Sales Order Processing
A series of blog posts explaining how to use the Sales Order Processing features in Avanti

Avanti BusinessSuite Version 4 introduced a whole new, powerful and flexible sales order processing system. In this series of posts we'll cover how to make the most of it in your business. We'll start off by explaining how allocations work.

Part 1 - Allocations

Allocating stock to sales orders is a key function of sales order processing. This enables you to take the stock you have on-hand, allocate it to a customer's order and ensure it isn't sold or allocated to someone else. In Avanti you have two core ways to allocate stock to orders :

1) Automatic allocation - have the system automatically allocate stock to sales orders when you enter an order.
2) Batch allocation - allocate stock to orders in a batch at some point later when all sales order have been entered.

You are not limited to just these two methods however you can decide which method the software will utilise by default. To determine which of these methods you use you can open up Company Preferences from the File menu. Click the Sales Orders option on the left and you have some options on the right.

For the purpose of this post we are interested in the second checkbox, Allocate sales orders to stock automatically. Ticking this checkbox will cause the software to attempt to allocate stock to sales orders as you enter the orders. This is useful if you want to make sure the orders are allocated immediately. If you do not tick this box then stock will not get allocated immediately and you are left to allocate stock to orders yourself later, either in a batch or separately. This is useful if you want to allocate all orders later, particularly useful if you want to allocate stock based on each customer's priority.

Regardless of the default method you choose to allocate stock to sales orders, you can override it manually. For example you choose not to allocate automatically so you do it later in a batch. However for some orders you have to ensure that stock is allocated right away. This can be done quite simply. When entering an order you have an Allocations button. Click this and you can enter the quantity you want to allocate to the item you are entering. By manually entering a quantity to allocate at order entry you can override the default behaviour, whether to manually allocate or deallocate. When making a manual allocation at order entry make sure you click the Confirm Allocation link.

For sales orders that are not allocated immediately, you can use the Process Orders option in the Sales section. This is the hub of SOP in Avanti and can be used to process orders through each stage. However we're specifically covering allocations in this post.

In the Order Processing window you can see all orders that are awaiting allocation using the Include Orders box on the left. Click the Include drop-down and select Orders Awaiting Allocations from the list.

You can now see all orders that need to be allocated, both in full and in part. Highlight the order in the list at the top that you want to allocate and all of it's lines are shown in the list at the bottom. You can allocate all lines on a sales order by clicking the Allocate Order button above the orders list. To allocate individual order lines use the Allocate Line button above the lines list. Click the green arrow next to the button to get a list of options such as Unallocating or entering a specific quantity to allocate.

An important option to automate allocating sales orders in a batch is the Allocation Run button. This will run through each sales order in the current list and allocate available stock to each order. This becomes particularly important if you want to allocate stock to orders based on customer priority. This enables you to ensure that your higher priority customers get the available stock first. To ensure the sales order list is sorted by customer priority, tick the List By Customer Priority box in the Customers box on the left. Once it is listed in the way you want you can click the Allocation Run button. We've covered how to define customer priorities in a previous post.

So that's an overview of how to allocate stock to sales orders using the new SOP system in Avanti Version 4. In the next part we'll look at the back ordering and picking stages of order processing.

Part 2 - Back Orders & Picking

In essense back orders and picking are the 2 non-essential steps in the order processing workflow and they are there to provide status and steps to help your workflow visibility but are entirely optional to use.

Putting an order line on Back Order is useful where you know you cannot fulfil the order right now but may be able to in the near future. This will keep the order active and in-progress. If you do not place an order or order line on Back Order and the Due Date is passed, it will be marked as Unfulfilled instead. Therefore if you want to keep an unfulfilled order or order line active you should place it on Back Order.

You can place an order line on Back Order through the Order Entry window or through the Order Processing window. In the order entry window (whether entering a new sales order or editing an existing) you click the Allocations button on the toolbar with the required line highlighted. In the Allocations pop-up you can then enter the required quantity in the Back Order box as shown below.

To put an order line on Back Order in Order Processing, select the order in the orders list and highlight the required line in the line list at the bottom. Click the Back Order Line button to put the line on Back Order. To put a specific quantity on Back Order, click the green arrow to the right of the button to get the drop-down and enter the quantity in the Qty Back Order box. You can also cancel a back order by selecting the Cancel Back Order option on the Back Order drop-down.

To see a list of back orders you can use the Include Orders drop-down (shown below) and select the Back Orders option to see the full list of back orders.

Picking is a simple step in the order processing workflow. Available only in the Order Processing window you can use either the Pick Order or Pick Line buttons in their respective toolbars. Select the Pick Line button to just pick the highlighted order line. As with Back Orders you can click the green down-arrow at the side of the button to see a drop-down menu and select to pick a specific quantity or to cancel a quantity previously picked.

To see a list of orders that have not yet been picked you can click the Orders Awaiting Picking option on the Include Orders drop-down. If you want to see a list of sales orders that have already been picked (within the other criteria defined) you can select the Picked Orders option from the same drop-down (shown below).

The Picking List report is also a very useful tool in the picking workflow step. This is available from the Sales section Reports menu or from Reports > Sales on the main menu.

We hope this helps you take advantage of the optional Back Order and Picking steps in the Sales Order Processing workflow. In the next post in the series we'll take a look at Dispatching and Delivery Notes.

Part 3 - Dispatching

In this post we discuss the dispatching phase of the process.

While dispatching orders is no more difficult or indepth than allocating or picking it does involve a lot more moving parts in the background. When dispatching, delivery notes are generated for the goods being dispatched and, as you would expect, the stock is reduced.

As with picking, dispatching orders is carried out from the Order Processing window which is available by clicking the Process Orders button in the Sales section (or selecting Tasks > Sales > Process Sales Orders from the main menu).

In the Order Processing window you can use the Include drop-down box on the left to see the sales orders which are now ready to dispatch. Simply select the Orders Awaiting Dispatch option from the list and the orders list will be filled with the relevent sales orders.

As with Allocating and Picking you now have the option to select to Dispatch an entire order or an individual line on an order. To dispatch a complete sales order, highlight it in the orders list and click the Dispatch Order button in the toolbar above the orders list at the top. To dispatch an individual line, highlight the relevent line and click the Dispatch Line button in the toolbar above the order lines list.

It is important to note the quantities that are assigned for dispatch when you click one of the Dispatch buttons. If a quantity is already set as Allocated on the line, the quantity automatically assigned to be Dispatched will be the same as the Allocated quantity. If no Allocated quantity is set, the software will attempt to perform the allocation, the picking and the dispatch step all in one process. If you have set the system to work on a strict stock control setting, it can only do this for the stock which is available, otherwise it will always do it for the full outstanding order quantity.

If you want to define a Dispatch quantity on a line other than what is automatically assigned by the software, click the green arrow to the right of the Dispatch Line button and enter the quantity you want into Qty Dispatched box. Please note that you cannot cancel an already saved dispatch quantity (as a Delivery Note record has been created for it, as we'll discuss shortly) and you cannot enter a quantity higher than what is available in stock (unless you have set to a non-strict stock control).

As with all stages of processing, the dispatch quantity changes that will be processed when you save are shown in the This Session band on the right in the order lines list. The quantities that they will be changed to once saved are displayed in the Order Status band on the left.

When you have processed any dispatches on any line on any order and you click one of the Save buttons, the software will go away and begin creating Delivery Notes and reducing the stock. To show you what it is doing and the Delivery Notes it is generating, the software displays the Processing orders window when it starts saving.

As shown in the screenshot above, the Delivery Notes that are generated are listed for you to see. You can then drill-down further to view any Deliver Note by clicking the magnifying glass to the left of the one you want. You can also print or email any of the generated Delivery Notes by clicking the printer icon next to it. If you close the window you can display it again to see all processing performed in the current window by clicking the View Processing button in the main toolbar.

When a Delivery Note is generated for an order the software adds an Order Dispatch & Invoice Info section in the Status panel next to both the orders list and the order lines list. Therefore when you highlight an order that has been dispatched you will see the delivery note(s) that were processed for it and for individual lines you can see the delivery note(s) that the item was processed on.

Delivery Notes are a first class citizen in Avanti Version 4 and they can have their own document layouts through the Document Designer just like any other type of transaction. They also have their own view in the main Sales section so you can see a list of generated delivery notes. Simply click the Delivery Notes button as shown below.

That just about covers dispatching in Avanti Sales Order Processing. In the next post in this series we'll cover the final step in processing sales orders - invoicing.

Part 4 - Invoicing

In this post we'll cover the last stage of sales order processing, invoicing.

Invoicing your sales orders is just as straightforward as any other stage of order processing, if not simpler. Fundamentally the invoicing stage is all about raising invoices based on the order lines that you have dispatched on selected orders. More specifically you are invoicing delivery notes that you have raised when you dispatched.

As with all stages of order processing, select the Process Orders button from the Sales section or select Tasks > Sales > Process Sales Orders from the main menu. Once in the Order Processing window, you can get a list of the orders that are at the stage to be invoiced (either in part or in full) by selecting the Orders Awaiting Invoicing option from the drop-down list using the Include box on the left.

To invoice your sales orders you use the Invoice Order button which is placed in the toolbar above the sales orders list. Notice that, unlike allocating, picking or dispatching, there is no equivalent button on the order lines toolbar. This is simply because when you invoice an order you are not invoicing individual lines or quantities but instead, as already mentioned, you are invoicing the lines and quantities that you have already dispatched and more specifically the actual delivery notes have already been raised. We discussed dispatching and delivery notes in the previous post in this series.

When you click the Invoice Order button, the software automatically selects the quantities that have already been dispatched and puts them into the Invoiced/Invoice columns for the lines on the order. When you then click one of the Save buttons to process the invoice, the software looks at the delivery note(s) that already exists (and haven't already been invoiced) for the order and processes those line-by-line into a new invoice. It is important to note that this includes delivery notes raised previously AND those that are raised in the same session as you are invoicing.

It is very important to be aware that when you select to save after invoicing an order, the software will invoice ALL delivery notes for the order (that haven't already been invoiced) and puts all lines from those delivery notes onto the same invoice. Therefore you can have multiple delivery notes on the same invoice, a flexible feature that many customers love. However some customers may prefer one-invoice-per-delivery-note and if this is the case for you, you will need to make sure that you invoice your delivery notes before you do any more dispatches for the same order and it is advisable that you carry out your dispatches in separate sessions from your invoicing eg do your dispatching, Save and then do your invoicing (or vice versa). Please note : We do have plans to provide options to make it much easier for users who want to ensure one-invoice- per-delivery-note to be able to enforce this way of processing.

When you Save, the software will process invoices for the selected sales orders and will display them in the Invoices list on the right of the Processing window. When all invoices have been recorded and processed, you have the options to drill-down to view the generated invoices and to print or email them.

As we mentioned in the previous post about dispatching, delivery notes for each order (and order line) are displayed on the right-hand status panels. Where a delivery note has been invoiced, you will see it's invoice number displayed next to it. You can click the invoice number to lookup the details of the relevent invoice.

That's really how simple it is to invoice your sales orders to complete the processing. Once an order is fully invoiced it is considered to be complete and is no longer an Active order.

That pretty much covers the invoicing stage of sales order processing. In the next post in this series we're going to cover how to deal with part processing orders.