Updated: May 20, 2022 12:59pm

Auto PO

About Auto PO
Auto PO automates the creation of purchase orders needed to restock Inventory to the desired levels. Auto PO analyzes Inventory and uses each item's Min (minimum), Max (maximum) and current On-Hand Quantity values to determine whether a reorder is needed and how many units to order. The Auto PO configuration settings enable users to order enough merchandise to bring the quantity back to the Min quantity, to the Max quantity, or to any designated percentage in between the Min and Max.
Auto PO can run a PO analysis for a single store or for multiple stores. When auto-generating POs for multiple stores, the resulting POs can be generated individually for each store, or a single PO can be generated for the entire company.
Each purchase order generated by Auto PO includes a proposed list of items and quantities to order that can be reviewed and accepted or discarded at the user's discretion. Once the proposed items are approved, Auto PO generates the purchase orders. The document numbers of purchase orders generated by Auto PO can be customized to help identify them for further review. All POs generated are for a single vendor. In addition, Auto PO can optionally consider quantities needed to fill pending Sales and/or Transfer Orders.
Auto PO enables users to define options and filters. The options and filters enable users to:

  • Specify the items to include on the generated orders
  • Select the fill level to attain based on each item's defined Min/Max levels.
  • Select which order documents to analyze (when generating orders to fill pending SOs/TOs)
  • Customize document numbers of auto-generated POs for easier identification.

When analyzing Inventory to determine how many units to order, current On-Hand Quantities are always included, as well as quantities on active POs unless optionally excluded. The Auto PO analysis can also consider merchandise needed to fill active sales orders and/or transfer orders. By default, only items with an OH Qty less than the defined Min quantity will be included on the generated purchase orders (when taking into account order documents, if so configured; for example, an item may be under its Min Qty but a large quantity is due in on a purchase order). Auto PO configuration settings are saved under a user-defined name so the settings can be reused when needed.
Basic Steps for Auto PO

  1. Define Min/Max values for items using Auto Min/Max. Auto PO relies on Min/Max values for determining how many units to order.
  2. Create an Auto PO configuration.
  3. Run Auto PO.
  4. Review the list of items. Unmark/mark items as needed.
  5. Click Generate Marked. This creates one or more purchase orders for the marked items.
  6. Use PO Lookup to view/edit the generated purchase orders.

Auto PO Security
Refer to the following table for information about the security permissions for Auto PO. To configure security permissions, in Prism navigate to Store Operations > Employees > Groups. Select the desired group. Click the Details button and then click Edit.

Permission Description
Auto Tools - Access Purchasing Allow group members to access Auto Tools - Auto PO
Auto Tools - Access Purchasing Review Allow group members to access Auto Tools - Auto PO - Review Purchasing
Auto Tools - Access Purchasing Review Allow group members to access Auto Tools - Auto PO - Review Purchasing
Auto Tools - Calculate Purchasing Allow group members to access Auto Tools - Auto PO - Calculate Purchasing and run Auto PO analysis.
Auto Tools - Configure Purchasing Allow group members to access Auto Tools - Auto PO - Auto PO Configuration Configuration and make changes

Access Auto PO
Navigate to Store Operations. Click Auto Tools.
The available Auto Tools modules are displayed. Click Auto PO.
Auto tools menu
When a user clicks the Auto PO button, two buttons are displayed: Calculate Purchasing and Review Purchasing.

Configure Auto PO
Click Calculate Purchasing.
Auto PO menu

The Auto PO Configuration screen has two panes:

  • The left pane (PO Details) has general settings that are applied to the auto-generated POs, e.g., the Associate, PO Type, number format and dates.
  • The right pane has three tabs: Locations, Analysis and Committed. Locations is where users select/clear individual stores. Analysis has options for setting the fill level and defining an item filter. The Committed tab has options for selecting individual order document types in the analysis.

Sample Auto PO Configuration screen:
Auto PO configuration opening screen

On the Auto PO Configuration screen, define settings to customize the purchase orders that Auto PO generates.
Configuration includes:

  • Give the configuration a Name so it can be saved for later reuse
  • Customize the PO Number format to include elements like Store number
  • Select the type of POs to generate (Drop-Ship or Marked For)
  • Set Order, Ship and/or Cancel dates
  • Select the store locations for which POs will be generated
  • Set the fill level (fill to Min, fill to Max or fill to a point in between Min and Max)
  • Select whether to consider quantities committed in or committed out

Click the New button on the bottom menu. Alternatively, select a saved configuration from the Load Configuration drop-down. A screen for defining details for the new configuration is displayed.
New Auto PO Configuration:
Auto PO configuration screen, Locations tab
Refer to the following tables for information about the available settings on the Auto PO Configuration screen (PO Details, Location. Analysis and Committed).
PO Details
The left pane (PO Details) has fields for defining general information for the purchase orders that will be generated. Refer to the following table.

PO Details Field Notes
Subsidiary  Select the desired Subsidiary. The Auto PO process generates purchase orders for stores belonging to a single subsidiary. The subsidiary selected here determines the stores that will be available for selection on the Locations tab.
Load Configuration If the new configuration will be based on an existing configuration, select the name in the Load Configuration drop-down. The loaded configuration can then be edited as needed and saved under a new Name.
Configuration Name Enter a name for this configuration. After the configuration is saved, the configuration is available from the Load Configuration drop-down.
Associate Select an Associate from the drop-down. The selected Associate will be entered as the associate on the auto-generated purchase orders.
PO Number Format  By default, auto-generated purchase orders have a system-generated document number. In the PO Number Format section of the Auto PO Configuration screen, users can customize the formatting so that the numbers include elements like Store Code, Vendor, Code, Date and Time. This can make it easier to track auto-generated purchase orders. As each element is selected, an example of the formatting is displayed in the text box
Order Date Click the calendar icon to select a Year/Month/Day for the Order Date. The Order Date is the date the order was sent to the vendor. By default, this is the same as the PO Created Date.
PO Note Enter an optional note that will be added to the auto-generated purchase orders.
Shipping Date  Click the Calendar icon to select a Year/Month/Day for the Shipping Date. This is the date the merchandise is expected to leave the vendor for shipment to the retailer.
Cancel Date Click the Calendar icon to select a Year/Month/Day for the Cancel Date. There is a preference or permission that allows users to receive POs past the Cancel Date.
The Cancel Date takes effect at 12:00:01 a.m. on the specified date.
Days Past Order Date This is a toggle option to override the static date selection.
PO Type Select Single Store or Multi-Store. If single-store is selected, only a single store can be selected in the list of stores.
Base Store The Base Store field is useful when generating purchase orders for multiple stores. By default, this is the store assigned to the current logged-in user's workstation record. This corresponds to the Default Store on the PO form. The items on a PO are assigned to the default store and the user can then change the allocation if needed.

Locations
Click the Locations tab to select the individual store locations to include in the Auto PO run:

Locations tab field Selection
Stores Select individual stores to be filled. The stores available for selection are those belonging to the selected Subsidiary.

Analysis
Click the Analysis tab to define the following settings:

Analysis tab field Description
Fill Level Determines the fill level type:
Minimum: The Order Qty will bring the OH Qty up to the Minimum Qty.
Maximum: The Order Qty will bring the OH Qty up to the Maximum Qty.
Percentage: The Order Qty will bring the OH Qty to the specified percentage between MIN and MAX values.
Enforce Item Minimum Order Quantities When enabled, item minimum order quantities will be enforced (rounded up). The Minimum Order Quantity is defined in the item's Inventory record. Default=Disabled.
Order Items above Minimum. Enabled: Items are filled, regardless of whether OH is below MIN. Disabled: (Default) Items are only filled if OH is below MIN.
Item Filter Click the Item Filter button to define criteria that will be checked at the item level. Only items matching the entered criteria will be included on the proposed list of items. Most of the fields available for Inventory items are available in the filter.

Sample Auto PO Configuration screen, Analysis tab:
Auto PO analysis tab

Item Filter
Click the Item Filter to limit the items in Inventory that will be included in the Auto PO analysis. Only those items that match the defined Item Filter criteria will be included in the analysis. If no Item Filter is defined, all active Inventory items are included in the analysis.
To add a filter element, click the Item Filter drop-down. A list of available filter elements is displayed.
Click the desired filter element (e.g., Desc 1). Note: Users can type the name of the element in the text box to find an element. After clicking the element, it is added to the screen. Select an operator (e.g., EQUALS, CONTAINS) and enter a value. 
To add another example of the same filter element, click the "plus sign" button. To add a different filter element, make a new selection from the Item Filter drop-down. To remove a filter element, click the "x" button.
Sample Item Filter for Auto PO:
Auto PO Item Filter

Committed
Click the Committed tab to select individual "committed" quantities to include in the analysis when determining how many units are needed to reach the fill level. Committed refers to quantities that are "committed in" or "committed out" of the store's inventory. On the Committed tab, users can define one or more PO date ranges to restrict the analysis of purchase orders ("committed in") to only documents within the specified range(s). The PO Filter element enables further filtering (e.g., by Department or Vendor) of the purchase orders included in the analysis.

Sample Auto PO Configuration screen, Committed tab:
Auto PO committed tab

 The following table lists the available settings on the Committed tab:

Committed tab field Description
Sales orders If selected, the quantities committed out of the store inventory on sales orders will be considered when determining fill level
TO-In If selected, transfer orders that order merchandise inbound to the user's store will be considered when determining fill level.
TO-Out If selected, transfer orders that order merchandise outbound to the user's store will be considered when determining fill level
In-Transit If selected, in-transit quantities that are committed in will be considered when determining fill level.
PO Date Ranges One or more date ranges can be entered. Quantities committed in on purchase orders created within the date range(s) will be considered when determining fill level.
PO Filter Click the drop-down to select one or more filter elements. Only purchase orders that match the defined filter criteria will be included in the analysis. This can be done to restrict the analysis to only purchase orders for certain vendors, departments, etc

Run Auto PO
After configuring Auto PO and saving the configuration, click the Run button on the bottom menu to run the analysis. Alternatively, run a saved configuration by navigating to Auto Tools > Auto PO > Calculate Purchasing, loading the saved configuration and then clicking Run.  
Sample Auto PO Configuration screen with Run button enabled:
Auto PO with Run button enabled

A warning is displayed that any records pending review will be overwritten. This message is displayed whether there are any records pending review. Click Yes.
A toast message indicates success. Click the message to close it.

Review Auto PO Results
After running Auto PO:
•    Review the proposed purchase order items
•    Unmark any items to exclude
•    Generate the purchase order(s)
There are two ways to get to the Auto PO Purchasing Review screen: In the Auto PO area, click the Options button and select Purchasing Review, or navigate to Auto Tools > Auto PO and select Review Purchasing.
On the Purchasing Review screen, make any needed edits to the proposed Order Qty generated by Auto PO for each item.
By default, all items are marked, which means they will be included once the "real" purchase orders are generated. Unmark individual items to have Auto PO ignore those items when the user clicks "Generate Marked."
Sample Auto PO Purchasing Review screen:
 
Filters
The list of proposed items in the Results pane can be filtered to display only certain items. This makes it easier to mark/unmark individual items or change the proposed Order Quantity. In the Search By dropdown, select a filter element. For each added filter element, enter the filter criteria and select an operator (Equals (default), Does not Equal, Contains, Is Empty, or Is Not Empty).

Filter element Description
UPC Enter an individual UPC or a range of UPCs. The list will be filtered to display only items with a matching UPC (based on the selected operator).
DCS Select a DCS Code to filter the list of items by department
Vendor Code Select a vendor to filter the list by vendor code.
Desc 1 - Desc 2 Enter a description to filter the list for items that contain the entered text in the Description 1 or Description 2 fields.
Item Size Enter a size to filter the list for items that contain the entered text in the Size field
Attr Enter a color or other attribute to filter for items that contain the entered text in the Attr field.
Store Filter the list of items by Store Code.

Sample Results filtered by DCS that contains "G":
Auto PO results filtered by DCS that contains the letter G

 Mark/Unmark Items
Auto PO generates a list of proposed items for the purchase order(s) based on the details defined on the Auto PO Configuration screen; however, only "marked" items will be included on the final generated purchase order(s). Any unmarked items will be ignored when the user clicks "Generate Marked." By default, all items are marked, so unmark individual items that should not be included in the final generated purchase orders(s).
To un-mark a single item, click the check mark icon.
To mark a single item, click the "not selected" icon.
To mark or unmark all proposed items, click the Mark All/Unmark All button.

Auto PO Results Screen and Multi-Store Purchase Orders
If the Auto PO Configuration is set to Multi-Store, the Results screen will by default show all the proposed items (for all stores).
Sample Auto PO Results showing items for Str 0, Str 1 and Str 2:
Auto PO generate orders

Case Quantity Orders
When the "Order by cases only" preference (Admin Console > Node Preferences > Purchasing > Purchase Orders) is enabled and an item with a defined "Units per Case" is listed on an Auto PO-generated purchase order, the Qty Ord value will be automatically rounded up to the next case quantity multiplier. In this way, only full cases are ordered.
Clearing the "Order by cases only" preference will return the Auto PO behavior back to single item ordering.

Delete Unmarked Items
To remove unmarked items from the results pane, click the Delete Unmarked button. This is useful if you want to print the item list. Deleting unmarked items also makes it easier to review the remaining items.

Generate Purchase Orders
When all items have been marked/unmarked as needed, click Generate Marked. Only marked items will be included on the generated purchase order(s). In the example below, the four unmarked items will NOT be included in the generated purchase order.
Auto PO proposed item list with four unmarked items
A confirmation explains that purchase orders will be generated for all items that match the current filter. Click OK.
While the process is running, users will see a progress indicator at the top of the screen.

Review Generated Purchase Orders
Use PO Lookup to find and display the generated purchase orders.In the Purchase Order Lookup screen, select the desired PO and click OK. In the Filter area, users can select filter elements and define filter criteria to limit the search results to specific purchase orders.
PO Lookup for auto-generated purchase orders

When the user clicks OK, the purchase order is displayed.
Sample Marked For purchase order:
Sample auto-generated marked-for purchase order

To view the allocations for a multi-store purchase order, click the Show Allocation button. The allocations for stores on the Marked For PO are displayed in the lower pane.
Sample Store Allocations on auto-generated purchase order:
Auto PO Review allocations screen