Chapter 1. Introduction
Welcome to Retail Pro Prism! Prism is a complete retail management system that enables retailers to ring up sales, track inventory, manage customers, run reports and much more. This chapter of the Prism User's Guide introduces the main concepts and areas of Prism. The remaining chapters in the Prism User's Guide will expand on the main concepts presented here and provide detailed information about working with the individual area of Prism.
Prism 2.x is a licensed product. During installation of Prism 2.0 and above, users are required to enter a valid Client ID and License Key (Software Assurance (SA) code). This means that the client must purchase Prism licensing and SA must be current.
Prism Enterprise Hierarchy
Individual Prism servers are organized into a hierarchy that allows data to flow upstream and downstream in a controlled manner. Every Prism enterprise has a single "HQ" system that serves as root authority for the company's servers. After Prism has been installed on the root authority system and initialized, proceed to install Prism on other servers. Each server (except the Root Authority) must join the enterprise via a Tech Toolkit process. When joining a server to the enterprise, you identify the server's POA. The POA is the upstream server in charge of enterprise data from the downstream server's point of view. When enterprise data is created/edited at the store level, it is communicated up the enterprise chain to the top, enforcing the synchronization of data throughout the enterprise. Changes made at the HQ flow downstream to POA and store servers.
The profiles used for data replication determine which data is sent in each direction. For example, the only data that typically needs to flow upstream from stores are transactions, Z-Out reports, customers and perhaps a few other data types.
POA and store servers are initialized with data from the HQ via Prism-to-Prism initialization
Sample Prism enterprise hierarchy:
Enterprise Structure Rules and Best Practices:
- To access or edit a node, the server must be up and running
- Install Prism servers from the top down. Install the Prism HQ (root authority) first and initialize. The Root Authority cannot select a POA
- Install the first tier of POA servers after the root is initialized
- Intermediate-level POAs required if there are more than 50 stores
- Any node other than the root authority can leave an enterprise
- A superior node can eject a subordinate node that is offline
- Nodes can modify the controller data for themselves and any subordinate nodes
- To push data out from a server, you must create a profile and assign it to a connection
- At Root Authority (Prism HQ) create a separate profile for each subsidiary to prevent each subsidiary from getting overwhelmed with data from other subsidiaries (if data is not needed)
The following prerequisites exist for machines that will participate in a Prism enterprise.
- Must have licensing for Prism 2.x and Software Assurance (SA) must be current
- Must have online connectivity to the POA to manage enterprise data or use enterprise features
- User doing the setup must know the Public/Private addressing information for servers
- A Prism server can initialize a server on a different version; however, some data may not replicate in such a scenario. Each release of Prism typically adds new resources. During the interim a server is on an older version, the server will not be able to send or receive data for any new resources. Once the servers are on the same updated version, data that did not replicate will replicate and the systems will "catch up" with each other.
Subsidiaries, Stores and Workstations
Access subsidiary, store and workstation records by navigating to Admin Console > Node Selection. Drill down to the desired level.
A subsidiary represents an individual business unit. For smaller retailers, there will only be a single subsidiary that controls all stores. For larger retailers, multiple subsidiaries will be required. For example, a retailer that operates in 30 countries may want to have 30 subsidiaries, one for each country in which the retailer has stores. In contrast to a subsidiary, a store represents a single inventory location.
When initializing RP Prism, you select the subsidiaries whose data will be copied to the Prism server. Only those subsidiaries selected will be available at that Prism server.
Each "store" in Prism is typically a single server at the lower level of the hierarchy. Stores send transactions, customers and other records created at POS upstream to the POA and ultimately to the HQ. The HQ or POA, in turn, sends changes to Inventory, purchase orders and other records created at the HQ downstream to stores.
Workstations in Prism consist of the individual machines running Prism through a web browser. In the RP Prism Admin Console, you can edit workstation records. Note: The first time you edit a Workstation, you must enter a Workstation Number before you can save the changes.
Prism Document Types
Prism makes use of various document types to plan and carry out the movement of merchandise.
Prism Documents and Inventory (TOs and POs are planning documents):
- Transactions are used to record POS activities. A transaction can include sale, return, and order items. Sale items remove quantities from inventory; Return items add quantities to inventory; Order items do not update inventory.
- Purchase Orders (POs) are used to plan the ordering of merchandise from vendors. POs do not update inventory.
- Receiving vouchers add to inventory the merchandise received from vendors. Return vouchers are used to subtract from inventory merchandise that is returned to vendors. A receiving voucher can be generated from a purchase order, or a PO number can be entered on a receiving voucher.
- Transfer Order (TOs) are used to plan the transfer of merchandise from one store to one or more different stores.
- Transfer slips record the transfer of merchandise between two inventories (store to store, warehouse to store, etc.). An out slip subtracts the quantity transferred from the sending inventory and adds it to the receiving inventory. A transfer slip can be generated from a transfer order, or a TO number can be entered on a transfer slip.
- Adjustment memos can either add or subtract merchandise from inventory. Memos are used when none of the other transactional documents are appropriate. For example, adjustment memos would be used to subtract shrinkage quantities from inventory or to add "extra" units discovered during a physical inventory. Adjustment memos are also used to record adjustments to inventory costs and prices. There are no order documents related to adjustment memos.
- In addition to the core inventory and point-of-sale functionality, Retail Pro also includes a Customers area for maintaining customer addresses and phone numbers, customer-based pricing, store-credit tracking, and instant retrieval of customer sales history.
(Note: This section has an overview of Prism's security features. Additional details about assigning security permissions to groups can be found in Chapter 9. Employees.)
Prism helps support the policies that retailers may put in place to increase security. The Prism Employee and Group Management areas enable you to define groups, assign employees to the groups and customize the permissions assigned to each group.
In addition, several Prism preferences provide additional tools to help retailers secure the POS environment, including:
- Open Cash Drawer Prevents New Receipt
- Require Customer option (Sale, Return, Manual Discount)
- Auto Lock Workstation
- Default Max Discount for Items
- Required fields for individual tenders
First Login Security Considerations
The first time you launch Prism, you must log in using the default sysadmin/sysadmin credentials. Security best practices call for changing the sysadmin user's default password at the earliest opportunity. Any user who logs in as the sysadmin user can change the sysadmin user's password.
Assigning Security Permissions to Employees
You can control employee access to specific Prism areas and features via employee groups. Create the groups you need and assign permissions to the group. Then, assign individual employees to groups as needed.
|Allow||If selected, group members can perform the task freely. Allow All: All permissions are set to Allow for the selected group.|
|Override||If selected, group members can perform the task only if a manager or other override user logs in first. With Override selected, when a group member tries to perform the task, a login prompt is displayed. A user who belongs to a group with the permission must enter login credentials. Override All: All permissions are set to Override for the selected group.|
|Deny||If selected, group members are prevented from performing the task. The buttons or other interface elements associated with the task are disabled. Deny All: All permissions are set to Deny for the selected group.|
|Log Override||If selected, override actions are written to the log file.|
If the Override radio button is selected, then when the employee tries to perform the task, a dialog is displayed. A manager or other user who belongs to a group with the "Allow" option for the permission must enter his/her username and password and click OK, and then RP Prism will allow the original user to perform the task. The override user is logged out and the original user is logged back in. If the action would require multiple overrides, the Multiple Permission Override dialog is displayed. This saves the override user from having to enter credentials into multiple separate dialogs.
Exclude Prism from Anti-Virus Scans
This section provides information about excluding Prism folders from scans performed by anti-virus software. This includes but is not limited to the Windows Defender program. If users fail to exclude Prism folders from the scans performed by anti-virus programs, program performance can be severely impacted. Anti-virus programs scan files any time the files are opened, unless the file's folder is specifically excluded from the program's scan list. This becomes a problem because technicians will often edit Prism configuration files to have a LOGLEVEL=3 and BUFFERSIZE=0. When anti-virus programs run on using these settings, system performance will slow down. LOGLEVEL=3 provides the greatest level of detail to assist in troubleshooting. BUFFERSIZE=0 (zero) means that each time a log event occurs, the log file is opened, an entry is written, and then the file is closed. The combination of these settings results in a lot of files getting scanned repeatedly.
To avoid this situation, users should add the Prism folders to the list of folders excluded from the scan.
Sample PrismMQService.ini file with LOGLEVEL=3 and BUFFERSIZE=0
List of folders to exclude from Anti-Virus scans:
|Exclude what||Folder location|
|Apache||C:\Program Files (x86)\Apache Software Foundation|
|RabbitMQ||C:\Program Files (x86)\RabbitMQ Server|
Prism Sample Workflow
Retail Pro Prism is a complete retail management system used in a wide variety of retail environments. This document shows examples of how Prism supports retailers and helps employees perform common tasks throughout the workday. These are only examples. Prism has many preferences that enable retailers to customize the workflow and business logic used by the program to meet each retailer's specific needs and business practices.
All Prism users must log in with a username and password. Access to specific areas and features is controlled using group-based security permissions (Allow, Deny, or Override). When a user tries to perform a task that is normally off-limits but marked for override, a dialog is displayed so a manager or other user with higher privileges can log in. As soon as the task completes, the override user is automatically logged out.
When a user first logs in, the POS main screen is displayed. On the main POS screen are buttons providing access to common tasks for point-of-sale users. By clicking the Retail Pro button in the lower-right corner, users access a menu for navigating to other areas of the program.
Employee Check In
Prism includes a Time Clock feature. As employees (e.g., Associates and Cashiers) arrive, they log in to Prism, navigate to POS > Check In and create a check-in record. After checking in, it is time to open a cash drawer and ring up sales.
Open Cash Drawer
When using structured Z-Out reports (recommended), a cash drawer must be opened before transactions can be created. If using unstructured reports, a drawer is opened automatically after each close and there is no need to do a drawer opening.
Navigate to POS > X/Z-Out > Z-Out > Open Register.
Enter the open register information and click Finish.
To ring up sales and process returns, navigate to POS > New Transaction.
The Prism transaction form makes it easy to enter customer information, list the items being sold or returned and take payment. Prism makes things easy for users. For example, for item returns, Prism will automatically adjust fee and shipping amounts based on the item(s) being returned. Users can manually adjust the suggested amounts if needed.
Quick Customer at POS
A common task is to add a new customer to the database. New customers can be easily added to the database while a transaction is in progress. Click the Quick Customer button on the transaction form to display a form for capturing basic customer information (additional details can be added later).
View/Update Existing Customer Information
If a customer has moved, or changed phone numbers or email addresses, users can easily update the information by navigating to POS > Customers > Customer Lookup. The customer record has separate tabs for contact details, payment details and user-defined fields. Click Edit to edit the customer record and update contact info. On the Payment tab, users can check the customer's available store credit and loyalty point balances.
Shipping Information and Tracking Numbers
For orders or items that require shipping, the shipping info is entered directly on the transaction form. When the UPS driver arrives and takes orders to be shipped, the retailer uses Prism Transaction Lookup to update the transactions with Tracking Numbers.
If the store accepts cash, then from time-to-time it may be necessary to remove cash from the drawer and put it into a safe or other secure location. This can be done by navigating to POS > Disbursements > Cash Drop.
Prism makes it easy for employees to change their own passwords. The main Prism menu includes a "Change Password" button. (If employees forget their password, managers can reset the password in the employee's record.)
By default, promotions are applied automatically at POS, but managers can view a list of currently active promotions. Navigate to POS > Promotions and search for active promotions.
Run Z-Out Close Report
At the end of the day, close the cash drawer and reconcile sales totals. Navigate to POS > X/Z-Out > Z-Out. Click Audit/Close Register. On the Z-Out report, enter the amount of each currency in the drawer and match any non-currency items (e.g., gift certificates) with the physical copy.
The resulting Z-Out report can be viewed or printed by navigating to X/Z-Out > Z-Out Lookup.
When it is time to leave, navigate to POS > Check Out and create a Check-Out record.
The sales documents, Z-Out reports and other records created during the day at stores are replicated automatically to the "point of authority" (e.g., the HQ) based on the settings defined in Admin Console > Connection Manager. Individual resources (data types) can be selected or cleared. This enables fine-grained control of the flow of data throughout the enterprise.
Prism's Store Operations area includes modules for Merchandise (Inventory), Purchasing, Receiving, Transfers and Employees.
Users can view detailed information for items or styles. Navigate to Store Operations > Merchandise > Inventory. Search for the desired item and click the Item Details button or Style Details button as needed.
Order Restock of Merchandise from Vendor
Purchase orders are used to plan the order of merchandise from a vendor. Navigate to Store Operations > Merchandise > Purchasing > New Purchase Order.
Receive Merchandise into Inventory
When the ordered merchandise arrives from the vendor, create a voucher that references the purchase order (or generate the voucher from the PO). Navigate to Store Operations > Merchandise > Receiving > New Voucher.
Transfer Items to Other Stores
Instead of ordering a new shipment from a vendor, one store may have an excess and can transfer units to a store with a shortage. Navigate to Store Operations > Transfers > New Transfer Slip.
View/Edit Employee Information
The employee record can store information such as contact info, job title, max discount percentage and hire date. Navigate to Store Operations > Employees > Employee Management and search for the desired employee. Click Details to view the employee record.
Key Configuration Settings in Prism
The following table has information about some key configuration settings that need to be considered before starting to use Prism.
|Licensing||Contact your Retail Pro Business Partner for information about licensing.|
|Localization||Prism includes built-in UI translations for most of the world's leading languages, including: English, Spanish, Dutch, French, German, Chinese, Russian and Japanese. You can easily switch to a different language via the Retail Pro button in the lower right-hand corner. Select Language from the Prism menu.|
|Database and Network Protection||You should have secure servers, applied required virus protection, intruder detection, power backup and UPS systems. In addition, the servers should be in a secure physical environment.
Here are some best practices to follow for general database protection:
|Connections and Profiles||Before a Prism server can send data to another database, whether for initialization or day-to-day replication, it must have a connection to the server on which that peer database in installed. Define connections and profiles in the Admin Console > Connection Manager area.|
|Workstation Settings and Hardware||For those workstations that are connected to POS hardware like a printer, EFT device, line display, or cash drawer, you need to configure the hardware settings in the workstation record. Go to Admin Console > Node Preferences > Node Selection and drill down to the desired workstation.|
To run EFT transactions like credit card transactions in Prism, you must select the correct processing gateway in preferences. The preferred providers are:
Define EFT settings in Admin Console > Node Preferences > Transactions > EFT > General
|Custom HTML pages||Retailers often like to customize the Prism html designs to incorporate the retailer's coloring scheme, fonts, logos, etc. You can create customized versions of Prism html pages and, when placed in the correct folder, Prism will reference the custom html page instead of the default html page.|
|Grid Formats||In the Grid Formats area of preferences, you can customize the columns that are displayed (or available for display) when Prism shows a list of records. If you have certain columns that you want to be sure are displayed and visible on grids, you can edit the default settings.|
|Assign Document Designs to Documents||When a user prints a receipt or other document, the print engine by default uses the design assigned in preferences (the user can select a different design at run time). You can assign a specific document design to each document type. This ensures that receipts, vouchers and other documents always use the correct design when a Print operation is performed.|
|Customize Document Designs||Use DocumentDesigner.exe to create custom document designs. You can add a corporate logo or other information to the design. As part of planning the deployment, custom document designs may have been created, especially for documents such as receipts. You can launch DocumentDesigner.exe from the ...\Program Files (x86)\RetailPro\DocumentDesigner folder.|
|Merchandise and Customer Images||
There are two main types of images displayed in Prism: Merchandise and Customer.
|Tax requirements||Prism supports several tax methods, including standard sales tax, multi sales tax, VAT and multi-VAT. You can also configure various options depending on the selected tax method.|
|Tender Requirements||In the Tender Requirements area, you select which tenders are allowed when taking payment, giving change, or returns. You can also enable tender rounding.|
|Currencies and Exchange Rates||If foreign currencies are accepted, you can set up currencies and exchange rates between currencies.|
|Price Levels||Each Price Level represents a complete set of Inventory prices.|
|Discount settings||You can set a different Max Discount % for each item in Inventory. You can set a Max Discount % and Max Accumulated Discount % for individual employees. The Max Discount % applies to manual discounts. The Max Accumulated Discount % applies to all discounts on a transaction (manual discounts, promotions, etc.)|
|X/Z-Out Report options||Different retailers have different needs when it comes to daily sales reports. In Unstructured mode, users simply enter the closing total and the system reconciles the closing amount with the days sales totals. In Structured Mode, users must first open a cash drawer and count the money in it. At the end of the shift or day, the user must count the money and the system will reconcile the closing amount with the days sales totals. Other options, like requiring a "blind close" are also available.|
|Reasons||Reasons are short explanations for why a certain POS action is taking place. For example, when manually applying a discount, a user will be prompted to select a reason for the discount. When adjusting inventory quantities, users are prompted to select a reason for the adjustment.|
|User-defined fields||User-defined fields enable retailers to create their own fields to store data specific to their business or industry. If you have data types that don't fit neatly into any of the default fields including with Prism, create user-defined fields. UDF fields are available in Inventory, Vendors, Customers and Employees.|
|Item and Customer Lookup||You can look up items by a variety of fields. Typically, UPC is used to look up fields, but you can choose a different value, if desired (ALU, Description 1-2, Item No, Lot No, or Serial No).|
|Scheduled Tasks||If you have scheduled tasks that need to run, you can set them up in the Scheduler area of Tech Toolkit.|
|Password policies||You can configure various password-related settings in Prism, including requiring strong passwords and requiring users to change passwords after a certain number of days.|
|ALU and/or UPC Sequences||You can enable sequence numbering for ALUs and/or UPCs. When enabled, the next available sequential ALU or UPC will be used when a user adds a new item to Inventory.|
It is important to plan and configure the number sequences to be used by various documents. You can define a separate starting sequence number for each document type. You can define sequences at the Subsidiary level (sequence number is used by all stores in the subsidiary), Store level (sequence number is used by all workstations in the store), or Workstation Level (each workstation uses its own sequencing level).