Data Loads in CSI/Syteline

Nothing too extraordinary here, lots of “paste rows append” in the grid view, but I’ll touch on a few notes from our experience.

Our first sets of data loaded were the customer and vendor tables. These were sometimes loaded months before go-live to get the different groups used to going into the system to keep the records up to date. That might not be workable if these records change frequently, but even a week ahead of time should be reasonable.

The issue with Customers in particular is that there is no good way to load the ship-tos in an easy, automatic fashion since the ship-to ranking can only be set after the record is loaded. Our workaround for that was to set the records manually, and that’s something most places will only want to do once. Another issue for both customers and vendors is that there is a lot of tuning to the records during testing and it would be difficult to handle that in a coded export.

The setup for Customers has a generous number of areas where addresses and contacts can be added, but for vendors there is just the one record, plus a second record, of sorts, for the remit-to (only one remit-to can be set). This is an intractable issue with the package since expanding Vendors to work similar to customers would require quite the set of database changes. The only thing I will note here is that for both Customers and Vendors we used a truncated version of the customer’s/vendor’s name instead of auto-numbering (CSI doesn’t do a good job of enabling users to easily find names) and we prepended the vendor’s remit-to with ‘ZZ’ to help in more easily differentiating them from the main address.

Items is the a database table that was usually loaded a couple days ahead of time. Note, this burned me every time since production did a poor job of keeping the records up to date, even over the course of 72 hours. I tried to control for this by having my router export program tell me which parts did not have a match in CSI (the router was exported out of the old system, but it couldn’t find a corresponding part in CSI). Even at our smaller operations it took several hours to paste the Current Operations into the system, but a big tip: refresh after each data segment is pasted in. So for instance, I would generally paste 1,000 rows at a time, and after the paste completed and I saved the records (without an error hopefully!) I would refresh the form so that only 200 records were on the form. If the form is not refreshed CSI gets slower and slower as it has to keep track of progressively more and more data.

The last thing I want to touch on is importing WIP value, and importing shop floor transactions: both of these had to be done by hand. Obviously the goal is to “run out” as many jobs as possible to minimize this work, or at the very least, complete/close operations in the legacy system. For the WIP value we issued a fake part to each job that had the current WIP dollar totals for the job (when asked to create the part, just click Cancel). For the shop floor transactions it was as much fun as it seemed: as many people as could be convinced to come in over the weekend would be trained to both key data into Unposted Job Transactions and close out operations on Job Operations. If possible, this process can be helped greatly by having someone from production helping so as to catch last minute operator keying errors.

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