Struggling with tracking purchase orders?
Growing companies often struggle with the increased volume of purchase orders and without a central place, it is a nightmare to track what is being delivered and what is still open from the vendor.
With an order tracking process, you can see results like this:
Without a central place to track purchase orders, you are constantly in your inbox trying to figure out the status of the orders.
And when the volume increases, so do the email volume and back and forth with different stakeholders.
The best approach is to implement a purchase order tracking system but if you are just getting started, you can start using a spreadsheet for order tracking too.
In this article we are going to cover:
This tracker is a Google Spreadsheet.
There are two ways to use this tracker.
All the fields for tracking the purchase orders are under the Data tab.
Here is an overview of the fields:
Purchase order #:
This is the purchase order number that you have assigned to the purchase order. it might be tempting to make this number complex based on what is ordered, who ordered it.
We recommend keeping this as a simple sequential number so that it is easy to track.
This is the date when the order was created and issued to the vendor.
This is the name of the contact person who is placing the order. Let’s say if you are creating orders on behalf of other users, you want to keep a track of who is ordering products or services.
Name of the supplier to whom the purchase order is being issued.
The final amount of the order. If you have shipping and taxes on each order, then you have two options.
Ship to location:
This is the delivery address of the product or service. In case of a drop ship, enter the final destination.
This is to track the lifecycle of the purchase order. A purchase order could have the following status:
Issued: When the order is first issued to the vendor, it would have the status as “Issued”.
Acknowledged: The order moves to the Acknowledged status when the vendor acknowledges that they have received the purchase order and it has been accepted.
ASN Provided: ASN (Advance Shipping notice) is a notification from the vendor that the requested product has been shipped. The vendor provides the Shipping information so that you can track order delivery.
Partially Delivered: If the order is not fully delivered then it should be in the partially delivered status. This could happen in cases where the product is back-ordered.
Delivered: When the order is fully delivered, the status should change to deliver.
Closed: When the order is fully delivered and invoiced.
This field helps to easily track what has been delivered and for where you need to follow up with the vendor.
The values could be Not Started, On the way, and Completed
Any specific comments from the vendor regarding this purchase order.
A flag to track if the purchase order has been changed since it was issued to the vendor.
In case the order is changed, then this field can be used to track what has changed since the order was issued.
The order tracking sheet also has a summary dashboard to give you an overview of the order status at a glance.
Here is how it looks:
There are four graphs but you can always add more to customize the way you want to track and report the order status.
Purchase order by supplier:
This graph shows the count of the purchase orders by vendors. For example, Dell has 3 purchase orders.
This is the overall delivery status of the purchase order. This graph helps you to quickly track what has been delivered and what is not.
Purchase order status:
This graph shows the overall status of the purchase orders. For example how many are acknowledged or how many PO’s are just issued but not acknowledged by the vendor.
Amount by supplier:
This graph summarizes the total amount or Spend with each vendor. This graph is helpful to understand your total Spend across different suppliers.
After you have reviewed the tracker, you might realize that you need additional fields to track information about your orders.
For example, if you need to configure the product before it is delivered to a customer, then that would probably need additional information like the final ship date.
Some customers like to track information like required date and promise date so that they can track whether the vendor is delivering as per the promise date or not.
This can help track delivery performance over time.
These are just examples, but feel free to make a copy of the purchase order template and then customize it per your needs.
It is great that you have a tracker now for maintaining the information about the purchase orders.
But who is going to maintain it?
And that is why many teams fail to make effective use of purchase order tracker spreadsheets.
If you let everyone update the sheet then it is going to be a mess!
So here is what we recommend:
If you have a purchasing department, then the ownership should sit with the purchasing department.
Otherwise, Have someone from the operations team manage the tracker for you.
Clients who have moved to a central purchase order tracking process see an immediate impact in the following areas:
Get started today. If you haven’t already don’t that, click on the link below to download the template.