An Accounting Adjustment is a record that TrackAbout automatically creates to edit customer balances and ensure balance information stays in sync with the client's main business system. These are called Accounting Adjustments because TrackAbout generally refers to a clients' main business system as the 'Accounting System'.
Example: If Customer B returns as asset that was out to Customer A then TrackAbout will create an Accounting Adjustment to remove the asset from the balance of Customer A.
There are several scenarios in which TrackAbout would automatically modify customer balances through Accounting Adjustments.
An asset is considered Active when it is available for use in the system, and not marked as Lost, Junked, or Retired. When an asset is active, it's status will display the Use State that it's in rather than saying "Active".
It is possible to add more assets to a record after that record is saved. These assets are added to the original record on an Addendum.
Example: A driver may deliver 4 assets and save this record. He then realizes that he forgot to scan a 5th asset. He can scan this 5th asset onto the record. This 5th asset is added to the record on an Addendum.
Alerts are email or pager notifications sent out when certain conditions are met. See the Alerts section of the TrackAbout website for setting up Alerts. For information to set up Alerts click Alerts.
- Email Alerts: These are set up using the Add New Alert page on the website. There are three types:
- Expiring Assets - This alert notifies you whenever assets are due to expire in the number of days specified. It is triggered once daily.
- Record Save - This is a shared alert, viewable and editable by all superusers. This alert is fired on record save. It is triggered whenever an asset matching the criteria is attached to a new record.
- Transfer of Assets Matching Criteria - This alert notifies you whenever assets matching specific criteria are transferred. It is triggered whenever an asset matching the criteria is attached to a new record.
- Wireless Alerts (Set on Individual Assets)
An asset is any physical object you wish to track with TrackAbout. These assets are typically tracked with a barcode or RFID tag in addition to the serial number of the asset.
TrackAbout requires that you categorize each tracked asset into a three-level hierarchy. The levels of this hierarchy are called:
Each Group is in one and only one Category. Each Type is in one and only one Group. For most, the Type is the same as the Product Code.
This hierarchy is used by:
- Lookups: To find a Type that the user can't remember.
- Display: Most of TrackAbout's displays (like a customer balance, delivery transaction, inventory report, etc) all show the Category, Group then Type fields.
- Reporting: Many reports let you filter to a single Category or a single Group or a single Type. Though there is a newer feature called "Asset Families" that let you organize Product Codes into any number of "Asset Families" and some of reports have been updated to report on Asset Families in addition the the more rigid 3 level Category, Group structure.
Asset Families allow you to place as many Asset Categories, Asset Groups, Asset Types or Product Codes into an "Asset Family". These Asset Families can then be used for reporting in places where the strict Category/Group/Type/Product Code hierarchy is not sufficient for the reporting needed.
Asset Families is a feature that must be turned on by TrackAbout Support. For more information about setting up and using Asset Families refer to this page Asset Families.
Asset History and Timeline
An asset's history shows the events that have happened to the asset in the past, such as Fills and Deliveries. Its history is shown in a timeline in chronological order with the most recent event at the top of the list.
Asset Transfers / Transactions
TrackAbout supports different processes for when your assets leave internal locations.
- Transfers between internal locations = Branch Transfers
- Transfers to Customer Accounts = Deliveries
- Transfers from Vendors / Suppliers to internal locations = Receive from Vendor
Asset Transfer Exceptions
When an asset is moved throughout the system for whatever reason (Delivery, Branch Transfer, Accounting Adjustment, to name a few) sometimes there are exceptions. Exceptions can be caused by a number of scenarios, such as an asset being returned from a customer to which that asset had never been delivered. In TrackAbout, a link to an Exception will allow users to see what the specific scenario was and to take action, if necessary. Example: If Customer B returns an asset that was out to Customer A, TrackAbout will create a "No Credit Return" exception to not give Customer B credit for the return of the asset.
Asset Type is a part of an asset's classification. See Asset Classification above.
A collision occurs when an attempt to attach an asset to a record was made, but TrackAbout was not able to uniquely identify the asset using either the barcode, serial number, or both. Logic built into TrackAbout automatically resolves collisions based on business rules that have evolved over years of experience. However, some collision scenarios cannot be automatically resolved.
Example: An asset exists in the system with barcode 100 and serial number ABC. A new asset is added to the system with barcode 200 and serial number ABC. A collision is created in this case. The user must decide whether this is a new asset or if it is the same asset with a new barcode applied.
Please go to the Collisions page to learn more about how to resolve collisions and also how you can configure your system to reduce collisions.
Common Carrier Information Tracking
|At times Assets may be transferred to a customer or another location using a common carrier. A common carrier is a 3rd party company used for shipping. UPS and FedEx are examples of common carriers. TrackAbout supports this and allows customer to record the common carrier name and tracking number on either the Create Invoice/Order page of the website or with the Deliver action on the Handheld.
See sample delivery record screen capture with a link to the tracking engine.
TrackAbout Conduit is software installed on a desktop PC or laptop running Microsoft Windows for use with TAM5. The Conduit allows your handhelds to communicate with the TrackAbout website. It is through the Conduit that handheld data gets synced to the website, and updates are sent from the website to your handhelds.
A Customer is any person or company that is or may be in possession of one of your assets. You may wish to track to which customer an asset has been delivered and for how long it has been there.
See also: Customer Reports.
The TrackAbout Dashboard should be a staple of your daily TrackAbout Administrative activities. The Dashboard provides information about unresolved issues pertaining to your data. These issues includes items such as
It's important to review your dashboard regularly to address issues. Refer to the Dashboard Maintenance page about how to manage your Dashboard. Here is a training video to teach you about the TrackAbout Dashboard.
Data Lock is a feature that is designed to protect existing records in TrackAbout from unwanted changes. Without a data lock in place, any user with sufficient privileges can edit or make changes to any record in the system, no matter how old. A demonstration video can be watched here.
Demurrage is a rental method, the way that most gas cylinders were rented years ago. For more details consult the Rental Rates and Methods page.
Duplicate Barcodes occur when two unique Assets being tracked in TrackAbout are attached to the same Barcode. This is a bad condition. Because Barcodes are intended to be the unique ID for an Asset, two Assets having the same barcode would be like two people with the same Social Security number. This can happen if a pair of Barcode labels were split and accidentally applied to two Assets, or if two Identical sets of labels were accidentally printed and both were used.
Expiration Date refers to the expiration date of the product inside of an asset. There is an Expiring Assets report that shows which assets are outstanding and have expiring product in them.
The expiration date is usually set in the Fill action, or in the Set Expiration Date action. This value remains on the asset until the next time the asset is filled, or the expiration date is set.
Full/Empty Status is a term used to describe the Use State of an Asset that serves as a container. It is commonly used in the packaged gas industry; but may be useful in other industries as well. See: Use States for more information.
Occasionally a mistake will create an asset in the system that shouldn't exist. On the Asset History page, there is a Delete/Junk This Asset tool which can be used to permanently delete or "junk" an asset in the system. A junked asset will no longer be viewable in the system. It is only possible to junk an asset if it isn't attached to any records. Therefore, an asset needs to be detached from any records in its history before it can be junked.
Users can have their access limited to just their home location, or to their home location plus select other locations. If a user is limited in this manner, s/he is known as a location-restricted user. A location-restricted user can only see assets which are in the location(s) to which s/he has been given access, including assets at customers to whose servicing location the user has access.
Locations are areas where assets can be stored. Any area that is not at a Customer is considered a Location. A more detailed explanation can be read here.
Locations vs Customers
Locate actions may be used to assign assets to a location, but a Deliver action must be used to deliver and/or return assets to/from customers. It is possible to use a Deliver action to assign/remove assets to/from locations; however, they will be converted to Locate actions when the handheld syncs to the website. Another difference between Locations and Customers is that Customers may get accounting adjustments, but Locations won't. For example, if TrackAbout has a unique asset assigned to a customer and that same asset gets scanned elsewhere, TrackAbout will create an accounting adjustment to remove the asset from the customer's balance. Since Accounting Adjustments serve as reminders to adjust Customer balances in the business system, there is no need for accounting adjustments for Locations.
Assets can be marked "Lost" individually under the Asset Editing Options in the Asset's History. Alternatively, while resolving a customer audit, the system will ask what to do with assets which TrackAbout expected to be at the customer, but which weren't scanned during the course of the audit. One option is to mark all such assets as "Lost." An asset which has been marked as Lost will automatically become Found if its barcode is scanned at any point in the future. No further action is necessary, although it is possible to view such assets in the Lost and Found section of the Dashboard.
During a cylinder fill process, TrackAbout supports the recording of lot numbers. Lot numbers are assigned to certain gases, most usually medical gases. TrackAbout associates each barcode scanned during a fill with a lot number. This provides our customers the ability to target specific assets that are a part of a lot should the need for a recall arise.
For more information about Lot Number Tracking
Sometimes assets are bundled together and moved in a group (example: 12-pack of cylinders, 6-pack of cylinders). Rather than scanning each individual asset each time this group moves, the 'Make Pack' feature can be used to group these assets together. Then, when this "pack" of assets moves, only the pack barcode needs to be scanned. The Pack has its own Product Code, separate from the Product Code of the assets in the Pack. Once these assets have been associated with a pack barcode, they act as 1 asset until they are broken, or 'removed' from the pack. All records pertaining to a pack will show with a count of one, including all production and distribution records. To find the individual pack's assets, go to the Asset Search page, click on the + sign on the More Asset Search Options section, and enter the pack number in the Pack # field. When you hit the Search button, you will see all assets in that pack and will then be able to click the View link to see assets' histories.
NOTE: If in the Asset Search page you do not have a More Asset Search Options OR if in the More Asset Search Options section you do not have a field for entering the Pack #, then you will need to contact TrackAbout Support to enable the Pack feature for you. To remove assets from a pack, use the 'Unmake Pack' button on the handheld. Once a pack has been unmade, you will have the ability to add different assets to the pack.
More detailed information about setting up and using this feature can be found here:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nCXNZeTQE9CEOAKMDHxdn2DFR5EDnXtGxWbNSmG0E9w/edit\ or visit the page Make Pack
It is possible to print various actions to a Bluetooth printer from a Bluetooth handheld. Most commonly, this happens at the end of a customer delivery, after all delivered and returned assets have been scanned. However, it is possible to print other actions, as well. When this extra feature has been purchased, it must be enabled by your TrackAbout representative. It is included in Core tracking.
When a barcode is unreadable or unknown, it is possible to track quantities of asset types as Not-Scanned (NS) assets. The ability to use NS assets helps to keep customer balances accurate, even when barcodes have not been scanned. There are several actions which result in NS assets being on a customer's balance. If a driver is unable to scan or read a barcode during a delivery, s/he may enter the asset type and quantity as either a delivery (DNS) or as a return (RNS.) NS assets may also be delivered/returned to/from a customer during integration if an invoice from the business system does not have a matching invoice with tracking data from a handheld.
Click Not-Scanned Assets for more information about how the logic for these situations work.
Who actually owns a particular asset may be tracked as a specific attribute of any asset. While many TrackAbout users track only their own assets, it is particularly common in the packaged gas industry to track the locations of assets rented from another distributor.
A product code is the same thing as your part number, SKU, or catalog ID. This is the code that is used in the business system for a delivery of an asset to a customer. This is also the code that is used for any integration with the business system.
Product codes must be mapped to a Type. Whenever new product codes are introduced to TrackAbout, such as through various integration points to your back office systems, the new product codes must be mapped to Types.
The mapping of product codes to types allows TrackAbout to understand the information that comes in from your back office system, and properly categorize assets.
This mapping extends the Category/Group/Type hierarchy into a four-level hierarchy:
- Product Code
Records are any change to an asset that is tracked and recorded within TrackAbout at a specific date, time and location. Examples would be: a truck load record, a delivery record or a maintenance record.
Recording editing is how TrackAbout allows you to change records which have already been saved to the website. Changes can be made to update records or correct errors which have been made. A more detailed explanation can be read here.
TrackAbout rental calculations are based around rental days. Each day an asset is in the possession of the customer constitutes one rental day. When rent is tallied, the number of billable rental days is totaled, and that number is multiplied by the applicable rental rate for that asset based on its product code. Leases are also calculated based on rental days. A lease for a single asset for a month is calculated by TrackAbout as 30 rental days for that asset type for that particular month. A customer who had a lease for a single asset for a month, but actually possessed 2 assets of that type for 15 days, would pay no rent. The 30 rental days covered by the lease would entirely replace rent for that month.
Retest Date refers to the date the asset needs to be tested next. There is an Assets To Be Retested report that shows all outstanding assets that need to be retested.
One may retire an asset in TrackAbout, marking that particular asset as no longer in use. Retiring an asset changes its location to the unknown location. Once so marked, that asset will no longer be counted in the inventory of any actual location. The history of the retired asset is retained in TrackAbout.
Condemning or Selling an asset also sets the status to Retired.
Serial Number Collection Rules
This feature allows for any Asset Type/Ownership combination to not require a serial number. This option is found under TrackAbout Config.
The purpose of the "Sign Many" action is to provide a way to collect a single signature for multiple Deliver records already collected on the device. This is useful when several deliveries are being made to, say, several departments at a university but only one individual at the customer location is responsible for signing off on the delivery. This action ONLY works when a device is in batch mode, because in wireless mode, there will be no records left behind on the device to sign. During deliveries, the user must not collect any signature. Not even a pixel. After saving the last delivery action, the user selects the Sign Many button from the menu. A grid displays all deliveries without signatures saved on the device. The user selects one or more deliveries from the list and hits CONTINUE. The final screen collects the signer's name and signature. Saving the "Sign Many" action actually results in saving the signature to all the selected Delivery actions. Saving a "Sign Many" action does not result in a new record in and of itself.
Split and Merge Asset History
If there are two assets in TrackAbout which are actually the same asset, their histories in TrackAbout can be merged together during a Collision Resolution. This will cause them to be one asset in TrackAbout, thereby reflecting the reality that there really is only one asset, not two. Sometimes, two physical assets are being represented in TrackAbout by one barcode. This can be caused by TrackAbout assets being incorrectly merged together, or by a split barcode pair, whereby two assets have the same barcode. In these cases, it is possible to split the history of an asset in TrackAbout to make two unique assets.
Synchronizing is the process of updating the website with data from the handheld, and updating the handhelds based on information from the website. In addition to updating the handheld software, syncing can also update such things as user and location information.
TAM5 and TAM6
While wandering the TrackAbout Wiki, you will see references to TAM5 and TAM6. These refer to two of our software platforms. The original TrackAbout mobile app originally ran on TAM5 (AppForge in nerd speak). While the newer platform is called TAM6 (CF.NET)
If you don't know which platform is being used by your company, you can feel free to ask the TrackAbout Support team. Otherwise, use this simple test. The login screens for TAM5 and TAM6 look fairly different:
It is possible to track Asset Volume/Weight by having TrackAbout staff enable a setting. This is the primary setting required in order to do Tube Trailer tracking, and this feature can be used for other types of assets, as well. Once this setting has been enabled, it will then be possible to enable volume collection on specific product codes.
An Unclassified Asset is an Asset that is being tracked in TrackAbout; but it has not been defined or classified. The Asset has been recorded within TrackAbout without any details regarding what kind of Asset it is (cylinder?, Tank? , Trailer?, Wheelchair?)
Use States is the term TrackAbout employs to determine the status or condition of a tracked Asset. Common use states in the packaged gas industry are Full / Empty. however other use states may be put in place, such as Broken, In Repair or Repaired. And for Medical related industries: Dirty, Patient Ready or In Quarantine.
Learn more about Use States
This refers to any screens on a computer or handheld device that allows the user (you) to control or use the TrackAbout software. A more detailed explanation can be read here.
User Roles and Permissions
Every user in TrackAbout needs to have a Role assigned to him/her. Different Roles can to be created for different job functions, such as System Administrator, Truck Driver, etc. After various Roles have been created, different permissions may be assigned to those roles. For example, you may not want a Truck Driver to be able to delete records, so you would not give Delete permissions to the Truck Driver Role.
A User is anyone that is making use of the TrackAbout Software on the website or the handheld in order to track or maintain Assets. Users can be employees, vendors, suppliers or with Follow-On Tracking even Customers.
Verification is a method of simply stopping a record from appearing in the web page on which it is displayed. Invoices are the most common type of records which can be verified - they are verified in the Verifications page. However, there are other pages from which records are verified, such as the Lost Assets Found page.
Invoices may be automatically verified if the tracking data matches the data from the business system. If there are discrepancies between the business system's version of an invoice and the assets that actually got scanned on an invoice through TrackAbout, then that invoice will appear on the Verifications page. An invoice's appearance on the Verifications page gives you an opportunity to confirm, i.e., "verify," that the invoice is correct. Hitting the Verify button will not change the invoice in any way. It will simply cause it to no longer appear on the Verifications page.
Validation pattern are used for several fields in TrackAbout to insure data integrity in data entry. These are usually used for barcodes, customer IDs, orders and invoices, lots #, and other. A validation pattern is used to verify that user's input arrives in the correct format. The format can be customized to restrict an entry to specific patterns of digit or combination of digits and letter and/or special characters.
Example: A valid order number starts with the "OR" prefix followed by 6 digits, then a dash "-", followed by 4 letters (OR646374-ERFD would be a valid order)
If data is entered, scanned or keyed-in, in a mobile device, and does not match the configured pattern, the system reject the entry.