New Online Purchase Order System

Posted on


A new online purchase order system will be available to all Chemistry & Biochemistry faculty, postdocs, graduate students and staff on September 1, 2017. 

The design and development of this system was a two-year collaborative effort between the department’s Information Technology group, faculty participants, the Business Office and the Chief Administrative Officer. Primary goals of the system are to streamline ordering and purchasing processes and to eliminate paper requisition forms by the end of calendar year 2017. Major system components that help realize these goals are a rich online order creation form, digital signatures, business office processing, and real-time order status monitoring.

Orders are created using an online form that resembles the current paper requisition form. Supporting documents and materials can be attached and remarks or comments can be added for business office attention. Orders are accessible by the originator, their supervisor or research director, and other group members, which enables supervisors to manage fund accounts easily and avoids duplicate orders.

One of the main drivers of efficiency is the order processing workflow, which commences when a user submits an order to their supervisor for approval. The supervisor reviews the order, adds an FAU from a pre-populated dropdown list, and digitally signs it. Once signed, the order is reviewed and approved by a fund manager, and then placed by a purchasing agent. Throughout the processing workflow, staff can annotate the order with Purchase Order number, delivery and tracking information, and confirmation documents.

As an order progresses through the processing workflow, its real-time status can be easily determined in a few ways. First, a segmented status bar is present at the top of each order, which indicates the processing steps that have been completed. Second, an order history, located below the status bar, provides a detailed history of all processing actions made to an order, including names and timestamps. Finally, color-coded “badges” display in aggregate views of orders that enable rapid status determination of many orders at once.

The ordering system includes an array of additional features related to order management, data export, proxy signer authorization, and business office communication. 

IT staff member Jonathan Erde will hold a training session on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at 10am in Young Hall 2033, which will be recorded. Procurement Officer Caroline Cortez will be available to answer any Business Office related questions that come up. Additional supporting materials, including a screencast tutorial and written documentation, will be forthcoming.

Order App Graphic 1

An aggregate view of orders provides a snapshot of order information, funding sources, real-time order status and processing information. 

Order App Graphic 2

The order view presents a segmented status bar for quick status determination and an “Order History” section that presents a detailed account of all actions performed on the order. 

Many thanks to Jonathan Erde for writing this article.