Thank You For Using SpinLessPlates In Your Engineering Business.
Here's a quick start guide to speed up getting started.
Things to consider before you get started
Five key tasks I'd recommend before using SpinLessPlates in your business.
1. Update your key settings.
When you first start to use your SpinLessPlates system the settings screen is probably the last module you’ll want to visit but it is essential to set up your software correct from the start.
I’d complete the document details sections entering in your:
- Enquiry number - this would possibly be your job/project number (unless this number would be related to sales - see ‘Enter your active sales’ below)
- Quote number - the next quote number you would use
- Invoice number - the next sequential invoice number you’d use
The other numbers may not need setting at present although I would fill out the prefixes. I use E for enquiry, Q for quotes, etc. Not rocket science I know but works for me.
Then in the Active Modules section I’d turn Import Module, Integration and Project Timer to Yes, then complete the Hourly rate you charge as standard. I’d also set your Backup to Email Weekly just while you get started, but change once you’re up and running to Email Daily.
Finally just need to upload your background / logo and Terms (if you use them). Simply click the blue link at the bottom for more instructions on this.
2. Pop in your existing customers & suppliers.
You can either do this by using the Import Tab in Settings. Just go to settings and download the .csv templates then complete and upload. Or you can enter your customers & suppliers in one by one, using the Company & Contact buttons in the top navigation bar.
Don’t forget to enter you Companies first as your contacts link to your entered companies. If you have any B2C clients then enter the pre-entered None company for these.
3. Add your products & services.
Click on the Products / Services button in the top navigation bar and enter your services on the left hand side, select Yes for Is This A Service and press the Add Product button. If you are entering a product then select No in the Is This A Service drop down.
Then in the Prices Tab, if you have them, pop in your quantity price break, buy price (cost) and your sell price then click the Add button. You can also add what this price includes e.g. 1 colour print on 1 side, full colour print on 2 sides. Using the quantity and the price includes lets you create an endless price matrix of pricing options.
These prices are used at the quote, sales and invoice stage so entering them once here is a real time saver.
4. Enter your current enquiries.
An enquiry in SpinLessPlates is the hub that connects everything together and should be entered once your customer gets in touch to talk about a future project. Then all your quotes, tasks, time logs, invoices, etc can be linked to it.
To enter your active enquiries manually click on the Enquiries button in the navigation bar at the top of the screen then add the details on the left hand side panel. Once finished simply click the Add Enquiry button.
Or you could import them using the Import tab in Settings completing the .csv templates. Don’t forget to enter your companies & contacts first if you choose this method as your enquiries link to both these modules.
5. Enter your active sales.
I’d always recommend you use Sales for the doing stage after quoting but before invoicing. This is for projects / jobs that you are currently working on. Your Sales are linked to the enquiry entered earlier so this step is solely to keep track of that important ‘doing the work’ stage.
You can double click where it says ‘Sales’ in the preview tab (which is followed by the sales ID number) and change it to perhaps ‘Order Confirmation’ and use the document in this stage to confirm with the customer what they’ve order, the final price agreed and any final instructions.
When you add your sales line, try to include the cost price as well as the sell price, this way you will be able to see how profitable each enquiry, customer source and product is. Even if you invoice your time to try to work out how much per hour it costs you to work so you can see your profitability per hour. As with quotes, a sale can be converted to an invoice in just 1 click.
- Task manager
- Product / service
- Stock management
- Purchase scheduling
Company module - A place to enter your customers and suppliers company details. This module lets you enter in a main address as well as a different invoice address if needed.
Contact module - Enter the contacts for the companies you entered above. This way you can have as many contacts as you like linked to one company. Each contact can also have their own individual (delivery) address so if they aren’t based at ‘head office’ you can ensure things are delivered to the right place.
The company and contact details you enter are used in almost all the other modules so it really is enter it once and use it again and again.
Task manager – All your tasks can be added in one place, just click on the Add Task button in the navigation bar. They are then linked to the company, contact and enquiry so they are easy to find in the future.
The task will appear on your desktop Tasks list on the day it is to be completed (or sooner if you click the All Active option), when it can have an unlimited amount of time stamped notes added to it and the date moved to another future date or completed if the task is finished. All the notes linked to the one task which is then linked to the company, contact and enquiry really does make it easy to find out where you are up to.
Product / service module – A place to put everything that you offer. This could be set packages, hourly services as well as extra products that you sell. Prices can also be entered here with the option to create a price matrix based on quantity and / or price includes (this field name can be changed by double clicking on the column header). The product details and prices entered here are automatically brought into your quote, sale, invoice and purchase modules so can be a real time saver.
There is a colour section (title can be renamed) which lets you put in unique suppliers codes which link to your stock module. Then, if turned on in settings, there is a stock tab. Stock levels can be adjusted here at any time. Stock can be reserved at the quote stage, allocated at the sales stage, automatically removed when invoiced and can be replenished in the purchase stage.
Enquiry module – Whenever a customer gets in touch to discuss a new project, this is where the details go. I create a new enquiry everytime I discuss a new project with a customer whether it comes to anything or not. It is the central hub which links all the related elements of one project / enquiry together making it easy to find any details that are needed in the future as well as making it easy to see vital reporting on an enquiry by enquiry level.
Quotes – Quotes can be created in no time using data pre-entered in the company, contact, enquiry and product files. Or you can enter everything from scratch using the + buttons in the Add Quote screen.
Once the quotes been entered then add your details lines in the Add / Edit lines tab which takes details from the Products / Services data entered earlier. If you’d prefer to enter product / service details as you type, make sure that Auto-Enter Products is turned to Yes in Settings then Active Modules. You can also turn on Duplicate Docs there too which lets you duplicate your quotes in a single click of a button.
The quote can be printed as a PDF or emailed directly from your SpinLessPlates system. And once the customer gives you approval on your prices then you can convert the quote to a sale or invoice in just one click.
Sales – This is the ‘doing’ stage where the project work is undertaken. It lets you keep track of what quotes are now project but aren’t yet ready to invoice. Or if you ask for pre-payment it lets you keep track of which projects are still to be completed after an invoice has been sent.
If you are converting from a quote then you’d convert to sale and then convert the sale to an invoice.
Your document created at the sales step can be used as a confirmation of what your customer in ordering. The ‘Sales’ title used in the Preview tab can be changed by double clicking on it from Sales to Order Acknowledgement (or whatever you’d like).
Invoices – Surely invoicing doesn’t need an introduction. Well… your SpinLessPlates system can also produce repeat invoices – simply click on the repeat tab to set up, seamlessly links to Xero and Kashflow if you want to post your newly created invoices to your accounting software, lets you can create duplicate invoices in one click when the Duplicate Docs option is turned on in Settings and you can allocate multiple payments against one invoice using the payments tab.
You can see at a glance which invoice have been paid using the Paid / Unpaid button in the list view or you can run a report to see which invoices bring in what profit.
Purchases – Keep control of all the costs incurred on any enquiry or project by creating purchase orders for each outside element needed. Send them over to your suppliers to make sure they deliver exactly what you need. You can also create repeat purchase orders so you can set and forget those monthly recurring costs. Then match the incoming supplier invoice to the purchase order created, simples. You can post these supplier invoice details over to Xero or Kashflow with one click of a button saving a tonne of time.
As each P/O is linked to an enquiry it is easy to see all the costs incurred on any project from viewing the Overview tab in the linked Enquiry. A simple way to manage your expenditures.
Purchase Scheduling - Ensure that you don’t miss any stage of any purchase by using the simple and efficient scheduling system. Easy to use and vital to ensure your purchases go out on-time every time.
Your scheduling system ensures you never miss an important date in any purchase or enquiry.
Add as many schedules as you wish to your system. Then select the correct one from a drop down once the purchase order is created. Enter in the dates for each step, tick which ones you'd like to add reminders for immediately, click the green button and all the tasks are scheduled.
Reporting – Your SpinLessPlates software isn’t accounting software (it links to KashFlow and Xero for that) so the reports you will see will be more what a business owner needs. Such as:-
- Conversion rate from quote to sale or invoice
- Profit made from each enquiry
- Best selling products by units sold and by revenue made
- Days since a company placed an enquiry, quote or invoice with you
- Time spent on a project
- Which 20% of your customer bring you in 80% of your revenue
Reporting that a small business owner rather than an accountant needs to know.
Dashboard – Your centre point for all that is going on in your business. Your daily to-do list shows here letting you update in-screen or access the related files direct from the task reminder through links to each document.
Three reports that you feel are the most relevant to you can be added to your dashboard by running the reports (using the nav bar link) and then clicking Left, Center or Right column button.
Your six key numbers above the reports tell you the number of enquiries, quotes, sales and purchases you have that are active (making these inactive is as easy as finding the correct record, clicking on the View Details button in the list and pressing the Make Inactive button in the bottom left corner) as well as the value of the sales and purchases still active in your system.
1. Click on the green ? button on any element of the screen. This pops up a tutorial video for the element selected.
2. If that doesn’t give you the answer you are looking for then below the video is a Click Here for more help link which opens up a list of blog posts relevant to the section you have clicked through from. There are more module help categories on the right hand side too.
3. In the top left corner of you system is a Need Help button. This opens up a window where you can submit an email to our support desk. We try to answer all these within a 2 hour window Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm GMT. If you’d like a call back please don’t forget to insert your phone number along with what you’d like help with.
Thanks again for trying out SpinLessPlates and I hope this has helped give you
an overview of how it can work within your business.