What if you could free up an hour or two of your workday? What could you get accomplished within that time? It’s not as impossible as you may think to create free time…if you start eliminating time-consuming manual processes. You may be thinking this is easier said than done but manual, redundant processes are one of the biggest time-consumers of any wholesale and distribution business - not only do they take employees away from doing work that matters, but manual processes are often unreliable and prone to human error. So why not invest the time to improve these processes?
Many of our customers use Blue Link inventory and accounting software to automate tedious, manual tasks. A big time-saver in Blue Link is the ability for businesses to simplify and automate purchase orders from beginning to end. If you only deal with a couple of POs every few weeks, it may not be a big deal to manually manage them, however, think about where your business will be in the next couple years. Are you expecting an increase in sales? You may eventually need to manage multiple purchase orders on a daily basis as sale volume increases. POs can quickly become urgent, complex and manual entry errors can arise…which means additional costs for your business.
As you may know, POs are essentially documents sent from a buyer to a supplier with a request for an order. The type of item, the quantity and agreed upon price are stated in the purchase order – the more specific and detailed it is, the more effective the purchase order will be. Your business as the buyer will issue POs and in return, your suppliers will fulfill the order by shipping the product to you and send you an invoice for the product ordered. However, the process may not be as straightforward for every case. There are many instances where the supplier will change the pricing, quantity, and negotiation of specific items. What happens to the PO then?
Take a look at the following Blue Link inventory and accounting software customer scenario:
Company Profile: A medium-sized wholesale distribution company experiencing fast growth. The company’s POs typically contain hundreds of items and it creates about five POs on a daily basis.
Challenge: The company does not know the exact quantity of items the supplier will ship and the prices are subject to change since the products being ordered are commodities. This means that the POs need to be modified and edited at the last minute and fairly quickly. Currently, the company’s process involves creating the PO, sending it to the supplier and then receiving back a spreadsheet of items and prices that the supplier has on-hand to ship. The company then uses this spreadsheet to manually check/change items and pricing one by one on the PO in its inventory system to ensure the prices and quantities match. This process costs employees hours of time since there are hundreds of lines to go through and the changes are not always entered correctly as manual processes are prone to human error.
Solution: With Blue Link inventory and accounting software, this process is automated with the use of simple Excel spreadsheets. First, the buyer exports the original PO into an Excel template. Then, when the supplier sends the updated spreadsheet with new pricing and quantity information, the buyer can quickly modify the PO in Excel and update the information in seconds using Excel functions such as VLOOKUP. The buyer then uploads this new updated Excel PO into Blue Link where it automatically modifies the PO information in the system.
That’s not all – Blue link not only streamlines changes to POs, but it simplifies the PO process from the very beginning.
If there is not enough inventory in stock to fulfill a specific order, Blue Link allows users to quickly create a purchase order right from the sales screen. Users can quickly look up and select inventory information to email POs directly to suppliers. Within the inventory screen, users can view supplier order history to see what was ordered previously and what the agreed upon cost was for items as well as when and where to expect the delivery. The system’s parameters also enable users to automatically populate default or preferred vendors per item (they can also quickly see all possible vendors available per item).Users can set up re-order levels for stock items in Blue Link. When items reach a certain level, the system will notify the appropriate person to replenish the item by creating a PO. Employees can then review the PO to ensure that the order information and applicable pricing are correct before sending to the supplier.
Purchasing in Multiple Currencies
Setting default currencies for suppliers who operate in a different currency ensures that any PO/transaction which a user performs in the system will be converted to the company’s home currency without any additional manual calculations or entries. Users can create a purchase order in the suppliers’ currency, and once the product is received, the system will record the transaction in the appropriate currencies (i.e. payable in the supplier’s currency with a foreign exchange difference and the inventory or expense in the home currency). This eliminates the manual process of having to remember to convert pricing for inventory or factor in exchange rates when posting the transaction.
Transformational Purchase Orders
Blue Link inventory and accounting software is able to manage more complicated POs such as transformational purchase orders where one or more existing inventory items are transformed, through the use of a third-party supplier/vendor, into one or more different items. For example, an apparel business may issue a PO to a third-party supplier to add logos, graphics, embroidery, or other design elements that change the original piece of inventory. When using transformational purchase orders, the transformed items have the cost of both the original root product(s) as well as the incremental processing costs of the 3rd party supplier which is then accounted for in Blue Link. The same applies in multi-step transformations where multiple 3rd party vendors are involved.