• Introducing Mac Buy Back

    Today we're excited to announce that you can now sell your old Apple devices back to Stone for recycling.  We've built into the portal a new buy back tool that will allow you to calculate what your devices are worth and make arrangements for them to be sent back to us.

    To use the buy back tool, head over to the portal. (You'll need to sign in, even if you're set up to use IP based access.)

    If you don't have an account, you can request one from the account sign in page, or by speaking to your account manager.

    Once signed in, go to portal.stonegroup.co.uk/buyback

    Here, you'll need to choose your device - we currently accept:
    • iMac
    • MacBook
    • MacBook Air
    • MacBook Pro
    • iPad
    • Mac Mini
    • Mac Pro

    Once you've chosen your device, select the configuration from the drop down options. Once all options have been made, we'll let you know how much your device is worth.

    Your device doesn't need to be in perfect working order - we accept all grades of equipment. When selecting the grade of your device, please be as realistic as you can - all devices are inspected on arrival and any devices that don't match the selected grade will be reassessed by our technicians.

    You can use the buy back tool for up to three different devices at a time, if you have more than this, you'll need to repeat the process. If you have a large number of devices that you want us to buy back, please contact your account manager.

    An explanation of the grades can be found here.

  • Apple Roadmap Webinar – Thursday 24th November @ 10am

    Following the recent developments and changes in Apple’s range, and in anticipation of more to come, we’re hosting a webinar on Apple’s roadmap, in order to help our customer’s better understand and plan for what’s to come.

    The webinar will cover:

    • The latest changes in Apple tech
    • What’s out and what’s in for 2017
    • How to effectively plan your roadmap for Apple technology in your institution

    The webinar will take place on Thursday November 24th 2016 at 10am, and will be delivered by Matt Giles, Apple Product Manager.

    Register here to attend the webinar.

  • The Stone Guide To Punchout

    We have been working flat out to enable PunchOut and cXML support on the portal and we're pleased to announce that both are now supported.

    Currently, we support PunchOut and cXML ordering from Science Warehouse, and will be adding more providers over the coming weeks.

    In order to use PunchOut , we will need to set it up on your account and activate Punchout with your catalogue provider.

    Setting up PunchOut

    To get started, you can either register for PunchOut with us, or contact your catalogue provider directly and request PunchOut support.

    Once we have received the request from you (or your catalogue provider) we will make the technical changes to enable PunchOut .

    This usually takes 3-7 working days. Once this is complete, you will be asked to complete user testing to ensure that all the necessary data is passed to your account.

    Once the testing is complete and everyone is happy that the right data is being sent, PunchOut will be made live and ready for use.

    In total, this process can take 2-4 weeks, depending on what, if any, changes need to be made.

    How does PunchOut Work?

    PunchOut allows you to securely access the Stone portal from your procurement software, without the need to enter a username and password.

    Once authenticated, you can browse the portal as you would normally, configure products, choose accessories and warranties and add your chosen products to your basket.

    Ordering using punchout

    Once you have built your order, instead of proceeding to checkout, you will need to click the "Order by PunchOut" button to transfer the order back to your catalogue provider/procurement software as a quote.

    Once you are ready to place your order, generate a purchase order within your procurement system. This purchase order will then be sent to us in the cXML format.

    The portal will receive this file electronically and convert it to an order. We will send email confirmation of the order.

    Shortly, we will also be issuing invoices electronically, directly into your procurement system using cXML standards.

  • Generating Quotes On The New Stone Portal

    Our latest update to the portal brings a brand new way to generate and manage quotes.

    The update in September added the ability to save your quote as a PDF, but it removed the ability to save a quote for later, edit it, or convert it to an order. If you generated multiple quotes by editing your basket, you probably noticed that the quote reference number didn't change.

    This caused headaches for everyone, so we've reworked quotes from the ground up.

    Generating Quotes

    You can now generate quotes in two ways; when you're looking at a product, you'll see there are two buttons: "Add To Basket" and "Add To Quote".

    2 ways to generate quotes

    Option 1: Configure your product and click the add to basket button. Continue to add products to your basket, and when you've finished, proceed to the basket page as normal. You'll now see an option to convert your basket to a quote. Clicking this link will empty your basket and generate a new quote.

    Option 2: Configure your product and click the "Add to Quote" button. Do this to as many products as required. When you're done, click the quote link at the top of the page to view your quote.

    Whichever way you choose to create your quote, once you are viewing it, you will be asked for an email address, the billing address and shipping details.

    Generate Quotes

    If you have already signed in to your account, these fields will be pre-populated. If you're not signed in, or you don't have an account, you'll need to enter the email address for your procurement team.

    Once you've entered your details, click the submit quote request button. Your quote will be saved and linked to the account of the email address that you entered. Each quote now has its own unique reference number.

    Within a few minutes you should receive an email containing a PDF version of the quote, and the Stone terms & conditions. In the body of the email will be a link that you can click to accept the quote and place the order.

    To retrieve a quote at a later date, you'll need to sign into your account using the email address associated with the quote.

    Once logged in, click on the "My Account" links at the top of the page, and from the "My Account" dashboard, click the "My Quotes" link on the left hand side.

    Here you will see a list of all your quotes, their status, and links to re-download the PDF.

    Converting a Quote to an Order

    To convert a saved quote to an order, log in to your account, click on the 'My Quotes' link on the left hand side and then click into the quote you want to convert.

    When the quote has loaded, you'll see a 'Confirm & Checkout' button at the bottom of the page. Click this and the items will be added to your basket and you will be able to checkout as normal.

    Generating Quotes Using Punchout

    Due to the way that users are signed into Punchout accounts, it is not possible to generate and save a quote on the Stone portal. Instead, you should build your basket as normal, then transfer your basket back to your e-catalogue provider.

    You should then be able to store it as a quote within your e-catalogue provider's site/your procurement software. Whenever you are ready to convert this quote to an order, you would simply convert it to a PO and send us the order in the usual way.

  • Connecting to a MacBook using USB-C

    Apple's latest update to the MacBook introduced some significant changes to the way that peripherals, chargers and accessories connect to the device. Gone is the much-loved MagSafe charging port, along with just about every other port you would expect to find on a laptop.

    In order to reduce the size and weight, Apple have removed the ethernet port, USB ports, Firewire, Thunderbolt and DVI/Mini DVI ports, replacing them all with a single USB-C port.

    At first glance, you might think that this will restrict how you use your MacBook, but all is not lost - Apple have introduced a range of adapters that will allow you to continue to connect other devices to your MacBook.

    Connecting to an External Display

    USB-C Digital AV Multiport AdapterThe USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter is Apple's solution to the problem it created by having only one port. It allows you to connect your MacBook to an external display, connect additional accessories, such as hard drives, USB drives etc, and charge your MacBook all at the same time.

    If you need to connect to older equipment that doesn't have HDMI, you'll need to invest in the USB-C VGA Multiport adapter. This is essentially the same as the adapter above, but with a VGA port instead of HDMI.

    Connecting to your iPhone or iPad

    USB-C Digital AV Multiport AdapterIf you have an iPhone and want to charge it, or you want to tether it to your MacBook, you'll need to either invest in either a USB-C to Lightning Cable or a USB-C to USB Adapter - unless you're using one of the adapters above, in which case your standard lightning cable will work just fine.

    The biggest limitation here is that you won't be able to charge your MacBook and your phone at the same time.

    Connecting to USB Devices

    If you only need to plug in USB devices, then the USB-C to USB Adapter is what you'll need. The down side is you'll only get one USB port, and if you need to charge your laptop at the same time, you're out of luck.

  • New iPads Now Available

    Following on from Wednesday's Apple event, the refreshed range of Apple iPad's are now available to order through the portal.

    Last week's keynote event saw Apple quietly discontinue all 16GB and 64GB models of the iPad mini 2, iPad mini 4 and iPad Air 2 and introducing 32GB and 128GB models.

    The new iPad range is as follows:

    • iPad mini 2 (Wifi/Wifi & Cellular) - 32GB
    • iPad mini 4 (Wifi/Wifi & Cellular) - 32GB, 128GB
    • iPad Air 2 (Wifi/Wifi & Cellular) - 32GB, 128GB
    • iPad Pro 9.7" (Wifi/Wifi & Cellular) - 32GB, 128GB, 256GB
    • iPad Pro 12.9" (Wifi) - 32GB, 128GB, 256GB
    • iPad Pro 12.9" (Wifi & Cellular) - 128GB, 256GB

    For full details, please visit the iPad pages of the portal

  • Apple September Update

    Apple's latest round of product updates were unveiled on Wednesday evening, and as well as the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, changes have also been made to the iPad line up.

    We are still waiting for confirmation from Apple on pricing and availability of these new products and hope to have these available on the portal within the next few days.

    The one change that we can confirm is that all 16GB and 64GB iPads are now end of life and are no longer available. If you have an outstanding order for one of these products, please contact your account manager who will be able to advise you on alternatives.

    We will be posting an update here as soon as pricing is confirmed.

  • September Updates to the Portal

    Over recent weeks, we've been working hard behind the scenes to improve the speed and reliability of the portal.

    Despite our extensive testing, the portal has suffered a number of problems and outages since it relaunched on the 1st September.

    What did we change?

    The bulk of the changes in the update related to the way that the portal integrated with our back-end systems. To increase the performance of the site and simplify the process of adding users and products, we had to deploy a completely new way to integrate the portal into our systems.

    As a result of these changes, all orders are now completely automated. Previously, once your order was placed on the portal, our sales team had to manually process the order. This caused extra delays and extended the lead times. Orders are now in the system within 5 minutes of you placing your order.

    We also changed the way that prices are fed into the portal. The way that prices are updated is still quite complex and we discovered a number of bugs when we relaunched that meant the wrong prices were being displayed. These final few bugs have now been fixed and all pricing on the portal is correct.

    What happened to quotes and permissions?

    A side effect of changing the way that the two systems integrate meant that a few features had to be temporarily removed. Quotes are now stored as a PDF and are not currently retrievable. The feedback that we had on the original version of the portal said that most people would prefer to get the quote as a PDF, rather than be able to store it, so that's what we implemented first. We will be adding extra functionality to quotes over the next few weeks and will post an update here when the updates are available.

    The way that user permissions are handled have changed too. We will need to make a small change to your account in order for you to set up different levels of access for your users. The new functionality will give you much more control over how your institution can use the portal - a separate guide to these changes will be made available shortly. To request user roles for your institution, please email andy.simpson@stonegroup.co.uk.

    What else is changing?

    We are committed to making the portal as easy to use as possible and to provide you with all the features that you need to make purchasing  life easier. In the coming weeks we will be adding support for Punchout, EDI using cXML, Level 3 purchasing cards and much more.

    We will also be launching a dedicated staff & student portal where you will be able to make personal purchases at exclusively discounted prices.

    We are extremely grateful for your patience over the last few weeks while we've been making these updates. If you have any questions on the portal, future plans or feedback, please drop an email to andy.simpson@stonegroup.co.uk.

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