Purchase Order Tracking: How to Automate PO Tracking

Without the right processes and software in place, purchase order tracking (or PO tracking) is about as reliable as a stopped clock: it’s right twice per day. PO tracking is a key part of successful procurement and can help the overall support of your business. But if it’s missed or badly managed, all sorts of problems happen that negatively impact business growth.

If you’re wondering how to get it right, start here. This article explains what purchase order tracking is, why PO tracking is important, the challenges of tracking manually, how to make it more efficient and the impact PO tracking has on inventory optimization.

Table of Contents

What is Purchase Order Tracking?

Purchase order tracking, or PO tracking, is the process of tracing a purchase order from the moment it’s placed through to delivery. You can trace it manually or use software for automatic real-time tracking. The idea is to give every person in your supply chain visibility of the full procurement process.

Why is Automated PO Tracking Important?

Automated PO tracking is a vital part of your procurement process and has a major impact on your overall business. Let’s look at why:

  • It saves time spent on repeatable processes like purchase order creation, routing and approval.
  • It creates a consistent process so you don’t have to spend time and resources whenever there’s a minor change.
  • It improves timeline visuals. You can see every stage of the procurement process in real-time and create reports at the touch of a button.
  • It ensures compliance. With automation, you can set parameters to make sure you’re compliant with regulations, policies, and contracts.
  • It optimizes organizational spend, as you can see if there are any blockages or barriers in your procurement process and choose the most productive areas to invest in.

Challenges of Tracking Purchase Orders Manually

Tracking Purchase orders manually is possible, but there are many barriers to getting it right, especially as your business grows. Let’s see what they are:

  • It’s not transparent. You need to know where data comes from.
  • It’s not consistent. Even if processes are in place, they’re hard to maintain as you grow.
  • Manual intervention is needed. A time consuming, labor intensive process.
  • Bottlenecks. A supply chain has a lot of connected departments. One mistake from one department can hold up a whole project.
  • It takes too much time. You could be spending that time on better things.
  • It’s expensive. Although you’re not paying for automated software, you’re paying for labor and other resources, which all add up.

How to Make PO Tracking Efficient

Thankfully, the challenges of manual PO tracking don’t have to burden your businesses. It’s possible to make PO tracking efficient with automation and the right technology. You could use specific purchase order tracking software or, better still, you could manage your whole inventory, including PO tracking, with inventory planning software. Either way, you’ll make PO tracking more efficient with automation that cuts down manual labor and improves accuracy and consistency.

Why is Purchase Order Tracking Important in Inventory Management

Inventory management involves optimizing and connecting several areas of your business, including demand forecasting, ABC analysis, size curve management and even new product launches. One of the most important aspects of inventory management is purchase order tracking.

Purchase order tracking supports retail demand planning, as you can analyze the number and type of POs you receive. It gives you information on the size curves that are being sold the most and it helps you build a database of information that’s useful for new product forecasting. Whether you’re working out safety stock, trying to avoid stockouts or reducing overstocks, the information you get from purchase order tracking is crucial.

Improve PO Tracking With Inventory Optimization Software: Features to Look For

You’ve learned that automatic PO tracking is more efficient than manual tracking and you know that it makes up an important part of inventory optimization. For the most accurate inventory forecasting and the best purchase order tracking, you need software that can do both. Here are the PO tracking features your inventory optimization software should have:

Tracking Split Shipments

When you’re receiving multiple shipments with one PO, you need to know what you’ve received, what’s left to receive and where each shipment is coming from and going to. With so many questions, it’s important to link every shipment and to be able to track everything in one place.

💡Pro Tip: Track multiple POs, shipments and containers with Singuli’s Many-to-Many models for total flexibility and visibility.

Landed Cost Tracking

For a full understanding of your purchase order cost, you need to know the landed cost too. Make sure your software has landed cost tracking that makes it easy to identify and track all your costs.

📌Get Started: Keep on top of costs with Singuli’s Landed Cost Tracking.

Synchronization with Freight Forwarder

Staying ahead with your forecasts isn’t easy, so you need to make sure your shipment ATS (available to sell) dates are fresh. Make sure your software syncs the latest data from your freight forwarder.

💡Pro Tip: Keep forecasts fresh with Singuli’s Freight Forwarder Sync. Singuli automatically syncs ATS (available to sell) dates with your freight forwarder’s latest data so you’re always up to date.

Custom Reporting

Every business is unique. No matter how good the predetermined plans are in your inventory optimization software, you often need to read data tailored to your business’ needs. Make sure your software allows you to create custom fields.

💡Pro Tip: Support your workflow and track your business needs with Singuli’s Custom Fields. Assign as many as you need to your shipments and POs.

Audit History

Keeping track means knowing who did something, what they did, and when and where they did it. Make sure your software logs every change so you can complete a full audit history without any barriers.

📌Get Started: Track exactly who did what and when they did it with Singuli’s Purchase Orders and Shipments. Every change is linked to a user and logged automatically.

Advanced Filtering

It’s great to have a lot of reports, but you also need to be able to access them easily. Make sure you can filter your data down to see the information that’s relevant to your business.

💡Pro Tip: Easily access the information you need with Singuli’s Advanced Filters. Search by vendor, ETA date, SKU and dozens of other stats.

Visual Timelines

Every stage of your procurement process matters, so make sure you can see it with clear, visual timelines on your inventory optimization software.

📌Get Started: See every stage of your supply chain with Singuli’s Visual Timelines so you never miss a beat.

Centralized PO Database

If your purchasing history is spread out across multiple databases, you’re opening up your procurement process to a world of errors. Make sure your purchase order tracking system has a centralized PO database.

💡Pro Tip: Keep your eyes on the prize with Singuli’s Centralized PO Database that files all of your purchasing history in one place.

Real-Time Tracking

When you’re busy looking after sales, marketing, operations, logistics, accounting and every other part of your business, you need to know what’s happening now, not what happened a month ago. Make sure your software has real-time tracking.

Cloud-Based Storage

Software that uses cloud-based storage is important for any sized business, but it’s essential for businesses with multiple locations. Make sure your PO tracking software has it.

Get Your Purchase Order Tracking
(and More) Right with Singuli

Purchase order tracking is important to your business. Inventory optimization is too. So you need to make sure your PO tracking and your inventory are both working at their optimal levels. Use Singuli to get started and to get it right.

Get the All-in-One Inventory Planning Software

Forecast demand, issue and track POs, re-order on autopilot, and step up your reporting game across multiple channels and locations. Get in touch to see how Singuli can help you optimize your inventory.

Purchase Order Tracking FAQ

How can I track my purchase orders?

You can track purchase orders in numerous ways, including manual tracking, using spreadsheets, using specific purchase order tracking software or using inventory optimization software that combines PO tracking with inventory planning.

What information should I include in my purchase order tracking system?

Your purchase order tracking system should include information that’s relevant to your business. Many businesses add the order date, expected delivery date, the products or services ordered, costs, quantities and information about the order status.

How can I use purchase order tracking to improve my business operations?

Purchase order tracking is an important part of any business’ supply chain, as it helps you see areas that might be causing delays or other issues. With that information, you can forecast more accurately, make improvements to your inventory and reduce the risk of stockouts and overstocks.

Get the All-in-One Inventory Planning Software

Forecast demand, issue and track POs, reorder on autopilot, and step up your reporting game across multiple channels and locations. Get in touch to see how Singuli can help you optimize your inventory.

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