StoreTracer User Manual

StoreTracer 3.0 Manual


1. Setting up StoreTracer     2. The Setup menu commands    
3. The booking chart 4. Starting a new contract
5. Modifying contracts 6. Adding charges and payments
7. Printing and e-mailing invoices 8. Backing up your data files
9. Reminders 10. Networking StoreTracer
11. The WebLink module 12. Revenue report
13. E-mailing customers 14. Selling stock to walk-in customers
15. 1st/2nd month discount 16. Miscellaneous outgoings
17. Employees 18. Automatic rollovers
19. Quotations 20. Maintenance
21. Blocking customers 22. Integration with Sentinel Access Control

1. Setting up StoreTracer

When you run StoreTracer for the first time the program will lead you through the setup process. If you don’t have all the information at hand you can quit the program and start again where you left off later. If you make a mistake you can fix it later by selecting the appropriate item from the Setup menu.

1.1 Date format
StoreTracer allows you to choose dd/mm/yy or mm/dd/yy.

1.2 Company details
The company details will be printed on statements, etc. The only required field is the name of the company.

1.3 Taxes
You can enter up to 2 taxes which apply to your business. Select the number of taxes and enter the name of each tax and the percentage or daily rate. If your prices include taxes, check the box (this only applies to percentage tax rates).

1.4 Type of billing cycle
StoreTracer supports the following types of billing cycle:

1.4.1 Based on 28 day cycle with storage fees based on 28 day months and billing due in advance at the start of the storage period and every 28 days after that.

1.4.2 Based on calendar months, with billing in advance at the start of the storage period and on the same day of the month every calendar month after that.

1.4.3 Based on calendar months, with billing in advance at the start of the rental period for the first part month plus the first whole month, with billing on the first of every month after that. You may also choose whether part months at the start of the storage period (in the case of 1.3.3 only) and the end of the storage period are charged pro rata or as full months.

If you offer months free at the start of the rental, select the free months and the minimum storage period to qualify.

1.5 Types of storage unit
You will probably have different types of storage unit, eg 5 x 5, 10 x 10. If you only have one type of storage unit you could call it “standard”. You should enter the description and the monthly rate for each type of unit. If you require a security bond, enter the amount, which will be charged automatically to storage contracts.

1.6 Units
You must identify your storage units by a name or number (eg one, two, three, etc, or 001, 002, 003, etc) and select the type of unit. The field for location is optional. We recommend that rather than use 1,2,3 … 11,12,13, … 101,102,103 etc you use 001, 002, 003 etc.

1.7 E-mail configuration
You need to configure you e-mail if you intend to send e-mails or SMS messages. You can leave this until later if you wish. The port number defaults to 25, you should not need to change this.

1.8 Networking
Finally you will be asked if you intend to run StoreTracer on several computers on a network. If you answer No and decide to network StoreTracer at a later date, select Networking from the Setup menu.

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2. The Setup menu commands

2.1 Account holders
If some of you bookings are paid by companies with accounts, you can add account holders by selecting Add account holder from the Account holders submenu. You can also edit the details of account holders and remove account holders. You will not be allowed to remove an account holder with current bookings or unpaid accounts.

2.2 Billing cycle
Allows you to change the type of billing cycle that applies to your business.

2.3 Booking chart
You can set up the booking chart so that contracts are labelled either by the contract number or the customer’s last name.

Overdue contracts are shown in a different colour from current contracts which are not overdue. You can specify that this colour differentiation is only used when contracts are overdue by a certain period.

2.4 Company details
This allows you to edit the company contact details. After you have registered the software you will not be able to change the company name.

2.5 Configure e-mail
You need to configure your e-mail if you intend to send e-mails or SMS messages. The port number defaults to 25, you should not need to change this.

2.6 Date format
Allows you to change the date format from dd/mm/yy to mm/dd/yy or vice versa.

2.7 Default times
When you start a contract the times for the start and the end of the contract default to 9:00 am and 5:00 pm respectively. You may change these defaults using this function.

2.8 Export reports
You can export most of the StoreTracer reports in csv (comma separated variables) format so they can be opened in Excel. Check the box to enable this option, and when reports are displayed a file named report.csv will be created and placed in the My Documents folder.

2.9 Extra charges
StoreTracer allows you to set up extra charges in addition to the regular storage fee. The charges may be a percentage rate, a monthly rate, or a one time payment. Percentage charges are applied to the storage fee only (eg credit card surcharge). Monthly charges are those that will be charged every month (like the storage fee), for example an extra charge for insurance. One time payments might include a charge for pickup or delivery, and sundry items such as padlocks. You can sell these items to walk-in customers as well as storage customers. You can also use one time payments for giving discounts.

2.10 Modify rates
Use this command to change all your rates by a percentage. You may choose to increase or decrease rates. You may apply the changes to storage rates and extra charges.

You will also be given the option of applying a surcharge equivalent to the rate increase to existing contracts. If you accept this option you will be asked to select the date that the changes become effective.

2.11 Networking
Use this command to select whether StoreTracer is to be run on more that one computer on a network.

2.12 Password
Here you can set up a password to protect the Setup menu commands so that an unauthorized employee cannot change the setup. Select Setup password from the submenu and enter the password then re-enter it to confirm. If you forget your password please contact GrenSoft so we can tell you how to get a new one.

You can also prevent unauthorized people from running StoreTracer by checking “Password is required to start StoreTracer”. After you have checked this box you will have to enter the Setup password to start StoreTracer (or an employee password if you have set up employees).

You can also set up the password by clicking on the key icon on the toolbar. After the password has been set up you can lock or unlock the Setup menu by clicking on the key and entering the password.

2.13 Print options
This submenu allows you to specify (a) how many copies of invoices, etc will be printed by default, (b) whether you will be printing documents on your own headed paper and (c) whether you wish to print your company logo. The logo must be a 24 bit BMP file named logo.bmp and must reside in the StoreTracer folder (C:\StoreTracer). The height should not be more than 320 pixels otherwise it may interfere with the rest of the printing.

You can also specify the text (terms and conditions) that will appear on printed contracts, and statements and invoices.

2.14 Remove old data
After some time the StoreTracer data files might become big enough to slow down the program. You can discard old data using this command.

2.15 Revenue report
This option defines the way revenue is calculated.

2.16 SMS messaging
StoreTracer allows you to send SMS text messages to clients. First you must open an account with an SMS gateway provider using email to SMS. The gateway accepts SMS text messages which are sent by email, and will then distribute the messages to the appropriate cell phone numbers.

StoreTracer is set up to interface with Connection Software, whose Web site address is http://www.csoft.co.uk, messagemedia, whose Web site address is http://www.message-media.com.au, Clickatell, whose Web site address is http://www.clickatell.com, eTXT with Web site address http://telecom.co.nz/eTXT and WEBTEXT.COM (http://www.webtext.com). We have chosen these gateways because they have comprehensive coverage at a reasonable price (typically US$0.15 per message). Note that if you send the same message to multiple cell phones, you will be charged for each message. GrenSoft is not affiliated with the gateway providers in any way, and provides no warranty in respect of their service. You do not require the gateway provider’s free software to send text messages via StoreTracer.

After you have set up an account, you should enable SMS text messaging by selecting SMS text messaging from the Setup menu. Select the SMS gateway provider from the list. If required, enter your user name, PIN number or API product ID, and password, which you should have received from the gateway provider. If required, enter the phone number international prefix for your country. For example if you are in the UK, enter 44. If the cell phone numbers that you have entered in the StoreTracer database have a leading zero (such as in the UK) you should check the box to remove leading zeros unless the gateway is eTXT.

When you send an SMS message, StoreTracer will send an email to the SMS gateway so you must configure your e-mail before sending messages. It will not work with Web based email.

2.17 Storage units
Use this command to edit the storage units which you have set up.

2.18 Taxes
Use this command to edit the taxes which apply to your operation.

2.19 Types of storage unit
Use this command to edit the types of storage unit which you have set up.

2.20 WebLink
Use this command to set up the WebLink module which allows customers to check the availability of storage units online and make a reservation.

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3. The booking chart

To display the booking chart select Diary from the Contracts menu or click on the Chart icon on the toolbar or press the F4 key. Enter the month and year that you wish to display, which defaults to the current month.

The chart will show the storage units (rows) and days of the month (columns).

The units (on the left) are shown in yellow if they are empty, red if they are currently occupied, mauve if the are currently occupied with a late departure and pink if they are currently occupied and in arrears.

Bookings will be shown on the chart in green, items on site in red (unless they are overdue when they will be shown in mauve, or in arrears when they will be shown in pink) and completed bookings in grey if the account has been paid in full or orange if payment is required. Move the mouse over a storage unit (yellow rectangle) to show the details of the unit and over a booking to show a summary of the booking. Click on the booking to show and edit the details.

To change the chart to display the next month select Next month from the Contracts menu or click on the right pointing blue arrow on the toolbar or press the F5 key. To display the previous month select Previous month from the Contracts menu or click on the left pointing blue arrow on the toolbar or press the F3 key.

To increase or reduce the zoom level of the display select Zoom from the View menu or click on the A icon on the toolbar.

To clear the display select Clear screen from the View menu.

You can identify bookings on the booking chart using the contract number (a unique number allocated to each contract) or the last name of the customer. The default is the contract number. Select Booking chart labelling from the View menu to change the way bookings are identified.

You can sort the storage units on the chart in different ways by selecting Sort storage units from the View menu.

When you scroll down the booking chart the dates will not be visible. You can make the dates static so they are always visible by selecting Static dates (chart) from the View menu.

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4. Starting a new contract

To make a booking, select New contract from the Contracts menu or click on the calendar icon on the toolbar or press the F2 key. You will be asked if the booking is for an existing customer. If it is, identify the customer.

Enter the details of the booking – the required fields are the last name of the customer and at least one phone number (for identification). You must also select the number of storage units required, and the start and end dates and times of the booking. Alternatively you may wish to specify an open ended booking where the end date is not known. If the booking is for a walk-in customer and the stored items are already on site check the appropriate box. If the cost of the booking is being charged to an account holder, select the account.

You may attach a photograph to the contract by clicking on the Photograph button. Click on Add image and identify the image file. Click on Save image to attach the photograph.

You may wish to attach documents to the contract (eg correspondence with the customer). Click on the Document button then click on the Attach document button and identify the document file. You may open documents by double clicking on the document from the list or selecting the document and clicking on the Open document button. You may also e-mail a document to the customer as an attachment.

When you are satisfied that the booking details are correct, click on OK. Then select the types of storage unit required for the number of units specified.

The next step is to select the appropriate storage units from the chart. Available units of the selected type will be shown in green, available units of a different type in yellow and unavailable units in red. Click on an appropriate row on the chart. The booking will be shown in green.

The next screen will show the monthly rate for the storage and total cost of the storage (which will not be calculable if the booking is open ended). If the customer is tax exempt, clear the appropriate tax boxes. If the customer is entitled to a discount, enter the appropriate percentage or change the daily rate or the total. Click on OK.

The next screen will show charges and payments for the booking. Here you can enter any additional charges. After you have entered all the relevant charges, click on the button to add a payment. The dialog box will show the payment due for the initial payment (which may be zero if you have free months). Then you can print a confirmation letter, send a confirmation email and print a statement.

You can also start a contract by clicking on the appropriate vacant unit and date on the booking chart. This will not work if the customer requires more than one storage unit.

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5. Modifying contracts

To modify a contract, display the contract details screen by:

  • displaying the booking chart for the appropriate month and clicking on the contract, or
  • selecting Find contract from the Contracts menu or clicking on the first binoculars icon on the toolbar or pressing the F6 key then entering the first few characters of the customer’s last name, the last 4 digits of any of the customer’s phone numbers or the contract number, and selecting the contract from the list.
You may now edit the details of the contract.

You may also display the contract currently in a unit by clicking on the unit number.

If you want to change a future booking to a current storage, change the status to In storage. If the booking was a current storage and you want to complete it, change the status to Complete. You will not be able to complete an open ended contract, you must select the end date and time so that the cost can be calculated.

If you want to cancel a booking, click on the Delete button. Confirm that you wish to delete the booking. Then you will be asked if you wish to cancel any payments already made. If you answer Yes, you will be taken to the charges and payments screen where you can remove the payments. If you forget to remove the payments you can do so later by selecting Charges and payments from the Accounts menu. Select show all bookings and enter the booking number.

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6. Adding charges and payments to contracts

To add a charge or accept a payment for a contract search for the contract as shown in 5 above. On the contract details screen check the box Go to charges and payments and click on Continue (or Save if you have made any changes). This box will automatically be checked if the contract’s status has changed to Complete or any changes have been made that affect the storage fee. Alternatively you can select Charges & payments from the Accounts menu or click on the credit card icon on the toolbar or press the F7 key then select the contract as described in 5.

On the charges and payments screen you can add, remove and edit charges and payments. You will not be allowed to remove the storage fee. When a contract is complete you would normally enter the final payment (if any) in this screen. You can also print statements for contracts by clicking on the appropriate button.

When a contract is complete you have the option to refund any security bonds.

With respect to adding payments, if you have printed one or more invoices for the contract the payment amount will default to the last invoice amount.

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7. Printing and e-mailing invoices for contracts

7.1 Completed contracts
StoreTracer allows you to print and e-mail invoices for all completed contracts which have an outstanding balance. Select For all accounts due from the completed contracts submenu of the Accounts menu or press the F8 key. The program will prompt you with the number of invoices to be e-mailed or printed.

You can also print and e-mail invoices for a specific account holder by selecting For an account holder or for a single contract by selecting For a single account due from the completed contracts submenu of the Accounts menu.

You may also print and email invoices for completed contracts by clicking on the contract on the booking chart then going to Charges & payments.

7.2 Current contracts
You can print and e-mail ongoing monthly invoices for all current contracts by selecting For all accounts due from the current contracts submenu of the Accounts menu. If payments are due on the first of each month, select the appropriate month. Otherwise select the period for the due dates which will be included. If you billing cycle is based on 28 day months the maximum period will be 28 days, and if it is based on calendar months the maximum period will be one calendar month.

Invoices will be printed for all contracts where a payment falls due during the period you have specified. You might wish to print invoices on a monthly or weekly basis. The program remembers the period you have specified, and when you come to print invoices the next time it starts a new period based on the end date and the duration of the previous one (to avoid duplication).

The program remembers the amount of each invoice, so that when you go to Charges & payments for a contract and add a payment the payment amount defaults to the invoice amount. Therefore it is useful to generate invoices before receiving payments.

You can also print and e-mail invoices for a specific account holder or for an individual contract by selecting the appropriate item from the submenu.

If the contract is not open ended you can print or email an invoice for a specific month of the contract by clicking on the Invoice button under charges on the Charges & payments screen.

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8. Backing up your data files

StoreTracer allows you to back up your data files so that you will not lose your data in the event of a problem such as hard disk failure. Select Back up data files from the File menu and identify the folder where you would like the files to be copied. We recommend that you back up your data to a flash memory drive at the end of business each day.

DO NOT back up the files if you think there may be a problem with them, you might overwrite good files.

To restore the data, first reinstall StoreTracer if necessary. Then copy all the files from the backup and paste them into the StoreTracer folder (usually C:\StoreTracer). Alternatively you can run the program Restore.exe which you will find in your StoreTracer folder and select the folder containing the backup files.

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9. Reminders

StoreTracer allows you to set up reminders to prompt you to perform specified tasks. To set up a reminder select Add reminder from the Reminders menu, click on the light bulb icon on the toolbar or press the F10 key. Select the date and time for the reminder. If the reminder is to be repeated at regular intervals, make sure the box is checked and select the number of days or weeks.

You can also edit or remove reminders from the Reminders menu.

If reminders are not set up to be repeated they will be automatically removed from the system when the date has passed.

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10. Networking StoreTracer

StoreTracer is network ready. If you wish to run StoreTracer on a network, follow the following steps:

  1. Run the StoreTracer installation program on your server. Make the StoreTracer folder a shared folder and be sure to check the box to allow other users to change files.
  2. Run the StoreTracer installation program on each of your workstations (this will register some files with the Windows registry).
  3. Modify the StoreTracer shortcut on each of your workstation desktops, so that the target is the StoreTracer.exe file on your server and the “Start in” folder is the shared StoreTracer folder on your server. An alternative to this is to delete the desktop shortcut. Then open the shared folder on the server from the workstation, right drag (holding the right mouse button down) the StoreTracer.exe file onto the desktop on the workstation and select Create Shortcut Here.
  4. Make sure that you have specified that the program will be run on a network by selecting Networking from the Setup menu.
Please note that if you change the StoreTracer setup on any of your computers you must restart StoreTracer on the other computers for the changes to take effect.

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11. The WebLink module

The WebLink module allows customers to check the availability of storage units online and make a reservation.

Your Web site should show the types of storage units which you offer for rental, together with the rental rates. You should link the existing pages to the reservations page which is uploaded by StoreTracer using the WebLink. The name of the file which starts the reservations process is step_1.php.

To set up the WebLink, select WebLink from the Setup menu. The required fields are:

  • Web site address: this would be of the form www.yoursite.com.

  • Name of PHP file to link to: you should link to the file step_1.php.

  • Path to PHP file on server: this is the directory where the php file will reside on your server. The directory where HTML files normally reside varies from server to server. It could be, for example, httpdocs. You can also place the php files in a subfolder (eg httpdocs/php).

  • FTP user ID: your user ID for ftp transfer.

  • FTP password: your password for ftp transfer.

  • Company email address: this is the email address to which online reservations are sent.

You may also change the appearance of the php generated Web pages by clicking on the Web page options button. Here you can change the font, the text colour, the page background colour and the table background colour. If these options are not flexible enough and you are familiar with HTML and PHP you can edit the php files which are uploaded by StoreTracer. These are step_1.php, step_2.php, step_3.php and step_4.php.

To enable the ftp transfer check the Enable connection box.

If you check the box to automatically upload files, the WebLink files will be uploaded each time there is a significant change to your storage contracts. Alternatively you can connect manually by selecting Upload WebLink files from the File menu, clicking on the two computers icon on the toolbar or pressing Ctrl + U.

Each time StoreTracer connects to the Internet, any reservations made online are downloaded. You can convert these online reservations into bookings by selecting Reservation from WebLink from the Contracts menu. You will also be notified of the reservations by email.

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12. Revenue report

The revenue report (Reports menu, Accounts, Revenue) breaks down the revenue for a specified period according to the type of charge and shows the appropriate taxes.

By default the report shows monthly charges due for the period of the report based on the number of days in the period of the report and the monthy fee. However this may not be accurate if part months are charged in full or of the first month is free.

You may choose to base the monthly charges on the date the contract ends (Setup menu -> Revenue report). Note that storage charges and other monthly charges are excluded for open ended contracts if you choose this option.

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13. E-mailing customers

StoreTracer allows you to e-mail customers (select the E-mail customers submenu from the Contracts menu). You may e-mail customers (a) with late departures, (b) with current contracts and in arrears and (c) with completed contracts requiring payment.

The program allows you to edit the e-mail text but you should not change the text in tags as this will be replaced with the appropriate information from the database.

Customers without e-mail addresses will be ignored.

You may also export e-mail addresses by selecting Export e-mail addresses from the Contracts menu. Choose whether you wish to export all e-mail addresses or only those for current contracts, and select the range of customer names. The names and addresses will be saved in your Documents folder as a file called email.csv, from where you can import them into your email program.

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14. Selling stock to walk-in customers

If you have set up extras which are one-time payments (such as padlocks) you can sell these items to walk-in customers by selecting Sell to walk-in customer from the Walk-in sales submenu of the Contracts menu, clicking on the shopping trolley on the toolbar, or pressing the F12 key.

To cancel such a sale, select Cancel sale from the Walk-in sales submenu and enter the appropriate sale number. To edit a sale, select Edit sale.

You can manage stock by selecting Manage merchandise from the Extra charges submenu of the Setup menu. There is also a report on merchandise showing quantities and reorder details.

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15. 1st/2nd month discount

If you offer a discount for the first month or two, you can set it up by going to the Setup menu -> Extra charges -> Add extra charge. Enter a negative amount in the one time payment field (do not check the box to always apply the charge).

When you a start a new contract and go to Charges & payments you can add the discount as an extra charge and change the amount to the appropriate value.

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16. Miscellaneous outgoings

You can keep track of miscellaneous expenses by selecting Miscellaneous outgoings from the Accounts menu.

There are summary and detailed reports on miscellaneous outgoings (Reports menu -> Accounts ->Outgoings) and any outgoings will be included in the payments summary report.

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17. Employees

If you set up employees you can track which employee has made changes to contracts.

To add employees, remove employees and edit the employee passwords click on the Employees submenu of the Setup menu.

After you have set up employees, the user will have to enter his or her employee password (or in the case of the administrator, the Setup password) in order to make changes to contracts.

For reports on tracking employees, select Employee tracking from the Reports menu.

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18. Automatic rollovers

You can set up StoreTracer so that it automatically extends contracts which are overdue. Select Rollovers from the Setup menu and choose the extension period (one week, one month or to the current date) and the number of days the contract must be overdue for it to be rolled over.

After you have set up this option, each time you start the program it will search for ovedue contracts and automatically extend them. Open ended contracts will not be affected.

To disable the option, select “never” for the rollover.

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19. Quotations

To create a quotation select New quotation from the Quotations menu, press the F10 key, or click on the Q icon on the toolbar. If the quotation is for an existing customer identify the customer. Enter the details for the quotation as you would for a contract. When you are taken to the charges and payments screen you can add any charges that apply, and print or email the quotation.

To find an existing quotation, select Find quotation from the Quotations menu or click on the second binoculars icon on the toolbar. Identify the quotation as you would a contract. You can then edit the quotation and go to charges and payments to edit charges and print or email the quotation.

To convert a quotation into a contract booking, select Convert quotation from the Quotations menu or click on the Q -> C icon on the toolbar. Identify the quotation. Edit the details of the booking if necessary and select the unit(s) required.

There is a report on current quotations where the quotation is open ended or the end date has not passed (Reports menu -> Quotations).

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20. Maintenance

If a unit is unavailable for a period of time due to maintenance or some other reason, you can block the unit by selecting Add maintenanace from the Storage units submenu of the Setup menu. Select the unit and the maintenance period. You will not be able to add maintenance if the unit has bookings during the period.

To remove a period of maintenance, select Cancel maintenance from the Storage units submenu of the Setup menu. Select the unit and the start date for the maintenance period you wish to remove.

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21. Blocking customers

If a you wish to block a customer from accessing his storage unit you can flag the contract as blocked by bringing up the contract screen and checking the Block access box. You may wish to do this if the customer is delinquent with payments.

After you have blocked a customer, when you run the report on contracts on site the contract will be shown in red.

Obviously this only applies to contracts on site.

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22. Integration with Sentinel Access Control

StoreTracer will integrate with Sentinel Access Control Systems. To enable this integration, select Sentinel from the Setup menu. Check the box to enable the integration and ensure that the folder for the Sentinel software and the version are correct.

When Sentinel is enabled there will be a field on the contract screen for the Sentinel pass code (minimum of 4 digits). This field will be visible only then the contract is in storage (shown in red on the booking chart).

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