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: