This weekend we are releasing Version 2.9. Let’s get into it!
Add a Model
One of the most requested features we’ve been asked for over the past few years is the ability to add a model without having to rescan your original document. Before v2.9 we had enabled this functionality for spec packages created from the search page, and now we’re enabling it for all spec packages. From the spec package edit page:
Model numbers that are added in this manner can only be removed from the package by using the “Remove models” button.
You cannot add a brand new model number that is not already in the database using this function.
We strongly suggest you use this function sparingly, as your original document should continue to be treated as the master document that defines your order. Also note that this feature can be enabled or disabled for your entire company.
Images and Additional Resources
We’ve been working directly with manufacturers to acquire images and additional resources (such as energy guides, manuals, CAD files, etc.). We now display these items on the spec package public hub page when they are available for a given model:
You can view which resources are attached to your package by visiting the spec package hub page. Resources lock in whenever you rescan/refresh your spec package and increase its version number.
We are actively to working with more manufacturers to get more images and resources loaded into the database, so please bear with us as we get this feature off the ground.
Coming up in v2.10
We’ll have one more major release before the end of this year… Stay tuned!
Steel Cod has grown tremendously since we launched two years ago, and we’re now ready for the next step. This weekend we are launching Steel Cod 2.0 – a set of features and improvements based on your incredible feedback over the past nine months.
Our aim while working on this release is to preserve all the features you love about Steel Cod – ease of use, clarity and responsiveness – while building a solid base for the future.
Planned partial outage May 24-25
We will be taking an extended planned partial outage during this upgrade. Starting at9pm ET on Friday, May 24th and lasting approximately 15 hours, the web site will be in read-only mode. All your existing spec packages will be downloadable and all the model specs will be searchable, but you will not be able to save your spec packages to the database. Email and scanning functionality will be completely offline. Any documents sent to the Specs inbox during the outage will be processed once version 2.0 is online.
We’ve decided to do this upgrade during Memorial Day weekend because Steel Cod usage is usually lightest over long holiday weekends. So we’re releasing 2.0 this weekend to have as little impact on you as possible.
Most of the new features for salespeople are designed to make spec packages faster to create, easier to share, and more flexible to modify. Note that these are the features scheduled to be released and may be modified before the deployment of 2.0.
New home page
Search for spec package based on title, file name or document number
New tab for specs uploaded by user
User can deactivate and remove uploaded spec
New tab to review recent messages sent through Steel Cod
“Recent Scans” menu item renamed -> “Spec Packages”
Optimized for large organizations, resulting in faster load times for everyone
Added search feature to find spec packages across the company
Displays a longer recent history – three months instead of three weeks
Navigation redesigned to no longer bounce between tabs
Search results can now be saved as spec packages
These spec packages are treated just as if they had been emailed or scanned into the system
Spec package features
Title and subtitle are new fields based on your current cover page settings
These fields are now editable without having to rescan the original document
Version number is now “x.y” format, where x is a major version and y is a minor revision
The major version number changes when you add a spec, rescan the document, etc.
The minor revision number changes when you change the title, exclude a document, etc.
The version number is now printed on the second cover page.
Improvements to detecting when a spec sheet is out-of-date and alerting the user that a newer spec is available
Public hub page
Every spec package now has a public hub page that provides links to the spec package, salesperson info, company logo, and other valuable info
Emails are no longer simple text format
Messages sent to customers / partners / tradespeople now include your company logo
New features for Advanced Users
Most of the new features built for Advanced Users are intended to increase security and move the administration of Steel Cod of to a self-serve model which will require less intervention from Steel Cod administrators to correct issues or mistakes.
Advanced users can now manage other users
Can update most user details
Can deactivate/reactivate existing users
Can promote other users to Advanced User
Advanced Users will be notified whenever a new user registers at the company
For companies with multiple locations, only Advanced Users in the new user’s location will be notified.
If there are no Advanced Users in the new user’s location, all Advanced Users will be notified.
Advanced Users can reset the registration link used by new users to register.
If you believe your registration link has been compromised, you can reset the link on the “Manage” tab.
Resetting the registration link invalidates any older registration links for your company.
Reporting an issue
We’ve spent many months building and testing these new features, but if you see anything you think we may have missed please email us at email@example.com and we’ll look into it as soon as we can.
Premium Spec Packages are like normal spec packages, with the added ability to include product images, recently scanned documents (such as invoices and quotes) and supplemental product documents (such as user manuals, energy guides, and warranties) when available.
PSPs also allow users to group products by room, manufacturer or category, and add project- and model-specific notes for the package’s intended audience.
PSPs are not intended to replace the current functionality of full and slim spec packages; instead, they are designed to give salespeople extra control over their content when the need arises.
Because PSPs can potentially include time-sensitive information, PSPs will automatically expire after a given amount of time. The expiration date is displayed to the salesperson when the PSP is created.
As mentioned above, PSPs are not intended to replace normal spec packages. From the time the PSP is published to the time it automatically expires, it will be displayed on the spec package’s public page alongside the full and slim spec packages.
How do I upload my quote or invoice and create a PSP?
After uploading your document, click on the “Create premium spec package” button at the bottom of the spec package details. This button will bring you to the Premium Spec Package Editor. See video below:
How do I email my quote or invoice and create a PSP?
When you receive the response email from Steel Cod with the resulting full spec package, click on the button “Create Premium Package”. This button will bring you to the Premium Spec Package Editor. (If a premium spec package is already published, the button will read “Update Premium Package”.)
How do I create a PSP from the Spec Package Edit Page?
Select “Create premium specs” from the Edit menu. This button will bring you to the Premium Spec Package Editor. (If a premium spec package is already published, the button will read “Edit premium specs”.)
How do I create and rearrange groups / rooms?
New groups (or rooms) can be added by using the “Add group” button. Group names can be edited by clicking on the edit icon to the right of the group name. Groups can be rearranged by dragging and dropping. See video below:
How do I add models to the groups / rooms?
Models that already exist in the spec package can be added to a group either by clicking on the menu icon next to the group heading in the Models column, or by dragging and dropping from the Available models column. See video below:
Can I save my PSP without publishing it?
Yes, you can! Simply click on the “Save as draft” button at the bottom of the page you can resume working on your PSP at a later time.
How do I resume working on a saved PSP?
When you open the Premium Spec Package Editor for a specific spec package, you will be prompted to load the draft version (if available) or load the current version (if published).
Can I delete a PSP?
Yes. When you open the Premium Spec Package Editor for a specific spec package, you will be asked if you want to delete the current version (if published).
How do I choose which documents to include?
Once you’ve selected your groups and models, you can choose to base your PSP on full specs or slim specs (or no specs, if you’re building a picture book). You can then choose which specifications and other supplemental documents you want to include by checking them on or off on the right hand side of the page. See video below:
How do I include images?
Be sure to include “Images” under the Images and dividers section on the left column of the Content page. You can then select the images available from the Steel Cod product image library.
How do I include the original quote or invoice?
If you uploaded or emailed your original quote or invoice to create your spec package, that original document can be included in the premium spec package. It will continue to be included until the PSP expires or is deleted. It is not automatically updated in your PSP if you re-scan or re-send it.
How do I add and save notes?
Be sure to click on the “Include notes” checkbox on the left column, and then add notes to each model on the right column. If you want to re-use your note for future use, click on the “Save” checkbox immediately below the note. See video below:
What are different layouts are available for the divider pages?
You can choose one of three layouts for each divider page:
Each model gets its own row
Two columns, two rows per page
Three columns, two rows per page
How do I change the divider page layout?
On the Step 2: Content tab, use the dropdown menu under the group/room name:
How do I annotate the spec package?
You can highlight, mark-up, underline and more from the Review step. NOTE: you will need to hit the “Save” button inside the editor before moving on.
How do add my own pictures?
From the second step, “Content,” click the add images button to upload your image. Please note, images are single use only and will only be included in your current spec package.
Can I rearrange pictures for a specific model?
Yes! You can have multiple images for one model (when using the “List” layout) and re-order them be dragging them around. Hover over the pic your want to move, click and hold the left mouse button, and drop it where you would like!
This Saturday, March 20th we are launching Steel Cod Enterprise Version 2.10. Let’s get into it!
Reorder model numbers
One of the most-requested features in the past few months is the ability to reorder the models in your spec packages. Now you can! When you add a new model from the spec package edit page, you’ll be able to select where it should go in the model list. You’ll also be able to sort the models at any time using the “Edit -> Rearrange models” menu option or the “Rearrange models” button at the bottom of the model list.
You may rearrange the models of any spec package, whether it came from an email, the upload page, the search page or the API. However, if the original document is resubmitted the order will revert to whatever the order is in the document. Remember, the document is always the boss!
Spec package bookmarks
We’ve implemented a new feature for those of you who primarily view your spec packages on your computer instead of printing them out. The model numbers in the table of contents within the spec package PDF file are now clickable! If you click on the model number, it will bring you to the first spec for that model. Very cool!
New company roles
We’re trying to reduce “email fatigue” and limit the number of emails our users receive. To help in that effort, administrators can now delegate other registered users as Company Representatives or Leads Coordinators. Company Reps will receive emails about special events or communications that are not necessarily applicable to all Steel Cod users. Company Reps can then disseminate that information throughout their organization as they best see fit. Leads Coordinators will receive any potential leads in your area that are submitted through the SteelCod.com “Contact Us” form.
Our appliance categories have become a bit out-of-control: some are very broad (“Oven”) and others are very specific (“Combo Plasma Flex Oven with Hypermolecule Control”, which is a great description, but not a great category). We’re taking steps to work with our partnered manufacturers to find a nice balance, so you may see some changes to your spec packages as we overhaul our taxonomy.
Looking ahead to Version 2.11
Getting Version 2.10 out the door took a bit longer than we planned because we spent a lot of time with the launch of the new SteelCod.com and moving the Enterprise site to its new home. In addition to what you see above, there are some changes we’ve made to Version 2.10 which you won’t see but help us keep SC Enterprise running smoothly.
Version 2.11 is going to be a whopper and should arrive sometime in the early summer. It will offer some functions that have been asked about for a very, very long time. Exciting times around here!
We’ve got exciting news: we’re splitting up… but in a good way!
Starting on Sunday, January 31st, the Steel Cod site that launched four years ago to serve the needs of independent appliance retailers is now officially called Steel Cod Enterprise. All existing links to spec packages and public hub pages still work, so there’s no need for you to update those bookmarks or send out new URLs. Just be aware that all that traffic will now be automatically redirected to enterprise.steelcod.com, our new home for Steel Cod Enterprise going forward.
Moving into the old web space is our new Steel Cod site, home of all the exciting content we’ve produced over the past few months for our Steel Cod Expert Series. This site is organized by manufacturer and features all the video content created by the best network of top-notch appliance experts in the biz (that’s you!). The new Steel Cod also lists the models associated with the feature that’s spotlighted in each video, which is pretty neat-o if we do say so ourselves!
The aim of the new steelcod.com is to serve not only as a resource for our appliance salespeople but also to inform the general public about the latest features and product lines available.
So to review, here’s a quick snapshot of what’s happening:
Do I have to update my bookmarks? You can, but you don’t have to. We’re automatically redirecting all the traffic that would’ve gone to the old site to the new Steel Cod Enterprise.
Do I send my quotes and specs to a different email address? Nope, keep sending our documents to the same email address you’ve always used.
Do I need to re-register on the new site? No, your current login credentials will work just fine on the new Steel Cod Enterprise site.
What else has changed in Steel Cod Enterprise? Honestly, not that much! We’ve updated our graphics to use our snappy new logo, and we’ve updated our links to use the new enterprise.steelcod.com web address. We are, however, already working on the next major batch of updates for Version 2.10, which will be released later this spring.
The new Steel Cod website is so cool! Can I participate in the Steel Cod Expert Series? Absolutely! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to go over the details with you.
When is this “split” taking place? If you’re reading this on or after Sunday, January 31st, then it’s already happened!
This past weekend we released a new version of SteelCod.com (aka “Steel Cod Enterprise”): Version 2.8. This is the eighth major update since we introduced Version 2.0 back in May 2019. The last two updates have been designed to support administrative functions and build the groundwork to accommodate our long-term plans (more on that in a future post!).
But this update has a number of new features that are focused on you, the salesperson! Let’s get started…
Ask a Salesperson
We’ve placed a new button on the public-facing spec package page that allows any person visiting the page to ask a question of the salesperson. See the annotated screenshot below:
Clicking that button will bring the user to the “Ask a Question” form:
The form asks for the user’s name, email address, and the question they are asking. They also have to prove they are not a robot by clicking on the “I’m not a robot” checkbox. Once all those fields are filled out and the form is submitted, an email is sent to the salesperson’s email address.
NOTE: as you can see, the form does not validate the person’s identity or email address. Keep this in mind when responding to questions and comments submitted through this form.
As a salesperson there will be several ways you’ll know you have a new question:
You’ll receive an email with the question. That email will include a button back to the spec package.
An alert will appear at the top of the spec package’s edit page.
The question will be listed on the new “Questions” tab on your personalized home page after you log in.
Once a question is received, it’s up to the salesperson to decide how best to respond. Right now you can’t respond through Steel Cod, but you can mark the question as read so you can track when you responded.
The URL for the “Ask a Question” form is the URL of your spec package public page + ‘/Ask‘. Example:
We’re very excited about this new feature and hope that it will help facilitate communication between you and your customers! If you have any questions or suggestions on how to improve it, we’d love to hear from you at email@example.com. You can also choose to opt out of this feature on a company-wide basis.
Model Number Formatting
Another feature that should jump out at you right away when using Version 2.8 is that we now have model number formatting! Check out the results when we upload a new quote:
Are those spaces and lowercase letters I see? (Yes, they are!) We’ll also honor dashes, slashes and other similar non-alphanumeric characters.
We can have this functionality because more and more manufacturers are giving us their models numbers directly in their native formats, so we’re now going to honor those formats that they give us. If a manufacturer hasn’t provided a format, then we’ll fall back to the format provided in your scanned document or search list.
You’ll see new model number formatting in places like the upload page, the search page, and within the spec package PDFs themselves in the table of contents.
Public Spec Package API
For those companies looking to further integrate with Steel Cod but are not quite ready for the full API, we’ve added a new public API method directly on SteelCod.com that returns a data-only representation of a single spec package.
Developers can use this method to integrate existing spec package information into your POS or ERP systems.
The URL for the method is the URL of your spec package public page + ‘/Json‘. Example:
We’re still finalizing the structure of the JSON object that’s returned, so we consider this release to be a BETA version as we may change or remove some elements on the next version. We will have some documentation around the returned data object at that time, but in the meantime you’re invited to start poking around at it.
Looking ahead to v2.9
The next major release for SteelCod.com is currently scheduled for the end of October / beginning of November, and includes even more features that we hope will make generating, editing and sharing your spec packages even easier.
The latest iteration of Steel Cod contains many updates that aren’t seen by end users but are necessary for us to have more flexibility in delivering future solutions.
However, there are a number of small quality-of-life updates you will see, such as an improved upload experience. The component that we use to upload files was no longer supported by its authors, so we needed to replace it. We think you’ll love the cleaner interface that we’ve built!
You’re probably also asking yourself: “Wait, was there a Steel Cod 2.4?” There was! We launched some new functionality around the customization of cover pages but we wanted to keep it under wraps while we kicked the tires on it. Good news: consider the tires officially “kicked”! If you’re interested in having custom cover pages based on salesperson, location, format or intake method (search, scan, email, API), let us know and we’ll set up a meeting to discuss next steps!
An important component of this upgrade is our “One User, One Account” policy has been officially added to our Terms of Service. You should check it out.
Hope everyone is doing well. Please let us know if you have any questions or feedback at help[at]steelcod.com .
Today we’re releasing Steel Cod 2.3, which will now give you the ability to receive automated daily updates via email about the spec packages you’ve already created. If we’ve recently updated an existing spec or added a new spec that was missing, you’ll be notified every day at 12pm noon (ET).
All users are enrolled in this feature to receive the email Monday through Friday. If you would like to change the days you receive this email (or to opt out), please log into Steel Cod and go to update your preferences under the “Automatic updates email” section.
Along with some assorted bug fixes and performance enhancements, we’re also including a few more changes in this release:
Full spec packages now use the Table of Contents formatting as the slim spec packages
Support for models/specs across different regions
Users can now delete spec packages via the spec package edit page
We are excited to roll out a new feature: “Slim Specs”!
What are Slim Specs?
A package with only the first (or first and second) page per each model number’s spec sheet. Not every customer, especially when only in the quoting phase, needs the dimensions, diagrams, and cut-outs. They only need the picture and information presented on the first page. For these customers, a “Slim Spec” package is preferred.