House Cleaning
Every once in a while you have to just call "Time Out" and clear out the cutter that builds up in the office.  A chore that is far from pleasant, but it sure feels good when it's done.  Even more important is the fact that when things are cleaned up you are far more effective.  Your computer records are no different.  In the Get Organized discussion we talked about all of those files on your computer.  This topic is more pointed and deals with the information in the data files used and maintained by the system, and how you monitor your business performance.

From year to year the Manufacturers you represent change, new ones are added, some are dropped, and occasionally a couple will merge.  You add a Rep, or loose one.  Customers go out of business or one acquires another.  All of this change may result in "clutter" being left in your records. 

Much like the office cleanup, this information cleanup process requires an understanding of where things should go.  Now there's a good question!  How should all this stuff be organized? 
There is no ONE answer.  There is no RIGHT answer.  The answer is based on how you view your business and how you run it.  In general, you serve two masters, the Manufacturers you represent and the Customers to whom you sell.  Since this "mix" will change over time, before you start the cleanup process, you must sit down and take a hard look at "your world, as it REALLY exists". 
This review really can not be done as a single activity.  I'll bet your showroom has evolved because the product mix changed, and because you game up with a better idea.  This same evolutionary process applies to all of the information in your data files.

The easiest is probably all of the "codes" used to classify or categorize:
In each of these areas you may find a need to establish additional "codes", or you may want to combine some.  The end result should be a "precise" definition, and an obvious classification, in order for it to be applied consistently.  Combining and renaming these categories is accomplished using the HouseKeeping functions ( File | HouseKeeping | Rename/Change Id.Code | Rename Codes ) talked about earlier in the standardizing discussion.
NOTE: Make a BackUp before you start.  Review the results, then make another BackUp so you won't have to repeat the process should you need to restore from a backup.

The Manufacturers are fairly straight forward.  You don't want to delete a Manufacturer you no longer represent, if you do you will loose the "sales history" information used to present year-to-date and prior-year comparisons.  Use the Manufacturer "Status" entry to "hide" those that are "really obsolete".
Once all outstanding commission payments have been received from a Manufacturer you no longer represent, you can remove the Manufacturer from all of the sales reports and reviews without loosing sight of the sales history information. 
NOTE: Make a BackUp before you start.  Review the results, then make another BackUp so you won't have to repeat the process should you need to restore from a backup.

The tough one is Sales Territory structure, which is probably the most important one.  In order to keep these notes relatively short and focused Territory assignment is being treated separately.  The short answer stems from a comment made to me by a Sales.Manager a long time ago.  His perspective was "The Territory, if defined properly, won't change much.  The change is the responsible Rep".  Think about that a little and review the Structure discussion.

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: