The old adage "garbage-in, garbage-out" is a true statement. That's why entries are validated as they are recorded in an effort to insure reasonable and meaningful data is being captured. But remember, in most cases you define the meaning of "garbage".
I received a call several days ago concerning a problem when printing a report limited to Customers in a single State, it included no Customers at all. We happen to have an old copy of their data files so I restored them and tried the report myself. Result - no Customers! We had just released an update to WeLoop.SAMS and the first thought through my mind was "OK, what did we screw-up this time". It turned out we were clean on this one, the problem was "garbage-in, garbage-out".
Looking at the list of State abbreviations we found the problem. The State of Washington was defined twice in the list, "WA." (W A dot) and "WA" (W A no dot). It turned out all of the Customer addresses had been entered using the "WA." (W A dot) State code and we were running the report specifying "WA" (W A no dot). That dumb machine did exactly what I asked and selected no Customers to include in the report because none were assigned to "WA" (W A no dot).
So, the solution is to remove the "WA." entry from the list. But wait, that will create another problem!
Assuming I won the argument and "WA" (W A no dot) is to be used, we've got to change all of the Customers with "WA." (W A dot) and then delete the "WA." entry from the list. The HouseKeeping functions provide a fairly painless means of cleaning up the chaos, rather than having to change each Customer record.
- Removing the "WA." entry from the list merely prevents the entry from being used in the future. All of the Customers currently assigned to "WA." will still be there, and we won't be able to specify "WA." to include only them in the report because "WA." will no longer be a valid State Id.
- The first thing to do is decide which code should be used. In my mind it is "WA" (W A no dot), but it's your data so I'd say do what makes sense to you. Once that is decided, we can make the changes necessary to more precisely "define garbage" and clean up the records.
I'd suggest taking a look at all of the Codes assigned with your records and repeat this process to get things aligned as you view the business.
- MAKE A BACKUP. You may not need it, but if you do it'll be there, and if you don't it's easy to delete.
- On the Main.Window menu click on File | HouseKeeping | Rename/Change Id.Code | Rename Codes which will present the Rename Codes (50.45) window.
- Click on the button to the right of the State.Id entry which will present the list of valid State abbreviations.
- We're looking for "WA." (W A dot), and the list starts with "AB - Alberta". Click on the list, anywhere, then press the "W" key which will position the list to the first State Id.Code beginning with "W". "WA" (W A no dot) will be earlier in the list than "WA." (W A dot). Click on the "WA." code then on the Select button which will return the "WA." code, or you can just double-click on the "WA." line to accomplish the same thing.
- Enter "WA" (W A no dot) in the Rename to entry, click on the OK button, and SAMS does the work. All references to "WA." are changed to "WA" and the "WA." entry is removed from the list.
- When the processing is complete a message is displayed indicating the change may result in errors in the Sales.History records. That is not valid for the State Id.Code, you can ignore it. I'll add a note in the Help.Document so you can decide which of these warnings can be safely ignored.
Now that you've got things changed, MAKE ANOTHER BACKUP, it will give you a "fall back position" should you need it later and protect the work you've just done.
Lessons from the School of Hard Knocks
These notes are the result of telephone conversations and email exchanges over the years. The purpose here is twofold:
- Share the information resulting from those exchanges with everyone so it may be applied where it makes sense to you.
- Point out capabilities you have with WeLoop.SAMS that you may not be taking full advantage of.