventory updates, vendor lists, customer lists, and purchase orders from Headquarters.

Daily exchanges also allow Headquarters to keep QuickBooks financial software records current.

Configure Store Exchange

Which type of store are you configuring?

Headquarters

The exchange of information between your stores is referred to as Store Exchange. These instructions are for configuring Store Exchange from the Store Exchange Center, accessed from the Stores menu.

  1. If you haven't already, install Point of Sale on the Server Workstation, following the instructions for a Headquarters store in the User Guide.

Upon starting Point of Sale the first time, you are prompted to create your company data file. Be sure to specify Headquarters as your store type and give your data file a unique name.

  1. Complete the Setup Interview at the Server Workstation (launched automatically or select from File menu ) to set up basic Point of Sale options.
  2. When done with the Setup Interview, select Store Exchange Center from the Stores menu.

The Store Exchange Center lists all possible stores on the right side of the window.

  1. Click Set Up Store for Store # 2.
  2. Enter a 1-3 character Store Code, Store Name, and communication method and select Next.
  3. Enter the License Number from the Server Workstation at the remote store and the e-mail address or location to which Store Exchange files are to be sent:

Desktop e-mail: Enter the e-mail address for the remote store.

Web-based e-mail: Specify a folder to which the Store Exchange mailbag is copied. When creating your e-mail, browse to this folder to attach the file.

Removable Media: Enter or browse to the applicable drive or port.

Network file transfer: Enter or browse to the in folder of the Point of Sale installation on the Server Workstation at the remote store. You must have drives mapped or a UNC path to this folder. Note: If the remote hasn’t installed yet, type in the path to the in folder that will be used. You may get an "invalid location" message, but can ignore it. Once the remote has installed and specified the same folder as it’s "in" folder, Store Exchange will function.

Intuit Service: After selecting this option, call the phone number displayed to activate the service. An additional fee may apply. Once activated, Point of Sale will automatically connect to the QuickBase site and log in to send/receive files.

  1. Select Finish.
  2. Repeat for other remote stores.
  3. Click Set Password on the left side of the Store Exchange Center.  Enter a password to secure store exchange files. This same password must be entered at each remote store in order for them to receive files from you. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
  4. Click Preferences to configure other Store Exchange options.

Example: the Track Multiple Stores in QuickBooks Using Classes checkbox if you want to run Profit/Loss reports by store in your QuickBooks Financial software. This option is only available on this page in you have already established a connection with QuickBooks, but can be configured later, if desired.

  1. Click Close to leave the Store Exchange Center.

 Next Actions to Take at Headquarters

  1. Complete your setup of Point of Sale, including installing Client Workstations, setting advanced options, and entering or importing inventory and other data. Add items, vendors, customers, etc.
  2. After remote stores have installed, run Store Exchange > Send Files to send an initialization file to each remote store. (Remote stores should have installed and configured before sending this file.)

Remote store

These instructions are for initial installation/configuration of a new POS company data file at a remote store from the Store Exchange Center.  These same options are available in company preferences.

Important Note: If you have been previously using Point of Sale at multiple stores independently of each other, and now want to convert a store (or stores) to a remote in a multi-Store configuration, there are limitations in the data at the remote that can be retained in the new configuration. Contact Intuit Technical Support for help with this conversion.

Information Needed

Collect the following information from Headquarters before beginning: 1) the License Number from the Server Workstation at Headquarters, 2) the e-mail address, removable media information, or in-folder path (mapped drive or UNC) to the Server Workstation at Headquarters, and 3) the Store Exchange password entered at Headquarters.

To configure a remote store:

  1. Install Point of Sale on the Server Workstation, following the instructions for a remote store in the User Guide.
  2. Create a new POS company data file with a unique name when prompted, specifying Remote Store as the Store Type. You can also specify a store number, but if Headquarters assigns you a different number, your selection will be overwritten when you receive your first Store Exchange file from Headquarters.
  3. Run the Setup Interview when it is launched to configure basic Point of Sale settings.
  4. When done with the Setup Interview, select Store Exchange Center from the Stores menu and configure to exchange with Headquarters by entering:
    • The License Number for the Server Workstation at Headquarters
    • A communication method and the e-mail address or location to send files, as applicable, for Headquarters

Desktop e-mail: Enter the e-mail address for Headquarters.

Web-based e-mail: Specify a folder to which the Store Exchange mailbag is copied. When creating your e-mail, browse to this folder to attach the file.

Removable Media: Enter or browse to the drive or port to be used.

Network file transfer: Enter or browse to the in folder of the Point of Sale installation on the Server Workstation at Headquarters. You must have drives mapped or a UNC path to this folder.

Intuit Service: After selecting this option, call the phone number displayed to activate the service. An additional fee may apply. Once activated, Point of Sale will automatically connect to the QuickBase site and log in to send/receive files.

  • The same store exchange password entered at Headquarters (required).
  1. Click Close to leave the Store Exchange Center.

 Next Actions to Take at Remote Stores

  1. Complete your Point of Sale setup, including installing Client Workstations, defining local employees and security, adding customers, etc.
  2. Receive and process in a Store Exchange mailbag from Headquarters. This file will initialize your system with inventory items, departments, vendors, company preferences, and related settings.
  3. After initialization, you may want to review your Point of Sale company preferences for the following store-specific settings:
  • Default tax location
  • Default price for sales

You are now ready to begin using Point of Sale!

 

Configuring Store Exchange includes specifying or confirming:

  • Whether you are a Headquarters or remote store
  • The number of stores you have and assigning store codes to each (Headquarters only)
  • The Store Exchange method you will use to communicate with other stores
  • The license number for the Server Workstation at the other store(s) in your company
  • The e-mail address, file transfer path, or drive that will be used to send files to other stores
  • Protecting Store Exchange files with a security password (required)

Important: Before beginning, be sure you have the license numbers from the Server Workstation at the other store(s). Until you have entered the license number from the other store(s) in your Store Exchange preferences, you will not be able to receive and process files from the store(s).

License numbers can be found on the Point of Sale CD holder, in the e-mail you received if downloading the program, or by selecting About Point of Sale from the Help menu at the Server Workstation in each store after installing.

Methods of Store Exchange

Information can be exchanged between Headquarters and remote stores by any of five methods. Not every store has to use the same method; Headquarters can exchange with each remote store by a different method.

Each method has advantages and limitations. Click a link for more information about a specific method.

Desktop e-mail client uses file attachments to e-mails sent by your default Windows e-mail client.

Web-based e-mail uses file attachments to e-mails sent by an e-mail service you access on the Web.

Intuit Service uses a secure Internet database, where your stores can send and retrieve files. Phone activation required. Additional fee may apply.

Network file transfer is a direct transfer of files between stores using your VPN, LAN, or WAN network.

Removable media uses Floppy disks, USB memory sticks, Zip drives, CDs, etc., that you physically transport between stores.

Headquarters has two distinct End of Day responsibilities: Store Activities and Headquarters Activities, and you may find it helpful to keep the activities related to each separate. See notes below.

Store activities include:

  1. Run a Z-Out Drawer Count report at each workstation.
  2. Run a Z-Out Store Close report on the Server Workstation.
  3. Settle credit card transactions with the QuickBooks POS Merchant Service (if applicable).

 

Typically, these activities would be done as part of the normal End of Day procedure at Headquarters.

Headquarters activities are done on the Server Workstation and include:

  1. Receive files to process the mailbags received from each remote store. All other workstations must exit Point of Sale before beginning this task. This process updates inventory and related files with the day's activities at the remote stores.
  2. Run Financial Exchange with QuickBooks financial software.
  3. Backup the company data.
  4. Send updated files back to remote stores before the beginning of the next business day.

Notes:

You may find it easier to keep the two components of End of Day separate at Headquarters. Use the automated End of Day process to do the routine store close activities for the store. This can be accomplished while you wait for the remote stores to get their Store Exchange mailbags sent. Later, process in the remote store mailbags, conduct your Financial Exchange with QuickBooks, and then send updated files back to the remote stores.

There are good reasons to keep the two types of activities separate at Headquarters:

  • It keeps the two processes distinct, making it easier for Associates to understand and follow the correct procedure for each.
  • It gives Headquarters one process to carry out while giving remote stores the time to get their stores closed and mailbags sent.
  • Receiving remote store mailbags cannot be incorporated into the End of Day procedure due to the many variables related to the four supported methods and delivery of the files from remotes.
  • If your goal is to maintain the most accurate information possible at all stores, it is important that Headquarters receive and process in a mailbag from each remote store before they in turn update inventory and send information back.

Variations on the Recommended Sequence

Depending on operational requirements and management's need for timely information, the Store Exchange process can be run more or less frequently. Some variations include:

  • Remote stores could be required to send mailbags several times a day, instead of once. Headquarters could process in and send data back so all store have up-to-the-hour information. With information flowing throughout the day, it would less critical that Headquarters have the final day mailbag from each remote before they process out to end the day. Transactions not making it at the end of one day would be caught on the first exchange the next morning.
  • If your need for updated information is not critical, you could run Store Exchange less frequently; say once every few days or once a week.
  • You can schedule Store Exchanges to happen automatically at a certain time, like overnight. While convenient, scheduling doesn't allow for doing a Financial Exchange with QuickBooks between receiving and sending files and may not be a good solution if you offer customer charge accounts and want updated account balances at each store every day.

With experience, you will find the sequencing that works best for your circumstances. It is not required that the sequence described here be followed, but by adhering to it you ensure that all stores have the most current information for each business day.

Remote Store Process

At the end of each sales day, each workstation in the store should run a Z-Out Drawer Count report to "close" the workstation for the day. Then, the following activities should be performed on the Server Workstation, typically as part of the automated End of Day procedure.

  1. Run a Z-Out Store Close report.
  2. Settle credit card transactions with the QuickBooks POS Merchant Service (if applicable).
  3. Perform a backup of your Point of Sale data.
  4. Send the day's transactions to Headquarters.
  5. Prior to opening for business the next business day, receive and process an updated file (mailbag) back from Headquarters.

The mailbag from Headquarters must be processed by the Server Workstation. No other workstation can be working in Point of Sale during this procedure, as the process will close all open windows on all workstations if necessary to update your files.

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