FlexQuery Data Moving Agent (DMA): Flexible importing for Retail Pro 9
The Data Moving Agent is a new addition to the FlexQuery family, complementing FlexQuery’s ability to export in a highly flexible manner by providing highly flexible and customizable importing for Retail Pro 9.
It comes in two versions, single and multi-subsidiary and can be licensed for Inventory importing (including departments and vendors). Additional licenses are available for other areas of Retail Pro 9 as well. Areas currently available are: Customers, vouchers and sales orders. Support for other areas is planned.
What makes DMA different is its flexible mapping and its ability to show a preview of the Excel file it is importing, complete with colour coding to indicate if a column is mapped or not. It also allows runtime changes to a map should a column be misnamed. And the change can be saved to make it a permanent map change.
That really simplifies setting up an import. DMA can not only create a file to be imported by ECM, it can also take the next step by optionally importing that file to Retail Pro 9. Provided, of course, the import data is always the same format.
DMA also provides the ability to only add new items or only update existing items or both. If the data to be imported is sourced from an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) app, this means that e.g. a price update can be imported from a bulk file without ‘blowing out’ the inventory.
A feature worth noting is DMA’s ability to control the data being imported. Fields which must be updated can be flagged in a map as required, so an import fails if the fields are not present. This is most useful for new items to ensure consistent inventory. DMA also sets a number of fields to a default value whenever you create a new map. This ensures that fields such as max discount or Tax Code are set even if they do not form part of the import file.
A common import issue is what happens when a lookup field is empty. DMA allows the setting of fields and field combinations as lookups, as the first thing it checks is whether the item exists. These fields can be arranged in order of lookup priority:
E.g. in the example above, if Item_sid is present and mapped, it will be the first field DMA will attempt to find. If not found, it will pass onto the ALU field. If ALUs are not unique, they should not be used as a lookup. Note the style definition, as a new item may need to be added to an existing style. DMA handles this too.
A big advantage is that one file can be used to provide additional data. For instance, a file containing inventory can be used to add a department or vendor using a department or vendor map, provided that the codes and (preferably) the names are present. It’s useful to do that import first to avoid the department or vendor being added but not visible in Retail Pro.
DMA also supports importing Customers, Sales Orders and Vouchers (including ASNs) via additional module licenses for each area. More are planned.
Here are some examples of how DMA can be used:
- Import Departments
- Import Vendors
- Import Inventory
- Import ASN containing stock being sent from a supplier
- Import ASN containing stock being sent from a warehouse to stop up a store
- Import ASN containing opening stock for a new store
- Import Ecommerce-sourced Web orders and customers
- Price update existing items
- Change an item range to a new vendor
- Change DCS structure in Inventory
Hint: Since an ASN import will fail if any items are not already present in Retail Pro, if the inventory data is present in the file, an inventory update can be done first, then the same file can be used to import the ASN.
Hint: Subsidiaries (usually representing a territory or country) can be identified using alternative names eg if the USA is Subsidiary 1, mapping sbs_no to an Excel column containing 1, US or USA or United States could be successfully used.