Posted December 24th, 2020
One last release tagged for the year - this will be held back until the start of next year to avoid any disruption over Christmas.
- Add costs since the last invoice to the wip report so it shows costs after an interim invoice
- Show site address in client wizard to support assets with different postal addresses on the same site
- Added created date to parts setup report
- Added a recent activity option to the window menu to allow users to get back to recent jobs etc
- Added a select all to bulk issue
- Fix clearing manual allocation notes in site details
- Limiting visibility of parts in stock at depot when collecting on the mobile app
- Fix the display sequence of invoiced lines on the order sheet
- Fix editing surveys with lots of actions and questions
Feature Focus - Cloning a Maintenance Plan
Posted December 15th, 2020
James writes about a new feature he recently added in and explains how to use it. This feature allows you to clone maintenance schedules.
Lifestyle - Cake 2: The Deliverance
Posted December 8th, 2020
The long awaited sequel to the importance of cake is finally here, James writes about how cake is still important during the pandemic and how we all got a pleasant surprise at our door
Christmas/New Year Opening Times
Posted December 7th, 2020
You can get in touch with us throughout the new year period - our calls will be taken by our out of hours call handlers even when we aren't here, and all messages are passed on to Mike, Ian, and Stephen.
Our office opening times over the holiday period are:
|21/12/2020||08:00 - 16:30 as normal|
|22/12/2020||08:00 - 16:30 as normal|
|23/12/2020||08:00 - 16:30 as normal|
|24/12/2020||08:00 - 12:30|
|29/12/2020||08:00 - 16:30 as normal|
|30/12/2020||08:00 - 16:30 as normal|
|31/12/2020||08:00 - 12:30|
See you in 2021!
Posted November 25th, 2020
We are now back into full swing, and Lockdown 2 hasn't affected the release cycle. This month we've released a large number of changes to merge functionality between our 'building maintenance' and 'asset maintenance' products so we can have an combined 'asset compliance' product. This wraps simple 'one job at a time' building maintenance visits in the same system as complex multi-asset visits. More news on this over the next few months.
- First version of the Passive Fire Protection / Fire Safety and Compliance system released
- New "Interface Errors" dashboard panel to allow users to self-monitor and self-correct some common interface issues
- Launch 'Raise Enquiry' from the Client Sheet straight into viewing the general details section
- Allow attachments to be moved between jobs and projects
- Add client archived filter to a number of client reports
- Automatically overflow long job descriptions into notes from manual job entry to match interfaces
- Restrict "job messages raised by" dashboard panel
- Enable the total removal of the signature screen from the new Fire Safety and Compliance mobile application
- Split address and postcode into separate columns on the attendance / SOR delivery report
- Cosmetic changes to the survey PDF to support additional captions in the footer “Inspected and Tested”
- Changes to visibility of stock items when collecting stock from depots
- Changes to visibility of "reopen" button on the jobsheet based on permissions
- Add postcode column to "Work In Progress" report
- Changes to holiday approval to combine the two methods into a single screen
- Merge reports for holiday approval so the dashboard and workload calendar both show the same details
- Fix the image viewer to skip non-images so as to avoid the error message.
- Improve the handling of de-allocation of parent jobs from the ACR mobile application during a live visit
- Cosmetic tweaks to the mobile app’s holiday booking screens
- Improved handling of long billing addresses overflowing on invoice layouts
- Cosmetic fix to floating column headings when sorting long reports
- Allow times to be entered as either ##:## or #### in the bulk booking / bank holiday screen to match the rest of the system
Hint of the Month - Job Queries / Messages
Posted November 11th, 2020
This month’s Hint of the Month is all about Job Queries, or commonly captioned Job Messages. Unlike notes on jobs, messages are designed to communicate something which requires action and once the action has been taken, the message can be closed.
Tech - Development Environment
Posted October 28th, 2020
A brief description of the developer environment's on our laptops.
Posted October 23rd, 2020
This has been a busy period - with the office reopening in September only to close again after 3 weeks. We've caught up on a long tail of minor changes, and taken the opportunity of lock-down to tackle some older requests.
- Added the ability to ignore premature Completion from mobile application where multiple engineers are allocated and they disagree about how complete the work is
- Added support for showing jobs in different colours to the Find Job report based on contract – colours can be specified in the client wizard
- Added support for forcing longer descriptions for work completed on the mobile app
- Support for removing No Change as an option on record visit
- Added part code to recent stock movements report
- Added financial columns from the Job/Site report into the Enquiry/Project report for profit reporting
- Added the client email address to the find client report
- Added the All Operatives column to the Ready To Charge report
- Added system options to control some of the jobsheet print options
- Added comments column to the status change report
- Added the support for the archive clients flag on the client summary report
- Added more logging of activities against assets to show in the audit trail report
- Added support for locking out engineers using old mobile app versions
- Added additional filters to support finding/ignoring split jobs on Find Job report
- Changed converting deliveries to job costs to use the full description beyond the 50 character summary description
- Added Subcontractor Portal Usage report to provide stable usage numbers based on visit date instead of job completion date
- Added support for making Region mandatory in the client wizard
- Added support for Asset Templates to the housing client wizard
- Added breakdown by status to the job costing report
- Added ability to set restock true / false when linking part to trade
- Added a dashboard widget to show Near Misses when the operative has answered yes to a specific survey question
- Added new screen for authorising holidays that the dashboard widget takes you to
- Fixed sequencing of survey actions on the mobile app
- Fixed copying large notes when splitting a job
- Fixed Android 11 compatibility problems saving photographs
- Fix problem with data structure patching
- Fixed order entry warning to use costcode caption
- Added support for the pricelist caption to the client wizard
- Fix retrospective clock off screen to work even where the original job has been removed from the engineer
- Fixed impending failures dashboard widget to support short final periods
Lifestyle - Apprentice Pathway Choices's
Posted October 10th, 2020
The first year of university has come to an end for James and Willow, the both have split in terms of their pathway choice, and have their own reasons for this. Read as they walk you through the reasoning for their choice!
Announcement - We had a problem
Posted October 7th, 2020
Mike explains what happened on the 16th of July 2020 when one of our servers erupted in smoke and some users were unable to access our system. But luckily our brilliant team was able to get it all back up and running in only 30 minutes
Tech Update - Kotlin
Posted September 30th, 2020
Read about our experiments with Kotlin for mobile app development, and Firebase Cloud Messaging.
Fantasy Football Winner 2019/2020
Posted September 11th, 2020
This year has seen a very different sort of football season...but eventually there was a winner. Michael Gingell from Steele Davis thrashed us all, and a selection of wines (and a t-shirt) are on their way to him to celebrate.
Throughout the year we have kept in touch with all our customer, and in July Michael said:
The system has been a real benefit to us through this current situation, it has allowed us to work remotely from home without any disruption and enable us to continue operating as normal.We thought that was a good quote, so we eased off and let Michael win the league. Well, that's what our Mike is saying happened.
Posted August 25th, 2020
We have had a quiet summer, which meant we skipped the July release. This was partly to avoid having a release going live over the summer holidays period which might cause disruption, and partly because there were not as many small fixes queued thanks to Covid. However we have still been actively developing the product and supporting customers throughout lockdown so there is still a nice range of features in this release.
- New dashboard widget which behaves like the Customer Satisfaction one but for responses to the vehicle checks survey. ie: if a 'negative' answer is captured this is brought to the attention of back office users via the dashboard
- Suppress Output - added as an automatic filter to all reports (like "show all") so any report can be used to just generate the csv file without having ot wait for the page to load
- Made the system support arbitrary decimal place SOR prices based on a system option
- Improvements to the holiday booking process
- Added a 'un-select all' option when we copy notes/attachments when splitting jobs
- Added a 'generate new' button to the project reference field when creating a new project
- Added a range of indexes to improve dashboard performance – using indexes previously optimised for individual contractors
- Added support for "NA" as an option to the 'deadly' risk assessment answers
- Carry the new email address from client entry into detail setup whilst processing new enquiries
- Fix the link in "Job Messages by query type" dashboard widget to work if there's a "#" in the description
Posted June 23rd, 2020
This month we mostly focused on some changes to do with how we handled attachments - over interfaces and in the sub-contractor portal.
- Added the ability to requeue attachments for sending over interfaces
- Added extra audit trail entries for downloading attachments
- Added the ability to copy attachments to split jobs
- Changed behaviour of editing job header to leave manually edited depot rather than overriding to match contract
- Fixed bug with filters passed from the 12 month dashboard widget sometimes showing different detail results depending on the date ranges
Posted June 19th, 2020
This month we have completed our Cyber Essentials certification. Security has been at the heart of the hosted solutions we have been providing since 2005, but we had not seen the benefit of trying to get certification. In this blog post Ian discusses why now was the right time for Epix to complete the process.
Posted May 21st, 2020
This month headlines with changes relating to KPIs. There are three new dashboard widgets to try to pre-empt failures, and tweaks to a number of reports to help enhance KPI monitoring.
- New dashboard widgets: split workload and due jobs by costcode/supervisor to monitor that the jobs are being managed correctly, and the supervisors are getting a fair share of allocated engineers – see bottom of dashboard panels list from the personalise dashboard link. The two new reports compliment the existing “7 days due by trade”, and “7 days assigned operatives” widgets
- New experimental dashboard widget to monitor and correct interface errors with the connection to the Verisae SOAP portal
- Support mandatory end of visit notes depending on the end status selected by the engineer within the mobile app
- Display the late completion reason in a number of new places to aid reporting
- Display the job category in a number of new places to aid reporting
- Changes to the Care and Repair “Find client” reports to suppress confusing site details
- Manager portal: Remember the filters when reviewing historical visits to allow the user to control the home page better
- Fixes to the onsite and travelling time calculations on the visit summary report. Additional fields displaying detailed costs breakdown (labour/materials) for each visit
- Fixes to SOR entry screen to properly propagate pricelists when the sorlist changes
- Fix to the display of data in the site entry screen for properties with an apostrophe in their unique reference
Tech Update - AMD vs Intel
Posted May 18th, 2020
Zahir explains why we chose AMD for our latest server upgrade.
Lifestyle - The importance of cake
Posted May 7th, 2020
Our fortnightly sprint process centres around cake. We think this makes us more agile, and helps us all to engage with the process. James tries to justify why cake is important to the development process...
Tech Update - Kids in programming
Posted April 23rd, 2020
Read about how James thinks you can encourage children to take up coding.
Posted April 16th, 2020
We are working from home, and have tried to limit the changes we are making, but there's still a fair few updates working their way through testing to release. We've also been prioritising some work that is needed, COVID-19 or no COVID-19, for contracts going live this month.
- New login screen
- Added the ability to limit the size of photos taken by engineers in the mobile app
- Added support for new LGSR MOT dates
- Added support for pre-visit risk assessments to RACSAMS customers
- Added the ability to copy attachments between jobs
- Amendments to some customer specific visit prints to support displaying the after-visit QA completed by the resident
- New huge string domain to support long interface errors in job messages
- Added vtotals to the job status financial report
- Added support for defaulting purchase order line entry to a product code if you always use the same one
- Added support for Riverside’s interface update of job descriptions
- Added a new report to summarise aged jobs by costcode/supervisor and status
- Added the ability to attach surveys to email communications
- Performance improvements to approving and rejecting holidays
- Performance improvements to contact report
- Performance improvements to costcode/supervisor setup
- Fixed the overlay of table headers when issuing work
- Fixed bug that allowed the user to partially save incorrect completion dates when editing job headers
- Fixed bug in communications that was pulling “internal” lines through to the email
- Fixed bug selecting the site/block to associate with an asset
New Feature - Login screen updates
Posted April 9th, 2020
Ian writes about a change to the venerable login screen that is coming in the next release.
Coronavirus package - free implementation
Posted April 2nd, 2020
Some contractors are having to carry on working through lockdown, so we've put together a package to implement an emergency repairs system in 2 days.
Office Update - The office is open virtually, all systems go
Posted March 23rd, 2020
Ian explains how Epix Systems is as fully prepared as can be for the foreseeable (until 8pm tonight?) future during this crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus.
Hint of the Month - Personalising the System
Posted March 20th, 2020
Chris explains how to personalise the system to suit your workflow and allowing you to see the information that is important to you.
New Feature - Our new Green Announcement Blob
Posted March 19th, 2020
James writes about a feature he recently developed that allows us to announce new features that have been added to the system
Customer announcement - COVID-19 support
Posted March 16th, 2020
Lots of our contractors were asking very similar questions and had related concerns, so we listed how we could help them in this current emergency.
Tech Update - NVME SSD's
Posted March 5th, 2020
Read about Tim talking about our new NVME SSD's and what aspects of your workflow they will improve. Also learn about the benefits of using NVME SSD's and how they behave in practice.
Posted March 4th, 2020
The last release was right at the end of January, so somehow it didn't seem worth a full release in February. We still maintained the continuous release of small bug fixes that were effecting customers in February, but we were concentrating on testing the new server.
This month the release is mostly focused on performance improvements. Next month we will be releasing a new login screen which will behave like the current screen, but look very different.
- Performance improvements to many dashboard widgets to increase responsiveness
- Changes to the absence booking process to improve performance of the calendar screen
- Coming soon: changes to the look and feel of the login screen
- Added a new communication substitution to support sending semi-automated emails of live jobs to clients
- Added the ability to filter materials and labour codes to limit to or hide labour codes
- Added entry into the job history if the received date is changed
- Added all "manual allocation rules" to various job reports used during the allocation process
- Added the "last service date" prominently at the top of jobsheets
- Removed payment terms from specific contractor invoice layout
- Added a new layout for job prints for a specific contractor
- Added new high-ascii characters to the substitution list
- Fixed the "complete job" on edit sales lines screen to work from the current quantity rather than the original ordered quantity.#2
- Fixed to the edit attend on date screen to better support systems that do not use slot captions fully
- Fixed find jobs so it displays the "site" contact rather than the charge contact
Hint of the Month - Pin your favourite reports
Posted February 21st, 2020
This month Ruth, our senior developer, is sharing a hint about pinning reports that will save you a lot of time.
January Team Building - Crazy Golf
Posted February 1st, 2020
Follow Willow through the 9-hole crazy golf course at Junk Yard Golf Club with the rest of the Epix Systems team for our January team building excercise
Posted January 31st, 2020
This year kicks off with a normal monthly release. As always our customers are being progressively tested and upgraded automatically over the next fortnight. As part of our Software As A Service (SaaS) solution we manage the full lifecycle of the platform and the software, including refreshing the platform and upgrading the application.
We've already made some upgrades to the servers that we will be announcing soon, and there will be a new server turned on in the cluster in the near future. We are working on a couple of blog postings coming out over the next few weeks about some of the new features, but for now here's the list of features, tweaks, and bug fixes that everyone will see....
- Release notes - new in-app release notes feature to highlight what has changed.
- Quickbooks Cloud export - we have added a new sales invoice export process to support the Quickbooks Cloud format.
- Absence booking - now supports approval limits based on OPERATIVE_MANAGEMENT permission. This includes a new report on the workload calendar for requested absences, and also a new dashboard panel.
- Frozen report headers - now all reports feature frozen headers so that the column titles are visible no matter how far down a report you have scrolled.
- Find job - now supports a filter for jobs received inside and outside of normal office working hours.
- Project / Care & Repair enquiries - added the ability to edit all job status on a project in a single screen.
- Add lines to jobs immediately after raising - our property maintenance solutions have always included this ability, but it has now been added to ACR systems too.
- Adding new SOR codes - the setup screen now supports assigning new codes to pricelists in a single pass.
- Purchase order amendments - we have unified the permissions for editing order lines to work from just ORDER_ADMIN.
- Jobs completed inside and outside of response - we have added some additional fields and filters to this report following requests from a number of users.
- Generic job importer - you can now download a template to import jobs into the system.
- Purchase order settlement terms - added a new "75 days" settlement term.
- Complete job lines button - this now works off the current ordered and delivered quantities rather than the original values.
- Financial summary on dashboard - now reporting off the taxpoint date of transactions rather than the posting date.
- Archiving contacts - now removes the newly archived contact from live jobs and assets, and adds history to the job to show what has happened.
- Adding assets - fixed passing in of parent sites for new assets.