Epicor Insights 2017: Epicor Searches

As I previously announced, I presented two sessions at Epicor Insights 2017:

Here is the content of the Epicor Search Tools session, including the PowerPoint in PDF format presented during the session.

Please like, share and/or leave a comment if you download the PowerPoint, or found this topic helpful or how you plan to use the Epicor Search Tools to seed other’s imagination.

If you could ever use any Epicor consulting services be sure to check out how I can help and let me know, I’d love to help! I would also like to thank Kathie Poindexter at Epicor for planning & scheduling the sessions.

This session reviewed the many different types of Search tools included in Epicor and highlighted how I have helped some of my client use these Search Tools to quickly get to the data. Often times users asked for reports or dashboards but after a process review, many times all that was needed was some education on how to use the Search tools or a custom search. We will be goin through all the Epicor Search Tools, beginning with the most commonly used search tools and then some of the little known search tools.

Where To Find Search

There are multiple ways to launch a search:

  • Toolbar binocular’s button.
  • Search buttons next to a key field. These buttons are found on sheets throughout the interface. The button label indicates what specific records this search program locates.
  • If you have Enterprise Search, it is available on the Epicor Main Menu.

Base Search

  • Sort By: Select an option on this drop-down list to organize the search results by a specific field found in the record. The results display in descending order.
  • Starting At: Enter a character or characters to indicate where in the dataset you would like to begin your search.
  • Additional Filters: Many Basic searches offer addition types of filters to further specify the criteria
    • Combobox/Dropdown: Select from a predefined list of values.
    • Search: Click on the Search button to search for an additional filter.
    • Radio Button: Select a radio button that best matches what you are looking for.

Quick Search

Sometime the Basic Search does not provide enough criteria options.  A Quick Search is a custom designed search based on a BAQ (query), that can be developed to provide custom searches that fit a specific workflow or business process.  Quick Searches are great for adding additional result columns when the base search does not provide the columns your business process needs. You can just emulate the Basic search criteria.  After selecting the Quick Search from the list and clicking on ‘Search,’ then enter the Quick Search criteria and click ‘Search’ again to view the results. See your ERP Administrator if you have an idea for a Quick Search.

Quick Search: Use Cases

  • Search by User Defined fields.
  • Search for Sales Orders that contain a certain part or open lines, for this Epicor has already provided a Quick Search as an example called zOrderLine.
  • For times when the Base search only provides a single value criteria option, like in Master Pack Entry & Transfer Order Shipment entry.
  • Part Search
    • By Product Group & Part Class
    • By UPC, EAN and other product codes
  • Customer Search
    • Display additional result columns (credit hold)
    • Customer Ship To
    • Customer Parts (all ports ordered, sorted by ordered last)
  • AR Invoice Search
    • By Part Number
    • By XRefInvoiceNum (imported from legacy system)
  • Job Search
    • Job Date Range (Start, Due, Completed & Closed)
    • Additional Job Status (Printed, Candidate, Started, etc)
    • By Job Codes
  • Order Search
    • zOrderLine BAQ: by Order line details, Part, Customer Part, Rev, Description, etc)
  • RMA Search
    • Related Case
    • RMA Detail: Part, Order & Invoice Reference
  • Customer Shipment Search
    • ZCustShipLine BAQ: Order Number, Part Number, etc
  • Supplier Search
    • Supplier Group
    • Supplier Attributes
    • Supplier Acct Ref

Quick Search: The Steps

  1. Create a BAQ for your Quick Search
    • Make sure you mark the BAQ ‘shared’
    • Be sure to include the Key context fields such as OrderNum, PartNum, etc
    • If the BAQ can be limited, set appropriate criteria.
    • For the display fields be sure to select all the fields you want displayed in the search results.
  2. Create the Quick Search
    1. Open the program you would want to use the Quick Search in, like Order Entry
    2. Right-click on the search field (Order Number)
    3. Select ‘Quick Search Entry’
    4. Click ‘New’
    5. Enter BAQ ID & select the matching return field (OrderNum)
    6. Setup Quick Search Criteria
      1. New > Quick Search Criteria
      2. Select Criteria Column, Caption, Type of Condition (=, <>, >, < , >=, <=, Begins, Matches) & Type of Criteria (Prompt, Constant, Value List, Radio Set)
      3. For Value List or Radio Set you can create the Option names & values in the grid below. This is handy if you want a drop down but ‘Prompt’ doesn’t automatically create a drop down. For instance, on a Part or Job Quick Search you might want the Type field to be a drop down for P & M (Purchased & Manufactured) well it doesn’t by default, with this you can create it, this could also be used for a Boolean value field where you want options that are more descriptive….or you can use a value list to limit the options the user can search against (Part Class, Product Group, etc.).
    7. Test Your Quick Search
      1. Actions > Test Quick Search
      2. SAVE -> Share -> SAVE -> All Occurrences

BAQ Search

A BAQ search is a predefined search based on a BAQ (query), that can be developed to provide custom searches that fit a specific workflow or business process. After selecting the BAQ Search from the list and clicking on ‘Search,’ the results of the BAQ will be displayed. BAQ searches do not require any criteria to be entered since the predetermined criteria was already provided. See your ERP Administrator if you have an idea for a BAQ Search.

BAQ Search: Use Cases

  • Working with ‘queues’ that need to be processed or reviewed.
  • Created by\Owned by
    • My Cases
    • My PO’s
  • Simple Grid Dashboard Alternative
  • Supplier Search
    • SRM Ratings
    • Expired QA Certs
    • Top Invoiced Supplier YTD
  • Parts Search
    • Run out Parts With No Inventory
    • IC Part Status Mismatch
    • On Hold
    • No Standard Cost
  • Customer Search
    • Credit Review\Holds
    • My Customers (Per Territory Salespersons assignment)
  • Order Search
    • Open Lines that are now Inactive or Run Out
    • Zero Price SO Lines
    • Stock & Release Programs: Customer Order with parts on hand past X days.
    • My Orders
  • Job Search
    • Printed\UnPrinted
    • My Jobs (by Planner, Prod Team membership)
  • Customer Shipment Entry
    • Ship By Today (or other date range) with certain status
    • Empty Packs (No Detail Lines)

BAQ Search: The Steps

  1. Create a BAQ for your BAQ Search
    • Make sure you mark the BAQ ‘shared’
    • Be sure to include the Key context fields such as OrderNum, PartNum, etc
    • Usually the BAQ can be limited, set appropriate criteria.
    • For the display fields be sure to select all the fields you want displayed in the search results.
  2. Set Which Search Screens It Will Display
    1. Select the ‘BAQ Search’ tab
    2. Select the ‘Like’ Columns that represent the Search Screens you want.
    3. Save
  3. Test
    1. Open the appropriate screen
    2. Click on the appropriate search button
    3. Select the ‘BAQ’ tab – your BAQ Search should be listed
    4. Highlight the BAQ Search Row and select the ‘Search’ button
    5. The BAQ results will display.
    6. Depending on the Search you can either select the result row you want or use the Select multiple buttons to select more than one results row to pull into the program.

Advanced Search

An Advanced search uses a custom dashboard to search for the desired data.  After selecting the Advanced Search Dashboard from the list and clicking on ‘Search’ button, the dashboard will be loaded.  If applicable, enter the Dashboard search criteria and select ‘Search.’ I have not found this type of search very useful since most times the dashboard can just be embedded as a UI customization to an existing Tracker. However you can deploy a dashboard as an Advanced Search instead of to the Main Menu.  If you already have dashboards you can move them to search where they probably fit into the business process more efficiently. See your ERP Administrator if you have an idea for an Advanced Search.

Advanced Search: Use Cases

  • Purchase Order Search
    • Pending PO Approvals (includes a Buyers tab with purchase limits as a reference)
  • Supplier Search
    • Supplier Monthly Invoiced Spend (Enters Year & Period to review Supplier Spend Sorted By Invoiced Amount.)
  • Order Search
    • Shipment Planner (view orders due to ship by certain dates.  Helps CSR’s better understand shipment progress and load.)
  • Customer Search
    • Credit Hold Orders (Review credit hold orders including late invoices. Can then select the customer to open in customer Entry to modify Customer Limit. Can also be accessed from Customer Credit Manager.)

Advanced Search: The Steps

  1. Create a BAQ for your Dashboard
    • Make sure you mark the BAQ ‘shared’
    • Be sure to include the Key context fields such as OrderNum, PartNum, etc
    • Usually the BAQ can be limited, set appropriate criteria.
    • For the display fields be sure to select all the fields you want displayed in the search results.
  2. Create your Dashboard
    1. You will probably want to create a ‘tracker’ pane for criteria filters.
  3. Test & Save the Dashboard before enabling Advanced Search
  4. Select the ‘General’ tab and then the ‘Adv Search’ tab.
    1. Enable the dashboard for Advanced Search
    2. Select the appropriate ‘Like’ columns that correspond to the Searches you want the dashboard to be available.
  5. Test

Named Search

Use the Named Search program to create a series of pre-set search options.  You may create Named Searches for Basic, Quick & BAQ Searches.  Named Search Options also allow you to define a default Named Search, if the named search should Auto Execute, set the maximum rows returned and if a single value is returned if it should be auto selected.  You create Named Searches by selecting the ‘Named Search’ button in the Search dialog and setting up the named search criteria.  You may have as many named searches as you wish and they are displayed in the Named Search drop down.  When selected the search criteria defaults are set on the appropriate search form. It seems that whenever I am training new users and we open a Search form for the first time they immediately click on the named search drop down… because it’s the first field on the form. Unfortunately redirecting the user seems to cause them to block out that area of the form in the future. Time to revisit!

Named Search: Use Cases

  • Supplier Search
    • Inactive Suppliers (Base Search)
    • Unapproved Suppliers (Quick Search)
  • Customer Search
    • Territory (Base Search)
    • My Customers (BAQ Search)
  • Customer Shipment
    • Status = Closed (Base Search)
  • DMR Search
    • Open DMRs (Base Search)
  • Case Entry
    • Open Cases (Base Search)
  • Fulfillment Workbench
    • Ship Today
    • Customer Group
  • Job Search
    • Released Jobs (Base)
    • Other Statuses (Quick Search)
  • Purchase Order Suggestions
    • Buyer & CutOff Date (Base Search)
  • Purchase Order Entry
    • Buyer & Open PO (Base Search)
  • RMA Disposition
    • Open Disposition (Base Search)

Named Search: The Steps

  1. Open the program & click on the search button
    1. Click on the Named Search button
  2. Named Search Options will open
    1. Click on the New icon in the toolbar
  3. Give the Named Search an ID (no spaces)
  4. Give the Named Search a Description
  5. Select the Search Type you want to use: Basic, Quick Search, BAQ Search
    1. If Quick or BAQ Search, select the ‘Using’ search option
    2. For Basic & Quick the search form will display. BAQ Searches do not have any criteria options so nothing displays
    3. Set the default search options for this named search, just like normal.
  6. Select the Options tab to control the Named Search behavior
    • Default
    • Auto Execute
    • Upin Criteria Sheet
    • Return All Rows
    • Maximum Rows Returned
    • Single Value Auto Select

Data Tag Search

Data tag searches allow you to search for records that are grouped by private or shared tags. The tags are unstructured text values that provide a way to associate otherwise unrelated records so that you or other users can search for them.  You may Tag any record by Right-Clicking on the data field and selecting ‘Tag Record’ from the context menu. You can add as many data tags as needed to a record, each separated by a space. Because the tags are space delimited, you cannot include a space as part of a data tag. 

Data Tag Search: Use Cases

  • ‘Watch’ Data Tags
    • Customers, Sales Orders, Purchase Orders, Parts, Jobs, Cases
  • Automatic Data Tags
    • Via BPM or Data Directive
      • Add predefined data tag on update under certain criteria.
      • Remove predefined data tag on update under certain criteria.
      • Can be used to design a way for user to opt in and out of email notifications.
  • Bookmarks for grouping business objects for data review projects
  • User ID data tags or Initials
    • Customers (CSR ownership)
  • Advanced Dashboard Technique
    • Per User Budget Tracker
      • Accounting data tags GL Budget Accounts with user ID’s for account activity tracking dashboards.
  • Data Classification
    • Parts & Product Groups (some users need more precise or different part classification for reports)

Data Tag Search: The Steps

    1. Create The Data Tag
      1. Identify a record to be tagged.
      2. Right Click on the key value
      3. Select ‘Tag Record’
      4. Enter private or shared tag & select OK.
    2. Search For A Data Tag
      1. Open Search
      2. Select ‘Data Tag’ tab
      3. Enter Data Tag(s) needed
      4. Click Search button

Data Tag Search: An Achilles Heel

The one trouble with the data tag’s is that users forget what tags they used so they don’t have something to search for. You can address this by creating a My & Shared Tags Dashboard

  1. Create a BAQ on the ICE.SysTag table where the CreatedBy = CurrentUserID OR IsShared = 1
    1. Created a Calculated Count field and then group by all fields but the Calculated Count field
    2. SHARE!
  2. Create a Dashboard on the BAQ with two grid views,
    1. Grid 1:  ‘My Tags’’ with a filter where CreatedBy = current user id
    2. Grid 2: ‘Shared Tags’ with a filter where IsShared = true
    3. Set the dashboard to Auto Refresh On Load
  3. Deploy it on the main menu where everyone can access it, for us this was Executive Analysis > Trackers

Now if anyone forgets their tags they can check this tracker to refresh their memory. The BAQ could be copied and the ICE.SysTag table linked to specific tables which would then allow you to provide the list per search object via a BAQ Search.  You could also adjust the dashboard to provide table, user, tag and other filters.

Auto Populate & Auto Load Search

Now to get into potentially dangerous stuff.  Each program in Epicor can be configured to either automatically populate the program with data or automatically load a Named Search.  These options can be accessed by selecting ‘Options’ from the ‘Tools’ menu within each Epicor Program.  The option settings are per user and are considered a personalization. On the General tab there is a ‘As the Form Opens’ section, here you can select what you want to happen when you open the program.

  • No Action is the default and nothing will happen when you open the program
  • Auto Populate Data will automatically execute and select the data specified by the criteria of the Named Search specified.  If you do not select a Named Search then ALL the records for the program in the database will be loaded into the program.  This is generally a bad idea.
  • Auto Load Search will automatically open the Search window with the selected Named Search. If a named search is not select then the Base Search form will be loaded when the program is opened.

Auto Populate: Use Cases

  • Setup Programs (blank)
    • Buyers, Country, Customer Groups, Fiscal Year, FOB, Part Class, Product Group, Misc Charges, Ship Via, Terms Codes, Users
  • General Operation Programs (blank)
    • Cross Dock, Job Closing Exception Tracker, Job Completion Exception Tracker, Planning Workbench, QA Inspection Processing,  Supplier Contract Approvals
  • With Named Search Selected
    • RMA Disposition, Fulfillment Workbench, Case Entry, Customer Credit Manager, Job Closing (Candidates), Planning Workbench, PO Suggestions, RMA Disposition

Auto Load Search: Use Cases

  • Customer Shipment Entry
  • Most Trackers

Auto Populate & Auto Load Search: The Steps

  1. Open the Program
  2. Select ‘Options’ from the Tools menu.
  3. Select either Auto Populate or Auto Load Search
  4. Select the Named Search from the Drop down

Auto Populate & Auto Load Search: A Final Warning

  • Auto Populate Data: When left blank will then retrieve ALL DATA records for the program. Use With CAUTION!!
  • Auto Load Search: When left blank will Auto load the default search for the program.

Predictive Search

An Epicor 10 feature, works similar to auto-complete in that it searches based on what you have typed in a key field, but it does not attempt to complete the value, instead it presents a dropdown/pop up style grid of ‘starting at’ matches.  While this function is not great for everything, there are some scenarios where it would be very helpful. A key benefit is that the search does NOT have to search against the search field but any field on the table.

Predictive Search: Use Cases

  • Order Entry
    • Search against Customer PO when typing in Sales Order field. CSR’s avoid an additional step to search for a sales order by the customer’s PO. Took some getting used to but proved very helpful.
  • Employee Entry
    • Search against Employee Full Name instead of Employee ID.
  • Part Number
    • Handy for long part numbers.
    • Search against Description, Search field, etc
  • Purchase Orders
    • Search against Supplier Name of ‘my open PO’s’ BAQ
  • Customer
    • Search by Customer Name
  • Supplier
    • Search by Supplier Name.
  • Job Tracker
    • Enter Part Number for list of all Released Jobs for that part.
  • User Accounts
    • Search by Full Name

Predictive Search: The Steps

    1. Create a BAQ for your Predictive Search
      • Make sure you mark the BAQ ‘shared’
      • Be sure to include the Key context fields such as OrderNum, PartNum, etc
      • Usually the BAQ can be limited, set appropriate criteria.
      • For the display fields be sure to select all the fields you want displayed in the search results.
    2. Open the program you wish to create the predictive search in and right click on the search filed and select ‘Predictive Search Entry’
      1. If this option is not available in the context menu then check your user account in Epicor under the options tab and make sure the account is enabled for maintaining Predictive Search
    3.  Select ‘New’ and set a Predictive Search ID, Description and select the BAQ created earlier.
    4. Select the Return Column that matches the search field
    5. Select the Search By Column that you want to type & search against
    6. Set the Top X Rows (default of 100 seems excessive, try 25)
    7. Save > Shared > Save > All Occurrences
    8. Test!

Enterprise Search

In the Main Menu you can use Enterprise Search to search for common or basic business objects across the database. Other search programs within the Epicor application are limited to querying records for a specific record type, but Enterprise Search locates a search item throughout the database.  Enterprise Search can be customized to index specific Business Objects and by default all business objects are NOT indexed.  Many of the common business objects that are indexed include, Customer, Contacts, Ship To, Sales Orders, Shipments, Quotes, Purchase Orders, Parts, Invoices, Cases & Service Calls.  Users can enter the search criteria they are looking for and return results with links to open the business object in its native program.

Enterprise search can be a very powerful tool once it is configured properly for your data and environment.  Installation of Enterprise search for Epicor 10 is very easy and straightforward.  Once installed and activated, it basically indexes your database according to BAQ’s provided in the Epicor Administration Console.  Review the BAQ Indexes that are enabled and disable any that you do not need, this will improve the index performance dramatically. Each BAQ index has configurations to control how the data is indexed and presented in the results.  By default the results may seem random, messy and difficult to read but by configuring these indexes a relevant and easy to read result set can be achieved.

Enterprise Search: Tips

  • Most common problem was timeouts
  • Create a Search Index for each Company
  • Only Index the BAQs that each Company needs.
  • Do not rebuild more than necessary.
  • If needed limit the BAQ results additional date criteria.
  • Monitor Build History – As your data changes the rebuild may take longer or corrupt data can cause the rebuild to fail.

Wrap Up: The Search Summary

While the time savings is hard to definitively measure, those who do leverage these different search functions are able to save clicks and seconds throughout their daily processes that they repeat dozens of times a day. Especially for those working with Customers on the phone, every second counts and being able to quickly get data or answer customer questions improves the customer experience and satisfaction. Attached below is the original Insights 2017 slide deck to assist with exploring these search tools and deploying them in your environment.  Please let me know if I can be of any service regarding design, creation, setup or anything else with Epicor Searches.  A full business process review is an ideal way to identify where these powerful search tools can be deployed to save time.  Please leave a comment if you download the PowerPoint or found this topic helpful and/or how you plan to use these Search tools to inspire other’s imaginations.


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