The Purchase Order (PO) process is vital to business success. The lack of a proper, efficient, and accurate purchase ordering process can lead to difficulties in managing and timely disbursal of POs, unnecessary errors, and wastage of time & resource hours. On the other hand, an efficient Purchase Order Processing system helps organizations meet their process requirements with few resources, no errors, and without unwanted delays.
Most organizations are looking to reduce their supply chain costs in the present scenario. Organizations with large operations create thousands of purchase orders annually. Each of these purchase orders leads to extra expenses for the organization. With automation, organizations can cut significant PO processing expenses, which can be re-routed to other business growth areas. Before moving any further into this topic, let us take deep dive into the Purchase Order Process.
What is Purchase Order Process?
A Purchase Order (PO) is an official business document sent by an organization to its external supplier/s (vendor/s) confirming the intention to buy certain goods or services. The document contains all information about the purchase. After the supplier approves the purchase order, it becomes a legal document binding the organization and the supplier. PO process is an essential part of the procurement lifecycle. The process commences whenever a department/individual raises a request for material, and the approver approves the order. The vital elements in the Purchase Order Process workflow are mentioned below:
At first glance, the purchase order process might seem simple and linear. However, organizations can add many steps into the mix, based on the scale of operations. When done manually, the process can be hard to manage, cause unnecessary delays, be prone to errors, and require substantial manual efforts. Therefore, automating the PO process is imperative for organizations to run successful operations.
Manual vs. Automated Purchase Orders Processing
A manual Purchase Order Process involves the conventional ways of using emails and spreadsheets, which is a long, time-consuming, and error-prone process. Some of the drawbacks of manual purchase order processing are:
- Slow order processing, as all the data is entered and validated manually.
- Manual verification of all the records takes a longer time.
- Human intervention at different stages of processing makes the process error-prone.
- Employee dependency at the workplace.
On the contrary, automating the PO process can help cut down on delays in procurement and the costs associated with it. Some of its discernable benefits are as follows:
- The system can indicate whenever the inventory reaches a lower level and automatically generate procurement requests.
- Reduced dependency on employees and chances of manual errors.
- Enhanced efficiency in PO management, with no lost or delayed Pos.
- The entire process becomes faster and more efficient.
- Prevents fraud during the Purchase Order Processing, as the digital system cross-verifies invoices and requests against the original purchase orders generated.
Automating the Purchase Order process ensures transparency in the system and data accuracy. Thus, it helps in building better relationships between buyers and vendors.
Processes that can be Automated
The purchase order process includes many steps leading up to each other. Some of the steps can be automated, while others can’t. Typical stages of a purchase order process flow that organizations can automate include:
- Purchase Orders Creation based on existing inventories
- Inviting Quotations from multiple vendors
- Identifying the most suitable vendors
- Sending the finalized POs for approval
- Raising an invoice for payment processing after the order is received
- Refiling the inventories in the system
- Closure of the purchase order process
Why Automate Purchase Order Processing on SharePoint Online?
An automated Purchase Order Processing System delivers various benefits to organizations, including faster PO processing, enhanced supplier relationships, cost savings, and liberating internal staff from mundane tasks. As a very flexible platform, SharePoint enables organizations to build automated systems to streamline and enhance their business processes. SharePoint allows seamless integration with existing line of business (LOB) applications. Consequently, organizations already leveraging SharePoint as their Intranet, Document, and Content Management solution can build an automated SharePoint-based Purchase Order Processing System to deliver a familiar system for users and maximize technology ROI. Following such a route, organizations can avoid the high costs associated with purchasing a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) product. Other benefits of automating purchase order processing on SharePoint online include:
- Data Repository: Most of the data required to build a robust Purchase Order Processing System might already be available in SharePoint. Data from other systems can be easily integrated with the platform. Additionally, users can submit their orders through various channels (phone, email, web, SharePoint, and Microsoft 365), which can further be assigned to the appropriate departments for fulfillment.
- Customization: SharePoint is a highly customizable platform. Organizations leveraging SharePoint can quickly build a purchase order system and customize it according to their business requirements. Users can create purchase request forms, assign administrative roles, set up multi-level approval flow, and classify purchase orders based on departments, vendors, location, type, cost, etc.
- Seamless Communication: With many features and capabilities, SharePoint ensures seamless communication and collaboration among different departments. Whenever a user raises a purchase request through the SharePoint-based Purchase Order Processing System, employees of the concerned department get notified. Similarly, the order requestee gets notified whenever the order is ready.
- Interactive Dashboard: SharePoint dashboards enable organizations to view all pertinent data related to the PO process. Decision-makers can view the history of purchase requests per department, the percentage of approvals and denials, and track the status of orders. SharePoint dashboards make it simpler to view and work with data from several sources by showcasing the data in a visually appealing format that is easy to interpret.
- Integration with External Systems: SharePoint can be easily integrated with third-party systems and LOB applications used by different departments such as admin, finance, accounts, and IT infrastructure.
Build Purchase Order Processing System on SharePoint with QuickApps?
QuickApps is an innovative ‘No-code’ solution with a set of pre-built templates and 21 powerful web apps that help business users to rapidly automate business processes on SharePoint and Microsoft 365. Leveraging QuickApps, organizations can seamlessly build a robust automated Purchase Order Processing System on SharePoint without any coding and save up to 80% of development time. Business users can leverage the below web parts to create a Purchase Order Processing System:
- qListView: Combines data from multiple lists over multiple sites and site collections.
- qChartView: Creates 3D graphs and charts with data from databases.
- qCalendarView: Organizes all schedules into one view, including data from non-SharePoint calendar lists.
- qSIChartView: Summarizes data with interactive 3-D charts.
- qMediaView: Arranges pictures, videos, and audio files from different sites, site collections, and web applications into a centralized list, slide show, or gallery.
- qSIListForm: Enables users to create, read, and edit external data in a form.
- qDiscussionView: Shows the topic and responses of multiple discussion lists in a single tree view and previews selected items in a preview panel.
- qDynamicLayout: Displays multiple web apps on a page efficiently using tabs to maximize screen real estate.
Talk to your experts today to get started with Purchase Order Processing System development on SharePoint. Procurement professionals can quickly process purchase orders, monitor transactions, minimize financial risk, and control cash flow by automating the PO process.
Associate Director – Product Development
Amit Gupta plays a key role in incubating and establishing best SharePoint practices at AgreeYa. He is closely associated with the Product Development and Delivery team and works to find new solutions based on Microsoft technology and optimize performance and responsiveness for our clients. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org