Purchase order approval workflow in Google Sheets

As new departments are constantly requesting new purchase orders to keep their operations flowing smoothly, the entire purchase order approval process can become complex and difficult to manage efficiently. With a purchase order approval workflow, you can easily keep on top of new order requests and track approvals all in one place, thus reducing the turnaround time for everyone involved.

Purchase order approval workflows are able to streamline the entire PO process across multiple departments in any organization. For example, let’s say I’m the PO manager for my entire company. Using a purchase order approval workflow, I can receive multiple order requests per day from various departments such as Sales, Marketing, or HR. I can then manage approvals from one place, determine which order requests to send to the suppliers, and finally track the fulfilled orders.

Let’s take a look in more detail at what a purchase order approval workflow is, and how you can implement one into your operations in just 12 easy steps.

What is purchase order approval?

A purchase order is an official document that represents a contract between supplier and buyer of purchased goods. Purchase order approval is the entire process it takes to go from requesting an order, all the way to sending it to the supplier and tracking the fulfilled purchase back to your company.

Every order request must be checked by the assigned approver, which can be a PO manager or even stakeholders (depending on your business). They can approve or deny a request, and then all approved requests become the official purchase order that is sent to the supplier.

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How does a purchase order approval process work?

Although the purchase order approval process has many different steps, it’s quite a straightforward sequence.

Firstly, team members will request to purchase item(s) in the form of an order request. This is then received by the approver, who can either approve or reject the request.

If approved, the order request is sent to the supplier immediately, who fulfills the request and delivers the order to the company.

Sheetgo Purchase order approval workflow

The Sheetgo purchase order approval workflow differs from others because it automates the entire process from start to finish. The pre-built system consists of 4 Sheetgo forms, which are connected to the main spreadsheet – the Purchase order database. As a result, you have a form-based approval workflow that automatically records and sends your purchase data to the relevant team member.

Various departments can submit their PO request via a Sheetgo form. The assigned approver is automatically notified of each new request by email and can approve or deny the request using another Sheetgo form. Sheetgo then takes the data from the PO request form and transfers it to the dynamic tabs located in the Purchase order document template.

As a result, Sheetgo automatically generates the official PO document for all approved orders into a PDF. Then, this can be sent directly to the supplier. In order to complete the workflow, the requester must then fill out a form to state they have received the order from the supplier.

Why use purchase order approval?

With a purchase order approval workflow, a company can manage all of its purchase orders across multiple departments in one place. What’s more, they can significantly streamline the turnaround time from order requests to order fulfillment.

With the Sheetgo purchase order approval workflow, you experience even more benefits for your business. Here are just a few:

  • Fully-automated workflow: Sheetgo automates the entire process from start to finish, for a streamlined, efficient operation that requires minimal effort on your part.
  • Input data easily with Sheetgo forms: The Sheetgo forms allow various members of your team to easily submit new data at any time, any place. What’s more, Sheetgo automatically transfers this data into other connections for you!
  • Automatic Doc and PDF generation: There’s no need to manually create a new document for every new order request. Sheetgo automatically generates your documents and turns them into PDF that are ready to share.
  • Gmail integration: Automatically send a document or PDF to its recipient with the Gmail integration in Sheetgo. Sheetgo will automatically pull the email data from your spreadsheets and send each new document to its corresponding recipient.
  • Scalable workflow: When your business grows, so can your workflow. The Sheetgo workflows are easily customizable and buildable to suit your needs.
  • Receive the latest insights on the Dashboard: Get real-time insights with a variety of metrics at your fingertips. Use these to optimize your management and make important business decisions for the future.

Now we know the benefits of the Sheetgo Purchase order approval workflow and exactly how it works, here’s a step-by-step on how to install the purchase workflow and effectively use it in your own business operations.

How to set up a purchase order approval workflow

1. Install the Purchase order with approval template by Sheetgo

To access the purchase order approval workflow by Sheetgo, click the blue button below.

Once opened inside Sheetgo, click Install template.

If it is the first time you are installing a template using the Gmail integration, you may have to authorize the use of your Gmail account via Sheetgo.

Once you have authorized the use of Gmail in Sheetgo, the Sheetgo web app will open up on the Overview section of your new system.

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2. Remove sample data from the spreadsheet

In order to add your own data to the workflow, you first need to delete the sample data found within the Purchase order database. In the Workflow section, click the Files tab and open the Purchase order database. Whilst keeping all columns intact, delete all the sample data within the white cells only.

You can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + arrow down to easily select all the cells. Then, press delete.

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Please note: It’s extremely important that you only delete the data from the white cells in the approval sheets. The colored cells perform specific functions within the workflow, so they should not be edited.

For more information, visit our Sheetgo forms support page.

3. Customize the purchase order document template

The purchase order document template is a Google Doc ready to be customized to create your own purchase orders. It already contains the dynamic tabs needed to automatically transfer the data from an order request to the template to create an official document.

However, you can customize certain elements of the template specific to your company e.g. company logo, company address, etc.

To do this, simply navigate to Workflow > Files tab > Purchase order document.

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4. Edit workflow details

The system is designed to have one person in control of the entire workflow – this is the approver. The approver is the person who is responsible for approving all purchase order requests and editing the connections correctly. This includes editing the sharing processes in the two workflows that make up this system.

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Step 1: Send PO to approval

In order to send the order request directly to the assigned approver, you must edit the connection.

Start by heading to the Workflow menu and selecting the Connections tab. Then, click the More options (⋮) button in the Send PO to approval. Select the Edit option.

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Expand the Generate section of the connection. Here you can add the email address of the assigned approver. Select the Use custom recipients option and add the approver’s email address. Now, whenever an order request is submitted, the approver will be the one notified via email.

Furthermore, you can also edit the sample email request for the purchase order, to create a customized order request. Use the dynamic tags to create an email that suits your needs. Sheetgo will later replace these with the dynamic data of the order requests.

Once you’re happy with the edit, press Finish and save.

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Step 2: Generate and send approved PO

The approver can also edit the Generate and send approved PO connection so that any approved order request is sent directly to the supplier as a PDF.

To do this, head back to the Workflow menu and select the Connections tab. Then, click the More options (⋮) button in the Generate and send approved PO. Select the Edit option.

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Expand the Share section of the connection. To send an approved PO request to the corresponding supplier email address, make sure the Get dynamically from column button is selected.

Then, from the dropdown menu below, choose the column in your database that contains the supplier email addresses.In this case, it’s column I. You can also edit other aspects of the email, including the subject line.

Once you’re happy with the result, click Save changes.

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5. Register suppliers

In order to begin submitting and receiving order requests, you must first register all of your supplier data using Sheetgo forms.

Under the Forms tab, select Register supplier and submit a form full of data for every supplier. Sheetgo will automatically transfer this data into the Suppliers tab of the Order purchase database.

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6. Share the workflow

Now that everything is set up, it’s time to share the workflow with your team members who will want to request purchase orders for their department.

To share the workflow, head to the Overview, select Share settings and enter the email addresses. Once finished, press Done.

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7. Input order request data into the Sheetgo form

Whenever any team member needs to request an order, they should head to the Forms tab and select Register order.

Once filled in correctly and submitted, Sheetgo will automatically transfer the data to the main spreadsheet and notify the approver of the order via email.

Start tracking your order requests automatically

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8. Fill out Approve order form

The approver will receive an email for every new order request submitted. In the email, the approver will be navigated to the Approve order form, where they can either approve or deny the request.

If approved, the dynamic data from the form will be transferred to the purchase order document template, to create an official document.

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9. Send PDF to supplier

The official purchase order request document will then be converted into a PDF automatically by Sheetgo.

If the approver has edited the connection as shown in step 4, then this PDF will be sent directly to the supplier’s email address.

10. Fill out Receive order form

The purchase order request document should be received by the supplier, who should then send out your order.

Once the order has been delivered and received by your company, the original requester must fill out and submit the Receive order form under the Forms menu. This will update the main spreadsheet and keep the purchase order metrics up-to-date.

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11. Schedule automatic updates

In order to keep the Purchase workflow as up-to-date as possible, you can schedule automatic updates within the Sheetgo app. Within the Workflow, select the Automate icon at the bottom of the screen. Make sure that the Run automatically button is on. Here, you can customize the automation settings, including the days and hours.

Once you’re happy with your schedule, click Save.

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12. Check the Dashboard

You will be able to find all the latest insights into the purchase order processes by clicking on the Dashboard menu.

Here, you can view valuable metrics such as the pending orders to approve, pending orders to receive, and complaints per supplier.

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Our spreadsheet-based solution was designed to automate not only your purchase orders, but all your supply chain management: Inventory management, bill of materials, purchase order, packing and shipping, and invoice generation. In addition, you can integrate it to other departments to automate all areas of your business.

Take advantage of our spreadsheet-based supply chain solution  to unlock all the benefits of ERP systems at a fraction of the price.

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