Systems are great, it is the dirty people who are the problem
says my interviewee. I’m meeting with customers and experienced industry insiders who have been at the dirty end of the Purchase Order Systems in their companies.
I’m trying to find out what would make the perfect Purchase Order System. I could claim that we have one, but of course, I’d be telling a lie. Every week we craft our product to do its little, important, job, very well:
Manage purchasing in medium-sized companies.
So what are the common, dirty workarounds that clever employees use in order to get their job done, even if they do it not quite in the way the company manual talked about?
- Buying something without a PO. It is the most common workaround. It is no real surprise here. There is nothing in it for the busy employee. They just want to get on with the job.
- Raising a purchase order with 1 cent as the amount. This is almost as clever as not raising a PO at all, but can still snarl up payment on the other end.
- Using a PO number that has already been used is another ploy used by suppliers and/or employees looking to fast-track the process.
- Adding extras to an existing PO without approval: Capital projects are particularly tricky. Let’s take a construction job for example. Labour may be waiting on site but getting approval often means going all the way up to the top. This can take time, leading to wasted resources on the ground. Extra charges that come up during larger jobs can cause more delays in payment. Artwork or delivery charges are often added after the fact, requiring the line manager to approve the extra expenses.
- Pushing PO’s to the next financial reporting period: At the end of the financial year, managers delay receiving goods until the next reporting period in order to avoid going over budget. This is fine but means there is a distorted financial view of the performance for that period.