For this Tip of the Week we’ll stay with the theme of customizing JobTrac to the way we work. When we use JobTrac and for that matter IntelliBid in our daily work routine, we will generate RFI’s, Transmittal’s, Memo’s, CO Proposal’s and Bid Proposal’s from the Journal Messaging Center. For example, if we generate an RFI to another company, we know that we can customize the document by entering text and/or editing existing text in the template that is presented to us in JobTrac or IntelliBid. That’s easy enough. But did you know that we can create and customize our own templates to use in Journal Messaging that will suit the format and business venue that we wish to communicate with?

Staying in the Maintenance section click on the Communication selection in the left navigation bar. At the top of the screen there are six tabs each representing a different communications template. We can create as many custom templates as we need for each message type. What this allows us to do is set up stock messages for different situations. There is a basic template shipped with the software for each message communication. Each template is identified with a Template Name that includes the word ” Main “. Use these templates as a starting point for new templates. The RFI, Phone Memo, Memo Doc and Proposals look and act basically the same: they have headers and text areas where we can enter information just as we would for any email or letter that we compose.

Creating a new template is easy and is the same process for each communication tab. In this example we will create and customize the Bid Proposal template for Home Depot bids. We can create as many templates as we need. At the top left of the screen click on the Add button and give the new template a descriptive name.

ADD_Del_TemplateAdd – creates a new template based on the template of the current tab

Delete – removes the selected template

Restore – takes the original template format shipped with the software and replaces the selected template. For example, If you have inadvertently deleted all the templates in a tab, this will create a new default template for that tab.

The right side of the template is the layout area that we customize. The Headers 1 and 2 at the top of the template display the information about our company and job information. They can be populated with text or Data Fields located on the left side of the template. The Data Fields are a list of database variables that may be placed anywhere in our message. When the message is sent, the data fields are replaced with the current value from our database. This gives us the ability to place information from the database based on the job into any message we send.

Note: The Data Fields; Company Address, Company Contact, Company Name, Company Phone, and Contact Date are specific to the two headers. We cannot add those Data Fields to any other parts of the template. JobTrac will let us know that. The balance of the Data Fields can be added to any part of the template including Headers 1 and 2.

The rest of the input boxes can be used for any verbiage that we would like to add to customize this template. To further customize the template and give it a more professional look is to insert the Data Fields from the left side. To add a Data Field, place the blinking cursor in the Template section where we want the data field to appear. Then double-click the left mouse button on a particular Data Field that we want to insert at the blinking cursor.

When a Data Field is inserted into the Template, the variable is identified by the curly brackets { }. In this example below, the Data Field { Latest Drawing Revision Date } will appear after the text ” latest revision date ” in the Opening paragraph. We can insert Data Fields anywhere in the body of the template to help convey the message we want to deliver.

Communication

Drop-down menus such as the Pricing Format menu above can be pre-selected to display the format we want to see. Check boxes such as the Include Prices box shown above can also be pre-selected for a total customization of the template. If we look at the Transmittal template it has many check boxes that we can pre-select to make that template easier and quicker to use.

Below is a final example of what the Home Depot Bid Proposal template looks like when it’s ready to be sent via email or to the printer. Notice below that the Latest Revision Date is populated with the date of 16-MAR-12 and the Item Rollup Report is selected as well as the Include Prices check box.

Bid_Proposal

Note: templates that are created and modified in JobTrac will be available for use in IntelliBid. JobTrac and IntelliBid share the same database thus, what we do with the templates in one program will effect the other.

 

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