Herschel is a powerful multi-user database which takes all your valuable manufacturing / distribution business information and puts it into one, secure, accessible place. It provides all the options you need to enter, search, enquire about and analyse your business data. It produces all the documents you need to run your enterprise, as well as hundreds of useful reports.
No. Herschel has been developed to look after your stock and production, helping you to get product out of the door on time, every time. Accounts packages are designed to help you look after your company’s finances, although they sometimes have clunky stock control bits added on.
Most of our customers run both Herschel and an accounts system (such as Sage 50). They simply let each package do what it does best. Also, because the software was designed with this arrangement in mind, it is easy to pass data from Herschel straight into your accounts package.
Yes – Herschel is loaded with modern material management techniques to help you control your stock. All stock movements are recorded by the system and anyone can immediately see the current stock levels of any item.
But – no matter what package you use you’ll need to make sure that your staff are disciplined enough to remember to update the system when they take stock from your stores. Luckily Herschel makes this as painless as possible. It’s fun to use! (Almost.)
Use our dedicated Buy module. Purchase orders can be quickly entered for both stock and non-stock items. Intuitive on-screen enquiries allow the status of an order to be seen in seconds. Herschel can print purchase orders, which can then be sent or emailed to your suppliers. Lots of reports can be printed to help track and analyse your orders.
When items are received Herschel raises a purchase receipt (goods received note). Each receipt is sequentially numbered and the items are automatically put into stock. Handy labels can be printed as well. Your purchasing will suddenly become a transparent process.
Even though it’s vitally important to know what you need to ship, many businesses don’t really have much idea which customer wants what and when.
Our Sell module will allow you to see exactly what has been ordered and whether it has been shipped. Meaningful enquiries show the status of any order instantly, and you can print various reports to help you get the goods out on time, every time.
When goods are shipped a despatch note is immediately created, along with address labels and a certificate of conformity, if required. An invoice for each despatch is also automatically generated (not at the end of the month when accounts get round to it).
Yes! Herschel can handle an unlimited number of currencies. Purchase and sales orders can be raised in any currency. A table of exchange rates is maintained by the system so it can painlessly convert all orders back to your usual “base” currency when producing summary reports.
You can quickly set up Herschel to work with any country as its base and choose whichever base currency you want to work in.
Note, however, that there’s only an English language version of Herschel available.
As each despatch note and purchase receipt is raised, its details are passed to the History module, which allows your staff to examine past sales and purchase records instantly.
For example, if a customer calls to raise an order and asks how much they paid last time, the information can be recalled with just a few clicks. No need to search the filing cabinets.
Herschel also records all purchase receipts and stock movements in a similar, easy to search format.
All history is held for ever.
To a certain extent every product is specialised. But most manufacturing consists of the following stages:
- There is a stock of raw materials and components that have already been bought or made.
- More raw materials and components are bought and put into stock.
- Items are taken from stock and processed in some way to make almost-finished products.
- The components you forgot to order eventually arrive, two weeks late.
- The now finished products are sent to your customers and you send them an invoice.
- If you’re lucky, they pay you when they said they would.
Herschel makes controlling all of these stages ridiculously easy – and has enough flexibility already built-in to cope with most scenarios.
We’ve incorporated 25 years’ of suggestions from businesses just like yours, to give you just the system you’ve been looking for!
No problem at all, the Store module can record quantities from 999,999,999 down to 0.000001, and costs from 9,999,999 down to 0.000001, so most products can be accommodated.
Herschel’s windows and reports use a cunning display method called “smart-formatting”. This shows only the number of decimal places needed to accurately portray a number and avoids cluttering up everything with unnecessary zeros. It makes things much clearer and easier to read.
Each of Herschel’s datafiles can hold up to 1,000,000,000 records.
Herschel uses clever techniques like “indexing” and “Rushmore” to find the data it needs, so there is little, if any, noticeable slowing down of the system as the number of records increases.
The system also has various “tune-up” options to keep it running like a rocket.
The advanced Assemblies module can handle products with up to fifteen layers of sub-assemblies.
Each layer can contain up to 9999 components.
That’s a lot of components.
Most companies spend ages working out what parts are needed and which works order requires which components.
Herschel will make this area of your business so much easier you’ll wonder why on earth you ever did it the old way.
When a works (manufacturing) order is raised in the Make module, Herschel looks in the Assemblies module and if an assembly for the product is found, a “kit” of components is created for the order. This kit can then be printed out and used by your stores staff to collect together the items required to make the order.
Or you can just flush components out of stock automatically. Or bulk issue them. It’s very, very flexible.
It is also simple to quickly trial kit an order. Herschel will analyse the kit and look up the available stock of each item. Any items that are short of stock can be identified at once.
Various trial kitting reports are also available – these can help you spot potential problem components early, before your staff walk in with an empty box.
Running from the cloud is great if you’ve got lots of users and they need access from lots of locations. After in-depth experimentation we decided not to make Herschel cloud based.
Our customers are small to medium sized businesses with up to around 30 users, all in one location, so hosting Herschel in-house makes more sense. Also, by making Herschel run locally, we can make it much, much. much faster and provide features (such as multiple live windows and automatic data refreshes) that are tricky, if not impossible to do online.
If you do have users who need to access Herschel from a remote location, its small footprint means it works perfectly with software such as GoToMyPC.
So you can get the best of both worlds!
Yes, as long as they’re running Windows XP or later.
You can run Herschel on a mix of Windows versions if you want – and most of our customers do.
Herschel works great on Windows 10, so future PCs won’t be a problem either.
It’s fair to say that if you don’t network Herschel then you’ll only scratch the surface of the amazing things it could do for your business.
If you have a network then your staff can use the system on a PC where they actually work. For example, your stores staff could enter details of receipts and despatches on their computer without having to come into the office. They can also do their own enquiries and print reports. Information gets onto the system much more quickly, and the faster you update the system the more accurate your data will be.
To use Windows networking (which comes free with Windows) you simply need to add some cheap network hardware and away you go. Herschel has its own built-in, multi-user database, so you won’t need to purchase any additional software like SQL server.
And you won’t need to have a dedicated fileserver until you want to run Herschel on say ten or more PCs.
Herschel produces several summary reports that are suitable for direct, keyless import into your accounts package:
- Details of all purchased goods received.
- Details of all despatches made to customers.
Remember that all purchasing, sales and manufacturing information is held in Herschel – so operating your accounts package is greatly simplified.
Of course not. We’re engineers, not accountants!
Herschel has no strictly defined month end procedures. And you can fiddle the dates of despatches and receipts if you need to.
You can also quickly make a copy of your Herschel data at the end of month, allowing your production staff to continue working normally, and letting your accounts department do their month end stuff whenever they like.
If you can get the data into a spreadsheet, with a little tinkering you’ll be able to import it straight into the various Herschel modules.
The data held in Herschel is in a flexible format that most spreadsheets and databases can open directly, which means you can have immediate access to your manufacturing information without messing about with any data conversion programmes.
There’s also an OLE DB driver available.
If you buy a copy of Crystal Reports you can create just about any report you can think of (complete with graphs and maps etc).
Herschel was developed with ISO9002 in mind. Implementing a computerised package like Herschel brings a structured, easily controlled method of working to your business. By simply using the available facilities of the various modules, your operations will become much closer to satisfying ISO9002.
Each Herschel user enters the system by typing in their user code and a password. The system manager can define which options they can access in each module.
Also some options will only show certain information to certain users. For example, the partumber enquiry option will not show the costs of an item to users with a low access level.
All changes to data made by a user are “date-stamped” and marked with their initials, so it is easy to see who did what and when.
There are two factors that will determine how quickly you can implement the various Herschel modules.
Firstly, the time your staff have free to learn how to use the system. The key to successful implementation is to let your staff explore Herschel and try things, before actually going live. The system can be set up with a training area for this purpose, if required.
Secondly, how much manufacturing data you already have available. You are not going to be able to use the more advanced facilities of the system if the information needed isn’t to hand. For example, the system can’t produce kits of parts for works orders if you haven’t entered any assemblies.
Typically a company will be using the basics of each module a couple of weeks after installation, but implementing all the features of the system can take several months.
Herschel was developed with the non-typist in mind.
Wherever possible the system will try to insert as much data for you as possible.
Various on-line searches are available. These speed up data entry in two ways. Firstly your staff don’t have to worry about remembering partnumbers or codes, as they can always quickly look them up. Secondly the searches allow the information required, once found, to be simply “pasted” into a data-entry screen by double-clicking.
The data-entry windows themselves resemble paper forms, in that they have specified areas for information to be entered.
The system also remembers all the important data typed by a user, such as last partnumber, last order number and so on. This is saved when the user leaves the system and when they next log in it magically reappears!
We can provide on-site consultancy and training if you feel it is required, see our shop for pricing details.
Remember Herschel has been designed to be easy to do it all yourself.
The vast majority of Herschel users have never had any formal training or consultancy – it really is that simple (and cheap) to implement the software.
Backup, at least once a day.
Over the years our customers have had a fire, a flood, several thefts, virus attacks, hard-disk failures, numerous power-cuts, and lots of “finger trouble”. In all cases where they had a backup of their data, we’ve got Herschel running again quickly.
We use www.crashplan.com – an automatic cloud-based system used by over 30,000 businesses to protect their data. They offer various options, from a basic service for free to all-encompassing paid solutions.
No, it’s not.
Use Herschel to run your business.
Let your competitors use Excel.