We still see it from time to time; the 13-digit PO number. You know, first you take an incrementing PO number, then you jam the date at the front, stick on the cost center or job number, and maybe sprinkle in the Buyer’s initials for good measure.
If you’re coming from a manual, paper-based process to manage your Purchase Orders, you wouldn’t be the only one to use your PO numbers for purposes other than identifying the order. After all, when all you have to rely on to track your spending history is a filing cabinet, what other alternatives are there?
But when you move to an online system like SpendMap, you can track and report on your Purchase Orders by many fields aside from the PO number. For example, you can report on PO history by job, department, buyer, date range, account code, etc.
So your PO numbers can be what they were intended to be, a unique number that identifies the order
On a related note, the PO number is likely not the only field that you can clean up on your POs. When you move to a Purchase Order Software system like SpendMap, you might also choose to remove other fields/data that are no longer needed on the PO. After all, the cleaner you can make your PO form, the easier it will be for your suppliers to read and accurately process your orders (yes, your suppliers are as overloaded with information as the rest of us are).
So you might want to reconsider including things like account coding, requisition number, internal notes, etc. Remember, if you implement a full online purchasing system, your colleagues who used to work with paper Purchase Orders will now have all that information on-screen, so there’s no longer any need to clutter up your POs with internal information that your suppliers don’t need.
TIP: think process improvement, not just process automation.