Purchase order approval in AX 2012

I’m not a great fan of purchase order approval. Actually it’s not purchase order approval that I have a problem with, it’s purchase order re-approval. Mostly I’m working with inventory purchase orders and master planning. So, first off there are a couple of exceptions to using purchase order approval for inventory purchasing: first, if you firm a planned order, the order’s automatically approved; and secondly you can’t use purchase order approval with sub-contract purchase orders. Then with inventory purchasing you’re going to want to update the purchase order – you need to record the vendor’s confirmed delivery date, and you might want to change requested delivery dates.

With purchase order approval workflows active you can’t just edit the purchase order to make changes – notice that the Edit button is inactive. You have to click ‘Request change’ and then make your change and then re-submit for approval

So let’s make a change to the delivery date and submit the purchase order for approval:

After the workflow messages have been process the Actions > View history button shows me that the purchase order is waiting for approval:

But the problem is that master planning is still seeing the original date (and warehouse and quantity) so we’re looking at changes that won’t have any major financial implications, but they’re important to master planning, and we want to apply those changes immediately, without having to wait for the boss to approve the purchase order.

The solution of course is to include an automatic approval setup in your workflow. I don’t really want to get into workflow setup – it deserves a whole series of posts all on its own – suffice to say that there are some useful ‘fields’ that you can use to setup conditions for automatic approval in your workflow. There’s an example in the standard demo data which uses the purchase order delta invoice amount percentage:

You can also use the purchase order delta invoice amount (rather than the percentage) and as you can see above there is also an option to test the purchase order ‘requires purchase order re-approval’.

The ‘requires purchase order re-approval’ is triggered by a policy. Go to Procurement and sourcing > Setup > Policies > Purchasing polices:

We need the policy that’s active for our company:

(If you’re working on policies, keep an eye on this setting – too easy to be updating a policy that doesn’t apply to the company you’re working in).

Then we need to find or create the ‘Re-approval rule for purchase orders’:

Access the details of the policy by double-clicking on the effective version of the Policy rule. Then you define the fields which, if changed, are going to trigger re-approval:

You can view the fields in a simple list or more complex tree view. For this simple example I’m setting this up so that I can change anything on the purchase order except price and quantity.

Now we’re ready to ‘Request change’ on our purchase order, edit the purchase order, and re-submit for approval. Once the workflow has run we can see that the purchase order’s approved and the workflow history shows that the automatic approval was triggered as required:

But if I change the price or quantity, the purchase order requires manual approval:

Job done.

4 thoughts on “Purchase order approval in AX 2012

  1. Is it possible, without customization, to allow the workflow to process automatically after a change without having to click the “submit” button on the PO? If I bring a PO onto a Load ID and assign a Carrier w/Route, the Purchase Order requires someone to actually hit the “Submit” button to update the workflow approval. This is unavailable to the transportation dispatcher at the time of the change and requires a Procurement resource to resubmit the workflow – even though the change is setup as an automatic approval. This is why we have change management shut off, however we would like to use it.


    • Sorry Matt – I don’t actually know the answer to this, but I think that it’s “no”. When I looked at the Transportation Module a while ago I concluded (for this very reason) that it wasn’t compatible with purchase order approval. You may be able to customize your way out of this problem.


      • Hi , i want to ask you about purchase requisition .. when i create purchase requisition and approve it and generate automatic purchase order by batch .. no workflow run on purchase order .. do you have any idea about this issue


      • Hi Maged, I don’t have any personal experience of this scenario – I’ve worked on sites that have purchase requisition approval workflows, and sites that have purchase order approval workflows; but I’ve never worked with both approval workflows being used at the same time. I guess that what is happening is that the purchase order is being created as an ‘Approved’ purchase order (that’s what Master planning does when you firm a planned order) – so even though you have a purchase order approval workflow you only need to run the purchase order approval workflow if you change the purchase order.
        To me, that seems sensible, why do you need to approve a purchase order if you have just approved the requisition?
        But if I’m getting this wrong or you’d like a second [more knowledgeable] opinion I suggest you post your question on the Dynamics AX Community forum.


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