The success of a company largely depends on the flexibility and reliability of procurement. Purchasing has to cover a wide scope of functions. The processes range from procurement in the context of long-term blanket agreements to short-term, flexible purchase orders without any predefined values. For this reason, proALPHA Purchasing supports a vast number of procurement processes for standard products and once-only products (parts), for the outsourcing of entire components, and for services and external operations that are initiated in your production, to name just a few. It offers extensive options to facilitate the handling of requests for quote, purchase orders, stock receipts, invoice auditing, and supplier evaluations.

The purchasing processes are uniformly embedded in the complete system and thus establish full process transparency. As a result, all departments can efficiently handle purchase orders and the relevant information. Each specialist has access to the current status of prices and delivery times of any product (part) – regardless of whether they are working in production, on a project, or on a manual purchase request. This greatly improves procurement processes and reduces costs. The proALPHA Document Management System (DMS) provides all documents relevant to procurement, such as credit reports and correspondence with suppliers. These documents can be assigned to a particular process or may be part of a supplier file.

The demand for up-to-date information goes far beyond company borders. Call purchase orders and purchase orders based on delivery plans reflect the complete demand situation for particular parts, keeping the supplier up-to-date. With the help of supplier portals, suppliers are an integral part of your company's process chain. To serve the purpose, documents can be shared via EDI or via the Integration Workbench (INWB) for intercompany business. This guarantees most efficient procurement processes.

Terms and requests for quote

Systematic management of purchasing conditions and easy generation of requests for quote

Prices and discounts, which are generally only valid for a limited period of time, can be managed in schedules and in any foreign currency. They either refer to purchase order quantity units or have been defined in relation to the weight of the product. In addition to freely defining price units, you can also enter various discounts and surcharges in proALPHA, both as absolute and percentage values. All the other terms can also be easily managed with proALPHA Purchasing, e.g., terms of delivery and payment, minimum order quantities and values, and delivery times. Terms relating to quantities and a specific period of time can also be recorded in blanket agreements (blanket purchase orders).

The prices and terms for new products (parts) can be conveniently determined by means of supplier queries. The requests for quote can be generated directly from PO suggestions or entered manually. The quotes returned are compared with all the other terms in a well-structured price audit, where the preferred source of supply can be directly chosen. The quote values can be adopted from the price and terms audit into the master files. It is also possible to initiate the purchase order directly from within the price audit. Further advantages can be gained by splitting up purchase orders. For example, you can order the majority of a required product from the supplier with the best prices and a small amount from the supplier with the shortest delivery time in order to cover a pressing demand.

Within a company group, suppliers and materials can be reconciled via the proALPHA INWB. This is also used to coordinate the purchasing systems of separate installations.


Purchase order processing

Efficient procurement - convenient purchase order processing

Purchase order processing is the core element of purchasing. To facilitate this, purchase orders can be conveniently generated from the purchase suggestions of MRP in proALPHA. This conversion is based on differentiated MRP methods and parameters. It is also possible to generate purchase orders from sales orders or project tasks. These two avenues for generating purchase orders are also available for ordering external services to handle work orders. If the procurement is related to a customer order and is therefore directly linked to pegging, proALPHA WorkflowAutomation automatically notifies the user of changes made to the confirmed delivery quantities and dates. Consequently, quick reaction to these changes is possible.

Furthermore, in proALPHA, ordering costs are directly displayed as purchase order obligation in the order and project costing. The main beneficiaries are make-to-order manufacturers and project manufacturers, since they are always aware of the projected costs. The homogenous complete system also provides the information directly in financial accounting and cost accounting, where the data are automatically included in the cash forecast.

For the dates requested in the purchase orders, you can create order confirmations with proALPHA. If required, they are automatically dunned by the system. In the event that other dates than the intended delivery dates have been confirmed, the new delivery dates are immediately taken into account in MRP so that delivery reliability can still be ensured. Delinquent suppliers can be handled with a versatile dunning system.

By means of dispatch notifications, suppliers can announce the pending delivery of goods. As a result, the coverage dates are updated, which is especially important for long delivery times and transport routes. At the same time this prepares the entry of the stock receipt.

The stock receipt entails the automatic update of the stock on hand and is directly connected to the purchase order monitoring in proALPHA. Stock receipts can either be posted to a receiving storage area or directly added to the stock on hand at the target warehouse. They can also be directly provided for production. If the received goods are defective, you can return them to the supplier and monitor this process based on the open return documents.

Regardless of whether you receive invoices via EDI, e-mail or on paper, and whether you enter them locally or centrally, proALPHA supports you with a transparent process management and monitoring system at optimal cost. Here the system-wide WorkflowAutomation and DMS come into play. Workflow processes for accepting and releasing work steps control the archiving and scanning of documents including handwritten notes. This combines the checks for figures and facts. Congruencies and discrepancies between the goods ordered and those actually delivered, and potential returns are compared in a well-structured overview. In the event of unacceptable differences in quantities and prices, debit memos can easily be generated. Once the invoice has been released, the values are automatically corrected based on the variance between the price on the purchase order and the one on the invoice. At the same time, the respective cost centers and consumption accounts are debited with the invoiced materials, and the data to be included in the intra-EU trade statistics report are determined.

proALPHA supports you with tax determination in national, intra-community and international business activities in purchasing. Different taxation bases are relevant to tax determination depending on the business activity. They are automatically determined and suggested in the document header when purchasing documents are entered.



Optimizing purchasing processes with the supplier portal

The target group-specific supplier portal can be used to process transactions with suppliers. This web portal allows you to include your suppliers in business processes by connecting them to the ERP system. Thanks to a variety of applications, the supplier is offered a versatile interface that can be tailored to the desired use. Flexible configuration options in the back end and front end provide the suppliers with the relevant information. One example of a potential use is the constant monitoring of the demand for the parts to be delivered by a particular supplier. The web portals also allow for purchase orders and release data to be downloaded directly from the DMS.

Information and controlling system

Efficient procurement controlling – keeping track of suppliers

Reliable feedback regarding the performance of suppliers can be given by a supplier evaluation. This is an overview containing KPIs that have been automatically extracted from the logistics processes as well as manual evaluation criteria. The supplier evaluation includes KPIs on the adherence to delivery schedules and the number of returns and delivery reminders. Criteria that cannot be directly derived from business processes, such as credit reports for risk assessment and dependencies, supplement the evaluation as manual criteria. Each criterion can be individually weighed and combined into evaluation groups with others.

Procurement controlling provides answers to complex questions regarding suppliers, parts, and product lines, promoting the optimization of purchasing processes. Answers to questions such as "Which supplier delivers which parts and on which terms?" or "What quantities of a part have been ordered in the last 18 months, and from which supplier?" can immediately be found in the proALPHA Information System (Info).

A great asset for daily work is the continuous opportunity to view all open and archived documents. The documents are logically linked with each other, so that, for example, the user can easily navigate from a stock receipt document to the underlying purchase order or the corresponding A/P invoice voucher document.

The proALPHA KPI and Early Warning System offers a variety of predefined key performance indicators, such as stock turnover rate, quote success, and days of sales outstanding (DSO), which are automatically calculated by the system. Examples of this are KPIs on requested date variance, delivery date adherence, and delivery efficiency. The early warning function is based on threshold values which can be defined for the KPIs. In the event that a value exceeds or drops below this threshold, proALPHA automatically notifies the specialists responsible via workflow. Consequently, the KPI system forms the basis for the purchasing strategy as well as for the planning and controlling of material costs.

Questions for which there are no predefined analyses are readily answered by the proALPHA Analyzer. It can be used to design ad hoc queries for multidimensional analyses of data – without requiring any knowledge of programming. The user can zoom in on the data with just one click. Gaining new insights and identifying connections in large volumes of data can be achieved faster than ever.


Processes in Purchasing

Standard processes described comprehensively

By reading our process descriptions, you can easily make yourself familiar with various standard processes. Processes in Purchasing include: