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There are many industries where call off contracts and drawing down off bulk orders are commonplace. Within construction for example a building project can span many months and even years. Consider the building of a new housing estate, the developer would know from the outset how many bricks would be required for the entire build. They would want to secure supply and negotiate pricing based on this overall requirement yet call of what they need as the build progresses. This same principle can be used in a range of other industries such as apparel with inventory called off over the course of a season and other similar situations where inventory is drawn down from a customer specific inventory holding over time.
There are many ways of approaching how to manage these bulk order and call off requirements, but when formal contracts or agreements are in place there needs to be fast, visible and accurate controls in place. Customers need confidence that agreed pricing is maintained and their call off schedules are met as this will be crucial to the efficient running of a project or ensuring sales opportunities are fully capitalised. Suppliers need to keep close control of their commitments, ensure any call off shortfalls from a contract are highlighted while eliminating potential for over supply and the resulting invoicing and payment issues this can bring. By successfully delivering a Call Off Contract and providing high service levels this can greatly strengthen the chances of success with future contract and bulk order opportunities.
The 2014 v9.3 release sees the addition of a new licenced feature called Bulk Orders, specifically designed to provide simple and structured management of bulk orders and their call off requirements. When activated it can be turned on within Sales System settings and further controlled via User Group settings.
A new Order type called Bulk Orders becomes available within Sales Order Entry. This is populated in the same way as a Sales Order and will create the requirements from which a Call Off will be created.
Any Bulk Orders created can be found within Sales Activity or by clicking the Order History button when a Customer Record is highlighted. When a Bulk Order is highlighted the Call Off button can be used to Create a Call Off or view the Call Off History for the selected Bulk Order.
From the Create Call Off Screen a user can view all of the Bulk Order Lines and see full details of the quantities required, sent and to be sent. Once the Call Off quantities of the required products have been entered, the Add To Call Off button will then create a pre-populated Sales Order Entry Screen ready for the Call Off order to be finalised. OrderWise will not allow any Call Off sales order lines linked to a Bulk Order line to exceed the outstanding Bulk Order quantity and pricing for Call Off items is pulled through from the associated Bulk Order line price.
A number of other important areas can be controlled and maintained as part of Bulk Order and Call Off management including:-
There will be certain Bulk Orders where an upfront payment is preferred. This could be standard practice for first time customers with some companies, due to bespoke items, the value or length of commitment and any number of other factors. The option is available to take a payment against the Bulk Order itself if required which can then be reconciled later against the Call Off order invoices.
By default Bulk Orders will not be accounted for within the ‘To Purchase’ report. As these will often span a significant period of time companies will not want purchase orders to be generated on the back of Bulk Order requirements. It is the Call Off that generates the Sales Order which places demand on inventory with any resulting requirements and order promised dates picked up when the ‘To Purchase’ report is run.
Depending on individual companies operating practices on how they wish Bulk Order requirements to be managed, a System Setting is available to include Bulk Order requirements in the ‘To Purchase’ report.
Requirements for Direct Order (inventory sent directly to customer from supplier) or Back to Back Order (Purchase orders raised and linked to specific sales order lines) can still be applied when creating a Bulk Order. This will be automatically applied to any Call Off made from the Bulk Order that includes items flagged in this way with flexibility to apply or change this within the Call Off itself.
Inventory can be allocated during the creation of a Bulk Order for all or part of the Bulk Order requirements. Bulk Order allocations will be automatically carried forward to any Call Off created with the ability to amend or apply these manually if desired.
This can be viewed for any Bulk Order to provide full and fast visibility of all orders that contain a Call Off line from the Bulk order. Users can display Bulk Order numbers & Bulk Order Line ID’s to enable simple insight into Call Off activity and see the despatch status and promised dates of Call Off orders. Bulk Order status is also quickly ascertained, displaying if the Bulk Order is Awaiting Despatch, Partially Despatched or Completed.
When Bulk Orders are for items that would normally be kept in stock or available quickly and easily from suppliers then there is little or no issue around inventory availability. This would also be the case if a customer plans their Call Off requirements in advance. However, if there are long lead times for Bulk Order items and it is vital that Call Off requirements can be immediately fulfilled then user can take advantage of the Forward Demand Forecasting feature launched in the 2013 v8.10 release.
For more information on OrderWise Inventory Management software watch our videos or download the brochures
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