Procurement module automates the entire procurement process, including an internal request for products/services, approval and publication of an electronic request for proposals (RFP), submission of proposals by suppliers, automatic or manual selection of the best offer, automatic creation of the order, order approval and automatic sendout to supplier, quality control and inventory entry.
The suppliers have access to their own easy-to-use console where they can review their RFPs, Proposals, placed Orders, attached documents, etc. They are informed by e-mail of each step in the process referring to them, e.g. when an RFP is published, their Proposal is either rejected, or an Order is placed.
These two parts are completely separated. It is not possible for suppliers to access the employees’ sub modules and vice versa.
Image below displays the view of the procurement module visible by employees/users. Partners, Items , Documents and Procurement administration modules are available on the main menu. Available modules are transparently added to the user interface so that all ERP modules are accessible via the left main menu.
Common search operations
Search mode unlocks the form input fields so the user can enter search criteria. Wildcard characters, such as ‘*’ and ‘_’, are allowed in text boxes. Some fields require that you select from the available drop-down list or click the magnifying glass icon to lookup the available values in the system.
Search can be triggered via the Search button, or by pressing Enter. Results are shown in an overlay panel beneath the Search button.
Furthermore, user can choose to filter data via standardized filters on result table. Wildcards are not allowed here. Sort is enabled only on some business object attributes. Search example on partners screen is given above (search criteria: [name = An*, country = Croatia]).
Common add/edit operations
Add mode is visually similar to the search mode, all the input fields are enabled and ready for user input. Fields that are marked with bolded labels are required fields, while others can be left blank. Lookup elements are selected in the same manner as in search mode via the magnifying glass icon.
For final save user has to press the Save button . If for some reason save operation is not allowed, user will be notified with system-generated message which appears in upper right corner. Example is shown below.
Below is an example of adding a new partner into the database:
Notice that additional information can be found/entered on the tabbed area below the main form. Among other things, it is common to enter a mailing address for persons or business entities. In the address section of the form, you are able to input the exact geographic coordinates of the location, which is then used by the system to insert a Google map view of the nearby area.
Note: The easiest way to find the exact coordinates is via Google Maps. Enter the address in Google Maps search bar and wait until it loads it. Then right click on the location icon and select “What's here?” option. Longitude and latitude will instantly appear on Google Maps search bar which can be copy-pasted to the application.
Partner sub module is used for administering business partners. These functions are typically performed by the Procurement Administrator, and after the initial data entry, seldom change. Recommended best practices suggest that all administration functions should be done centrally, by a single person/department.
As indicated on the left menu, partners can be loaded in two different modes: search and new. The way it was described previously.
Note: Standard application modes throughout all screens are: search, view, edit, add new. View mode disables all input fields and the user is only allowed to view business objects. In search mode, the fields are enabled and allow the user to enter search criteria. In edit and add modes fields are enabled and allow the user to entered new values or change existing values.
View Partner Information
Complete Partner information is divided in several tabs. The top section shows key identifiers for a business entity, while additional details are located on tabs at the bottom of screen.
Initially, when you add a new partner to the database, you are only required to enter the country where the business is located. When editing an existing partner record, you may add other contact information, such as phone, fax, email, website, etc. New contact can be added by pressing the 'New contact' button which opens a dialog for selecting contact type and entering value and description.
Note: Just below contact value a faded label shows valid input format for selected contact type.
Second tab contains information about partner application’s accounts, see image below. Each partner can have one or more application accounts or ERP application users. These users can login to the Supplier module of the ERP application with the username assigned by the Procurement Admin and the password generated by the system. Partner accounts can be created & edited only by specific roles in the organization, namely the Procurement administrator & the System administrator. Upon creation, each partner account is automatically given the Supplier role, which limits their access to the application. They are allowed to see statuses of RFP documents in which they are listed as potential suppliers. They can also submit offers related to a specific RFP document and review their statuses.
To create a new account click the 'New account button' and fill in the pop-up dialog (see below).
All fields are mandatory and the user has to define a unique username and provide a unique email address for each account. Click Save to insert the new account in the database or Cancel to close the pop-up dialog and discard the data. After creating the account, a new random password will be automatically generated and sent to the provided email address.
Note: Available partner accounts are displayed in a table on the Application accounts tab. Last column of the table shows possible actions a user may choose:
- Edit: Opens the account pop-up dialog to allow changes. (see Selection A)
- Delete: Deletes the account from the database. (see Selection B)
- Generates new password: Generates new password and sends it to the provided email address. (see Selection C)
- When partner is selected, button „Delete“ appears in edit mode and allows deleting selected partner. Delete is allowed only for partners without items and accounts. For example, partner on picture below, it couldn't be deleted because of that reason. User gets message on screen about that.
- Button "Back" appears in view mode and allows quick search of other partners while some partner is allready selected.
Items sub module is used for administering consumer products (physical goods, intangible services) and item types. These functions are typically performed by the Procurement Administrator, and after the initial data entry, seldom change. Recommended best practices suggest that all administration functions should be done centrally, by a single person/department.
As indicated on the left menu, both items and item types can be loaded in two different modes: search and new. You can also access the full item catalog available in the system. The functionality of the item catalog will be explained in detail at the end of this section.
Special part (panel) of items page is catalog module. It provides a hierarchical representation of all available items with explorer-like list on the left part of main page.
Available actions in catalog are:
1) Catalog panel expand/collapse button
2) Left mouse button selection of a desired tree node – loads the selected element in the standard item form rendered on right part of the current screen (form described in previous chapter) and leaves the selected node with a distinguished background color
3) Right mouse button selection of a desired tree node – loads the context menu (format depends on node type, item category or simple item)
- View option - opens standard item form in separated view, without catalog panel, and shows selected item/category in view mode
- Edit option - opens standard item form in separated view, without catalog panel, and shows selected item/category in edit mode
- Delete option - enables delete functionality with standard user confirmation
- New / new from this options - opens standard item form in separated view, without catalog panel, and shows add mode (new item in selected category or new item based on selected item attributes)
- Move option - rearrange item location in category tree catalog hierarchy; just select from given dialog box category in which selected item should be
Note: If category is deleted all subitems will be placed one level up in product hierarchy, they will not be deleted automatically.
On the first tab user can view and edit information about the partners who provide this item. Each item may be offered by multiple companies in their catalog of products. The supplier list on this tab shows only those partners which have been “linked” to this particular item, and therefore the item is a part of their catalog. This catalog is a “living” thing; it can change over time and it can be gradually built over time. This means that you are not required to include a complete catalog of each business partner, only those items that are of use to your organization at a particular point in time.
Note: In order to add a new supplier of an item to the list of available suppliers, this business partner has to be defined in the database already.
Note: In procurement process, suppliers used for item are those defined directly on item and suppliers defines on item's category.
Suppliers are organized in standard data table with available load and delete actions. Load action opens up the partners screen with selected partner loaded in view mode. Delete action deletes the connection between the item and the supplier, essentially removing the item from the catalog of that particular partner, but it does not delete the supplier itself.
Suppliers of an item can be added by pressing New supplier (see image above) and searching/selecting from the list of available partners in the database (see image below).
The selected supplier automatically appears on the list and you can use the buttons in the right corner (see image below) in order to load, delete or edit a supplier.
Search item and view item details
In order to find an item in the catalog that fits a particular description, the best way is to use the advanced Search feature. Click to Search items and input your search criteria (same rules apply). Results are shown in an overlay panel beneath the Search button. Select the item from the list and the system will load the item details.
Complete Item information is divided in several tabs. Top section shows key identifiers of an item, while some additional details are located on tabs at the bottom of the screen.
Note: The Item description text box is extendable in case you need to enter detailed description.
To import items click on button "Upload files" (see image below) and choose file which you prepared according to "Import file template".
After uploading file, "Import" and "Document items file" button will appear. Click on "import" imports the items, click on "Document items file" downloads file used to set these items directly on RFP. There is also an option to prepare import file, in that case "Pre-import file template" should be used. The result of the pre-import is an import file which should be checked before continuing with the import process.
The next sub module is Documents. The main purpose of this sub module is to help you with creating Requests for proposals (RFP), preparing Orders, etc. Consoles are divided in 3 groups: search options, creation options and process options.
Search mode unlocks the form input fields so the user can enter search criteria. Some fields require that you select from the available drop-down list or click the magnifying glass icon to lookup the available values in the system. Press 'X' to remove selected criteria. Search can be triggered via the Search button, or by pressing Enter.
Results are shown in an overlay panel beneath the Search button.
This console enables you to create a Request for proposal (RFP). To create the new RFP fill in the obligatory fields, Project, Delivery date, RFP expiry date and Document description.
Delivery date is the date when goods must be received, and RFP expiry date is the date when your proposal is expiring which means that proposals from suppliers cannot be received after this date.
Ordering on Projects can only be done by Project's team members and on Projects which status is set to “OPEN”. Ask your Project Manager to assign you to one of the project tasks before ordering on Project. Finally, all orders on the Project must be confirmed by Project Manager.
Now, switch to tab "Items". You will notice that "Transport cost" item will be added automatically to your Request for proposal.
You can add items with Excel file (new window opens and it will ask you to select Excel file) and manually if you click 'Add items' button.
Press the button 'Add items'. The new window opens.
Choose an item you want to order, e.g. 'Ravnalo' which is provided by two different suppliers Biro Media INTL and Top Team Plus, and press 'Add' button. Now you can change the quantity or delete the selected item if you have chosen the wrong one from the list.
Press the 'save' button to save all your changes to RFP. To view all suppliers, simply change the tab.
It is possible to exclude suppliers from RFP, it is also possible to cancel exclusion. If minimum number of suppliers is defined on item's category, RFP cannot be submitted unless number of suppliers is bigger or equal to that number. To submit your RFP for approval, first click the button 'Create document'.
The new window opens. Enter the 'Reason/description' and press the 'Create button' once again to submit your RFP.
You can check your status by switching the tab to 'Document status'.
Your document has been entered. Project Manager has to confirm it or cancel it by choosing the button in the upper-right corner.
To continue with the RFP process, Project Manager must confirm the order.
The Project manager fills in the Reason/description and presses the button ' Confirm document'.
Now you can see a new possibility. Press 'Receiving proposals finished' to consider only proposals which have already been submitted.
Approve procurement request RFP
When all proposals have been submitted, or when Department Head decides that he can select one, Department Head must press the button 'Receiving proposals finished'. Requester cannot see the Total value with tax, the Department Head is the one who choose the proposal with better conditions. In some situation, e.g. RFP expires, Suppliers don't submit proposals or Suppliers refuse to submit proposals, you will need to extend the RFP expiry date by changing the RFP expiry date and restoring status to 'Approved (Project Manager)'.
The new window opens. Fill in the Reason/description and press 'Receiving proposals finished'.
You have to be in the 'edit' mode to be able to choose the proposal by ticking the box. If you wish to wait for more proposals (only if more suppliers are available), press the button 'Return to previous status'
Once you did select offer, system will create new Order. The Requester can now edit order as shown on next picture:
The picture shows action button which allow your to edit your order before sending it further into the process. You can remove item from order by clicking button with cross sign next to the item or you can add new item to the order. Also its allowed to edit prices on order and your can enter some change related notes in 'Explanation of changes' field. In the 'Document status' tab, you can see who has approved your order and who still has to do it. Before approval from Head of QA, the Requester has to fill in Requirement for Quality, Safety and Environment by switching to tab 'QSE'. If the report is not applicable, choose the last option.
CEO has the right to cancel or confirm the document in the end of the approval process.
When the order is confirmed by CEO, the automatic email and the purchase order are sent to the supplier with the best offer. Requester has to switch to the tab 'Int.control' in order to complete the approval process. Description field is obligatory. Press the button 'Int.control OK' if everything is the exactly how it should be, otherwise press 'Int.control not OK' or 'Cancel document'.
This is the final view of the completed order.
Create Quick Order
The quick order is used for orders of small value such us office supplies e.g. paper blocks or paperclips. It is much simpler and faster than the classic RFP since it doesn't require proposals from suppliers. You only have to choose an item and add it to your document. Switch to tab 'Items' and for example add item 'Košuljice s rupama'.
Switch to tab 'Suppliers' to see the main difference. Suppliers don't have to send a proposal to you. You can select the one you prefer immediately by ticking the box next to the supplier you want to choose.
The approving process is quicker since this type of order doesn't require approval from the Project Manager.
Create Trusted Order
Trusted supplier order has similar process to the general order, but it doesn't have tender and it can only be used for suppliers who are marked as trusted suppliers under the section 'Partners'. Under the 'Document status' tab, you can see the complete approval process. The difference is that trusted order has to be approved by Department Head, which is not the case in general order (created after RFP).
Press the button 'Search' to look up for all trusted suppliers.
This console enables you to see all tasks which are awaiting your reaction, you either have to confirm or approve previous action in the process. You can see the process type, description, project name and the status.
Select open orders to view only orders which are in status 'Approved by CEO'.
Select 'Unsent orders' to check all the orders in statuses: Order created, Approved by Requester, Approved by Project Manager, Approved by QSE and Approved by finance.
RFPs in process
Select the console RFPs in process to view all the Request for proposals which are not expired and which are approved by Project Manager.
The sub-module 'Procurement administration' is used only by Procurement Officer. The main function is to enter details for the Request for proposal when the selected supplier does not use the matching software, e.g. one time supplier. Also, console 'Requests' enables you to see all the tasks from all employees which is very useful in specific circumstances e.g. Employee does not know why the RFP is not proceeded, Procurement Officer checks the status and finds out who should approve the specific task (e.g. Project Manager). It has only one console-Requests.
Select the console 'Requests' and choose one of the selected options from the drop down menu.
Choose the option 'Requests in progress' to find the proposal you wish to update. New view opens.
Press the magnifier icon next to the Proposal you need to update. Have in mind that the proposal status must be 'Request sent'.
Complete the missing information such as Proposal ID, Price and Discount to have a valid offer. Press the button 'Reply to RFP' to send the offer. Department Head will be able to see this offer in his RFP under the 'supplier tab' and consider it for the project/product.