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D-Tools Tip of the Month: Utilize the New Solution Feature in System Integrator

Less than 4 min read Minute Read
June 21, 2024
D-Tools Tip of the Month: Utilize the New Solution Feature in System Integrator

For many of our dealers, the ability to include a package within a package has been a long sought-after enhancement of this utilization. With System Integrator v15, that desire is now a reality! Will this make your professional life easier? We certainly think so! This new feature will undoubtedly enable our users to quickly and efficiently structure their large-scale design engineered solutions so that they may, not only be comprised of other predesigned av product packages, but also include the ability to update or modify those values across multiple product groupings. But, there needs to be some explanation of this feature prior to such assumptions.

For starters, let’s define what exactly Packages are in SI. Essentially packages are a grouping of items from the SI catalog that offer our users a unique opportunity to populate the exact details that their clients (and thus other team members) see with regard to the appearance in SI reports.

Sometimes referred to as “assemblies” in our industry, this presentation of a collection of parts, products, materials, and labor can provide us with the ability to craft exactly what we want our prospective clients to know about the data being presented. For example, instead of giving a client a list of 15-20 individual items, you could name the grouping something like “Surveillance System Solution.” Alliteration notwithstanding, this type of naming convention can communicate much-needed information on a deeper level of understanding to your client than a mere presentation of a parts list.

So with this now established, how does the Solution scenario in SI increase efficiency? To answer this, let’s explore an example of grouping a few Packages to provide a greater solution.

From the SI home page, navigate to your SI package explorer:
TOTM 022021.1

From there, we’ll need to click on “new” in the top left corner and then select “solution” from the dropdown options:

TOTM 022021.2

Next, what will pop-up is a blank SI package that has solution as its name instead.
Now, assuming the user has some packages already created, we can just start adding the desired options to the solution.
This can be done by simply navigating to the “items” tab and then selecting “add packages”:

TOTM 022021.7

Now in our execution of creating packages within past iterations of SI, this option was not available. However, I do want to mention that all of the same features that apply to adding products and labor are now applicable to the addition of packages. Further, once included in a solution, those packages can have their price set accordingly and even be marked as non-billable as such instances may occur.

In the interest of brevity, I’ll select a few basic packages that could be a part of a larger, overarching solution for some potential clients. And here are the results:

TOTM 022021.4

Here is what I’ve selected for the primary information on the “general” tab:

TOTM 022021.5

Now keep in mind, you can set the net solution price, discount, and number of net labor hours on the “price” tab just like you can in standard packages. I’ve decided to just leave the default values for now.

TOTM 022021.6

Now I only need to click “save and close,” and my solution will be complete.

Once you have these values along with bundled cable and allowance packages in your package explorer, you can now quickly “filter” to view your types on the “home” tab:

TOTM 022021.9-1

Now…on to the project where this feature can really enhance your SI usage!

Once the project is created, we can see how easy it is to access these values and add them to the BOM:

TOTM 022021.8

For those of you that use the explorer “drag and drop” method, you’ll see these solution options listed in your package explorer anchored on the left side of the SI project.

TOTM 022021.9                                                          Just like adding any other items, products, labor, packages, or other catalog values, the prompts (if enabled) will allow you to select and add accessories or alternates accordingly. Bulk wire designations will also load just as they normally do.

TOTM 022021.10

Now we get to the “good stuff”! The ability for these “solutions” to really solve your BOM additions and modifications.
For example, adding more of the same solution to your project. Perhaps your client asks you to provide the same solution option for multiple locations, floors, or buildings. A simple “cloning” operation that you are familiar with will accomplish this feat.

TOTM 022021

Just be sure to select the “clone complete package” option, and you’ll be good!

And here comes the real “magic”! Now that we have multiple solutions in our project, we can easily make quantity, labor, and pricing adjustments across them all at once. Should you engage in such an exercise, be sure to note this message:

TOTM 022021.11

So if you had a scenario where you had some validation errors that were present in the project,

TOTM 022021.12
you could then address these data details within 1 item, and that will ripple throughout all the items in your “linked” solutions.

This will be a very welcome addition when you have an example such as multiple cable runs.

TOTM 022021.13
You can now easily adjust the values of phase, labor hours, unit cost, margin/mark-up, or any other data field that you need in your “bulk’ cable runs.

Via this “linking” of solutions, your ability to adjust any 1 or more items of this “super package” structure is easily achieved. Conversely, should you need to adjust any item(s) within just 1 solution, you can easily “unlink” them to accomplish this.

TOTM 022021.
Should you need to do this, you will then see this message:

TOTM 022021.14
Think carefully on this action, though, as once solutions are “unlinked,” they cannot be “linked” again in the project.

Of course, creative users of SI will always find ways around such “limitations,” and that is why we encourage our dealers to consider training with our Professional Services Group.

As you can see, the ability to create solutions that will build out your large scale projects very quickly is easily achieved as long as you’ve put in the design “homework” to ensure your package contents are thoroughly vetted for compliance and congruency.

TOTM 022021.15

Here the mere presence of 2 solutions has resulted in a project comprised of 240 items at an installation price of $133,414.80.

This is just the beginning! With some good practice and application standards, you may find that quoting in SI via “solutions” can bring your engineered design efforts to a whole new level.

Hopefully, this presentation of just one of many recent feature additions to SI will not only improve your team’s efficiency and effectiveness, but will also keep the needle moving in the right direction as you tackle all the challenges of this new year. As always, we will continue to present new features from our latest release (v15) to enable your team to get more and more out of D-Tools System Integrator software.

See you later!!!


In closing…

For more information on these and other features of SI v15, please see this link: D-Tools SI v15. You can also review our other videos and our usual support documentation.

You can also get more detailed information about v15 via our upcoming webinars or by enrolling in SI training with our PSG team.

Written by Doug Clemens Professional Services Consultant


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