Managing sales orders on Stock-Tracker
What are the various types of order available on Stock-Tracker?
Stock Tracker has a number of different types of order available to use depending on what is on the order and at what stage the order is at. The different order types are:-
An enquiry is a way for you to take down notes and store them for future reference. They are particularly helpful if a customer has requested product information which you need to make note of or just for the purpose of recording a customers interest in a product or service. You can create a new enquiry from the Fire->New->Enquiry menu option.
A quote is viewed and edited like a normal order but saving it as a quote* makes it instantly recognisable in your outstanding orders screen and the customer’s current orders screen. Once you’ve saved a quote you can print or email it to the customer. Quotes are normally valid for a certain period, this can be set in the Advanced Settings by your system administrator although you can add notes to a quote if you wish to extend or shorten this.
A quote can be created from the File->Quote menu option. Please note that saving a quote allocates stock against the order.
* If whilst processing a quote the ‘accept this order’ button is pressed (rather than saving the quote) the status of the quote will change to a live order.
There are a mumber of different statuses available for sales orders within Stock-Tracker. These statuses are managed automatically by the system based on the status of the products added to the order. The different sales order statuses are:
- Back order – All or some of the product has to be back-ordered from the supplier into your warehouse for onward delivery. The products are for a specific customer order
- Supplier Direct Delivery – Similar to a back order but the goods are sent directly to the customer via the supplier’s or your own transport company.
- Stock Order – All or some of the product is being taken from stock. If the stock isn’t available the order will wait for replenishment before automatically releasing the order.
- Service Order – This order type means there are no products on the order so no stock is required. A service order can have additional statuses defined by you so you can specify at what stage the order is.
How do I create a new order?
Step 1 – Creating the order
To create a new order you should click the ‘New Order’ menu option on the left hand tool bar. This will bring up the starting screen which features a number of fields.
Warehouse / stock list
This is the stock list you will use to allocate any stock items which will go on the order. Another way to put it, it’s the warehouse where the stock will be coming from or for back ordered items the warehouse the goods will be going in to.
This is the catalogue (price list) you are ordering the product from. If you are placing an account order (existing customer) and they have been set up to use another catalogue, this value will change when you select their account on the following screen
This allows you to group certain orders together, for example if you have been to a trade show or are running a limited period sale you can group the order taken so you can view them at a later date.
Click Continue to accept these values and carry on with the order.
Step 2 – Entering the order details
The sales order screen is grouped into a customer/delivery area (top left), products being ordered (bottom) and an order values area (top right).
Customer account or counter sale
The first task is to specify the customer for this order. If the order is for an existing customer or you think they may have ordered previously you can enter part of their surname or company name in the white box and either press Enter or click the search button to see the customer search screen.
Use this screen to find an existing customer by entering the search criteria and clicking search. If you find the customer you are looking for, highlight them and click ‘Select’. This will add the customer to the order and set their defaults including delivery address and catalogue. You will also be informed of their account status in the Customer Status, this may include if they are on hold or over their credit limit.
You can create a new customer using the new customer wizard or the quick customer buttons.
This is the Stock Tracker generated reference for this order, it will appear anywhere the order is referred to including on printed or emailed documents.
This is the reference the customer may give you, usually their purchase order number but it can be anything or left blank if not required. You can also search on this reference so if the customer calls to query the order they don’t need to find or remember the Stock Tracker reference.
Step 3 – Entering the delivery details
The top-middle of the screen allows you to select a delivery method and enter the customer’s delivery address.
The delivery method ‘drop down’ list shows all of the delivery methods available, the carrier used and the delivery price. Select from the list or if no delivery is required select None. By changing the delivery method you also change the delivery charge in the Order Totals box on the top right of the screen. You can change the delivery charge by over typing in the ‘Delivery’ box. Click out of the box and you will see the Total value of the order amended.
If you are placing an order for a retailer, you may need to know the store address as well as the delivery address. If this is the case, select the store from the dropdown list. On doing this you’ll be asked if the delivery address is the same as the store, click Yes to copy the store address or no to leave the address as it is
If the customer has ordered from you before their delivery address will be available from the ‘Select Address’ drop down list. Otherwise you can type the delivery address in the boxes provided.
Step 4 – Adding products/items to an order
Items/products which are allocated to an order appear on the bottom half of the screen.
In the example above Wholesale 2010 refers to the catalogue being used for this order. The drop down box can be used to either search for an item or, by clicking the down arrow, viewing a list of all the items in this catalogue.
The second box is the quantity of the selected item you want to add to the order.
To add a product either start typing the product code or enter part of the product description and press enter (or click the Search button). If 1 matching product is found, the quantity will be added to the order. If none or more than 1 matching product is found you will be shown a different screen so you can search again or select the item you are trying to add.
There are a few options available to you from this screen including viewing the product before making your selection. Once happy click select (or double-click) the item to add it to your order.
When you have added items to an order these are shown at the bottom of the sales order screen:
Each column contained within this section is explained below:
|Column||Description||May be Edited?|
|Qty||The quantity of this product||Yes|
|Part Number||The catalogue part number for this product||No|
|Description||The product description||Yes|
|Each||The price per unit||Yes*|
|Disc%||A percentage discount applied to this item||Yes*|
|VAT%||Value Added Tax rate as a percentage||Yes*|
|Total||The total for this line after discount and including VAT||No|
|Back Order||Tick this to back order this item specifically for this order||Yes|
|Supplier Direct||Back order this item and request a direct delivery to the customer||Yes|
|Note||General notes and comments based on the product and availability||No|
*Editing of the information on these columns is dependent on user permissions
Other tabs within this section of the sales order screen include:
The notes section allows you to write freehand notes which relate to the order. This may include sections of text from a customer email or something you need to note for future reference. You can add text, images and hyper-links and make them bold or and vary colours.
The log is a list of key events with a date, time and the person performing the event and can be used to follow the progress of an order. You may also add your own notes to the log when required, for example after contact with the customer or perhaps a supplier. The log is visible to all Stock Tracker users so is invaluable in tracking problems or unusual orders.
The Misc tab contains information that may be less frequently used or viewed. The information includes:-
- Sales Rep and Commission
- Report Group – Allows you to tracj and report on selected groups of orders
- Source – Where the customer heard about your company
- Sales Tag – Used to calculate more advanced sales rep commission or nominal codes
- Delivery Instructions – These will appear on the printed delivery note or EDI
- Acknowledgement Notes – These appear on the customer acknowledgement.
- Import Message – If the order has been imported (from a website) any errors or problems are reported in here.
All these fields are optional and your use of them will depend on your own business processes.
New non-stock Product – This option allows you to add an ‘ad-hoc’ product to Stock Tracker. This may be an item you haven’t ordered before or don’t intent ordering again. It is particularly useful if you resell from multiple suppliers and don’t need to enter their entire stock list. You should use this option with caution and always try to find the item in the current products list first to avoid duplication.
Other Menu options
The following helpful features can be found within the ‘File’ dropdown menu.
- Save As gives you the option to change this order to an Enquiry, Order, Quote or Pro-forma. Depeding on the selection you make the screen may close.
- Copy Order allows you to create a new order which is a duplicate of this one, ideal if a customer wants to place repeat orders.
- Printing a Quote or Proforma will give you the option to Print, Export or Email the document you have selected.
- Accepting an order is covered seperately.
- VOID will cancel this order, remove any allocated stock back into free stock and remove the order from your outstanding orders screen.
The following helpful features can be found within the ‘Options’ dropdown menu.
- View the customer account. If you have selected a customer you will be shown the customer account screen, this screen is covered in detail in another tutorial.
- Clear customer will remove the customer account from this order, reverting to cash sale.
- Take Payment allows you to take part or full payment against this order. Payments are covered in more detail in the accepting an order section.
- Change Branding – If you sell under more than one brand you can change the order’s branding. This will alter the company details including logo’s that appear on any printed or email material (acknowledgement, invoice etc) you send the customer.
The following helpful features can be found within the ‘Order Items’ dropdown menu.
- The Order Items menu contains features specific to the selected order line or lines. Delete and Delete all will remove order lines from the order.
- View Product will take you to the product screen where you can see all the information available about that product including images, dimensions, stock levels and locations.
- Add Ring-fenced Product – This option allows you to add a specific ‘ring-fenced’ product rather than just taking the next one from a stock pile. This may be used for seconds or clearance items which have already been set up and may have a different sale price.
- New non-stock Product – This option allows you to add an ‘ad-hoc’ product to Stock Tracker. This may be an item you haven’t ordered before or don’t intent ordering again. It is particularly useful if you resell from multiple suppliers and don’t need to enter their entire stock list. You should use this option with caution and always try to find the item in the current products list first to avoid duplication.
- Calculate Net is a tool you can use when you only know the inclusive price of an item. For example your customer may barter a one-off price with you for a product and the price is inclusive of VAT. You can enter the inclusive price into the ‘Each’ box, then click this menu option to calculate the Net price.
Step 5 – Accepting the order
When you are happy with the order you ‘accept’ it. This performs a number of actions in the background as well as prompting you to make decisions about what should next happen to the order.
In the first instance Stock-Tracker will make a few checks, such as if the customer account is on stop, or for example, if a discount has been applied which is not standard. Stock-Tracker will then raise an invoice for the order (depending on admin settings) which payments are taken against.
Confirming payment for an order
Following the checks your next action is to take payment for the order. You can only accept an order once it is paid for IN FULL by one of the methods shown.
The customer payment screen shows the value of the order, any payments already taken and the outstanding amount to pay. On this screen you have a number of options to select from:
- Cash – Cash payment taken
- Card – A credit card has been used to pay for the order, you enter the card details for processing at a later stage or if you have a terminal from your bank you may choose to take the card payment immediately.
- Account – Only available for customers with a credit account. This will mark the order as paid in full on account and will transfer the order/invoice to the credit control screen.
- Cheque – As with cash
- Bank Transfer – The order has been paid for by bank transfer.
- Online payment – The payment has been made online, usually via your website.
Once accepted you have the option to print or email acknowledgements and you can also specify how and when the stock is allocated to the order.
Here you can print or email an order acknowledgement, invoice or receipt.
- Sale Complete – If the customer has the product already (trade counter order etc) then you can simple complete the order as no further action is required to satisfy the customer.
- Send To Pick Screen – If the product isn’t already with the customer it will be sent to the picking screen (or 3rd party via EDI).
- You also have the option to print a pick and/or delivery note at this stage. Useful if you are going to pick and despatch the order yourself.
Warehouse / stock list
Here you can specify where the stock is to be allocated from. Changing the warehouse will refresh the status underneath to tell you if the order can be completed fully.
In some instances you may not have enough stock to immediately complete the order. If this is the case you have 3 options available.
- Allocate from stock when received – This option will mark the order as ‘Awaiting Stock’. Every-time goods in are received or a stock adjustment alters the stock levels Stock Tracker will check all ‘Awaiting stock’ orders and will allocate where possible. This is done on an oldest order first basis.
- Back-order – This option will add the short product to the back-order pending list. Next time you raise a new back order (this could be daily or weekly) this product will be ordered and allocated to this specific order.
- Allocate From Other Warehouses –This option is only available if Stock Tracker has been set up to use multiple warehouses. If you select this option, stock will be taken from other warehouses as required to fulfil the order. This may result in multiple picking notes being produced
If the order is already fully allocated from stock then this option is ignored.
If you have a number of items being either back-ordered or awaiting stock you can set a preference for how the product is released.
- Whole Order – This option will make Stock Tracker wait until ALL stock has been received before releasing the entire order for picking.
- Part Order – This option will release part of the order as and when it is received*
The choice you make here will have an impact on your costs and customer service. While the customer may be happier to receive their order in parts as soon as possible, this may increase your delivery costs as you make more than one delivery to the customer.
Once happy with all your choices click continue and Stock Tracker will allocate the stock and set the appropriate status for this order.
* It is recommended to select the whole order option as this will prevent multiple release of products (and multiple carrier charges) when an order consists of numerous products that are not in stock.
Viewing the order after it has been accepted
When a sale has been accepted, viewing the order gives you a slightly different screen with a few more options and a few restrictions.
The front screen shows the main order details, who the order is for and what has been ordered. You will also see a colour status box telling you the current status of the order.
On the right there is a check list so you can see at a glance what has happened with this order and what actions are still outstanding. For a more detailed look at the order status you can view the product status tab, this screen (which can be customised to your requirements) gives you detail about the specific items of stock allocated to the order. In the most simple cases it will be on a single delivery from a single warehouse but in some cases you may be delivering stock from different warehouse, some items may be on back order, some awaiting stock etc.
Can I edit an order that has been accepted?
Once an order is accepted, the stock will be allocated or ordered depending on your operation, an invoice may also have been raised and or posted to the customer. As such, editing the product and quantities is restricted.
If you do need to change the ordered items you do have the option of reverting the order to a status of ‘Being Taken’. This action will unallocated any stock and return you to the order entry screen which will allow you to change anything required. Once happy you can accept the order in the normal way. To change the status of an order use the File -> Change Status -> Being Taken menu option.
If I edit an order what happens to the stock / supplier purchase order?
By changing the status of an order back to ‘Being Taken’ then any stock associated with the order will be allocated back into ‘free stock’.
However, if the stock associated with an order is on back order from the supplier, or the stock is to be delivered directly from the supplier then you will have the option to leave the product on the supplier purchase order and bring it into stock OR cancel the order from the supplier purchase order.
As indicated on the pop-up if the purchase order has already been sent to the supplier then it is important you notify them of this change. Changes to purchase orders are not automatically sent to suppliers.
What do the differing order statuses mean?
All orders have a status which tells you at what stage the order is. It’s a quick way to see at a glance what orders require attention and those which are progressing as expected. A full list of the statuses and their description can be found below:-
|Status||Explanation||How To Set This Status|
|VOID||Order void||View any order and change the status from the menu bar|
|Cancelled||Similar to void but specifies the customer has cancelled the order.||View any order and change the status from the menu bar|
|Quote||The order is a quote||Save any order which is still being taken as a quote from the menu bar|
|Enquiry||This is an enquiry||Save any order which is still being taken as an enquiry from the menu bar|
|Imported Order||If you are importing order from your website the order status is set to imported order so you can review all items before accepting the order.||Set automatically when an order is imported using the import/export manager|
|Being Taken||The order is being taken or being entered but is not yet a complete or accepted order. It is essentially at a draft stage.||Once an order is accepted you cam revert to ‘being taken’ from the menu bar|
|On Hold – Pro-forma||This order isn’t accepted but is awaiting a pro-forma payment before stock is allocated or ordered||Before you accept this order save as Pro-forma|
|Accepted||The order has been accepted. By reaching this status the order will appear on reports, stock will be allocated and back ordered product will be ready to add to your next back order.||Click the ‘Tick’ on an order still being taken or a quote|
|Service Accepted||If the order is made up entirely of ‘services’ it’s status changes to this status. Further status’s for this order are set manually and defined in the advanced settings screen||As above but if the order only contains services the order will change to this status|
|Part Allocated||This order status mean the order has been accepted but not all the product has been allocated. This status will only occur if you manually deallocate stock from this order.||By manually unallocating product from an accepted order.|
|Stock Allocated||The stock has been successfully allocated to this order. This stage is normally skipped as an order will generally go to the picking screen.||Happens automatically when the stock for an order is completely allocated or when an order on hold is released|
|Awaiting Stock||This order is waiting for stock replenishment before it can be release to the warehouse for picking. When new stock is received, any orders awaiting stock are checked and where possible released.||Set by Stock Tracker if an accepted order is still waiting for arrival of stock or when an order on hold is released|
|Stock Received In Full||This status means all the stock has been allocated to this order so it is ready do be picked and/or dispatched to the customer.||Set automatically when all stock for this order is both allocated and in stock or when an order on hold is released|
|Picked||The product has been picked||Changes when the pick note on the goods out screen is changed to picked|
|Packed||The product has been packed||Change swhen the pick note on the goods out screen is changed to packed|
|Dispatched||The order has been dispatched||Changes when the pick note on the goods out screen is changed to despatched|
|Complete||The order is complete, the product is with the customer||Marking an order as delivered / with customer.|
|On Hold||You can place an order on hold at any point, this takes it out of the normal sequence of events until you release the order. On Hold can be due to proforma payment being required, the order has been disputed by the customer or any other reason.||From the order screen’s menu bar. Select the reason for the order being on hold.|
|Return Open||This return is pending||From the returns screen menu bar|
|Return Authorised||The return of an item by the customer has been authorised.||From the returns screen menu bar|
How do I change the status of an order?
Changing the status of an order can be done automatically by Stock Tracker (for example when stock is received), or manually by you. To see the options available click the File->Change Status menu drop down.
|Being Taken||Revert this order back to the order entry stage, this will also remove allocated stock|
|Put On Hold / Proforma Payment Requried||Put this order on hold, it will not be released automatically by Stock Tracker|
|Disputed||Similar to On Hold but indicated the order is under dispute by the customer|
|Take Off Hold / Release Order||Depending on your company settings, this will release all or part of the order if stock is allocated and available and send it to the picking screen (or 3rd party carrier via EDI)|
|Cancel Order||Cancel this order and return any stock to free stock|
|Service Order Complete / Sales Order Complete||Mark this order as complete / delivered in full. This setting will mark all allocated stock as Delivered / With Customer.|
Can I add notes to an order?
Yes, a notes section is available next to the Order Items tab.
The notes section is a free text area where you can enter any text you like including hyperlinks, and images. If this order started out as an enquiry which was converted into an order, the enquiry details would appear in this box.
Does Stock-Tracker log changes to an order?
Yes, a log is created automatically and is a vital tool for understanding the history of an order. Stock-Tracker adds to this log whenever an action is taken and you can also manually add information by entering text in the relevant box and clicking Add. To ensure the integrity of the information recorded log’s cannot be edited or deleted.
The order log can be found next to the Order Items tab.
Can I add delivery instructions or acknowledgement notes to an order?
Yes, both of these can be added via the Misc tab on the order screen:
Any delivery notes entered into this section will be printed out on delivery notes (oe ED’s sent to carriers).
Any acknowledgement notes entered into this section will only appear on the printed or emailed acknowledgement.
How do I handle customer returns?
If a customer has cancelled an order or wants to return an item that has already been shipped this can be handled using the New Return section of the original customer order.
You should firstly select the order in question and then click file->New Return
When the New Return option is selected a pop up will appear this will display the original order number, customer details, original catalogue and also details of the items being returned. All of these details are editable.
Within the table section of the pop up you will need to enter the quantity of the items on the order to be returned (this maybe all of the items or a selection).
Once the pop up is populated you will be taken to the return summary screen. There are 3 main tabs on this screen:
Return summary tab
This section includes the following fields:
Returns # – This is the pre-populated returns note number (and is not editable).
Status – This dropdown box allows you to select either open (i.e. when the return is requested by the customer but not yet authorised) and Authorised.
Customer fields – These will be pre-populated from the original sales order but can be edited.
Reason – The reason for the return should be entered into this section. Once a reason has been entered this will be available for re-use within the dropdown box on future returns.
Customer Comments – This is a free text section. Any notes recorded here will show on the returns note.
Admin comments – Any notes recorded in this section are private and cannot be read by the customer.
Collection details tab
This section shows information relating to the collection status of the return.
Collection Required tickbox – This is for information only and if ticked by the user will show that a collection is required for future reference.
Status – This dropdown box includes the following statuses – Advised, this means that your carrier has been advised / Not Required, a collection is not required / Collected, the return(s) have been collected
Address – This is the address from which the return will be collected
Returned to – This is the warehouse where the collection should be returned to.
Original order details tab
This tab shows the original order details against which the return is being raised.
Once you have checked and confirmed the return details you can print and email return notes, credit notes and collection notes by clicking the file tab at the top of the page.
To raise a credit note for the customer or put the returned items back into stock you should click the tools tab at the top of the page.
Further details on credit notes can be found within the invoicing section of this guide.
When you click the ‘put items back into stock’ option, a pop up will appear which will allow you to record the value of the stock and also its condition (first / second / third) and also the action to be taken with the stock (return to stock / quarantine / scrap).
Once confirmed the stock will be allocated accordingly and the return will be closed.