Purchasing management software varies in complexity. Which product to use depends upon the needs of the organization using the product. Some programs simply offer automated tracking and inventory control. Other products also provide features such as continually updated status reports on inventory, sales, and acquisitions.
Some of the simplest types of purchasing management software are available online as free downloads. These products can provide services such as request for quote (RFQ), the ability to list items for purchase, and inventory tracking capabilities. Some programs are set up so that orders can be made directly from them.
More complex types of purchasing management software can offer additional services. One common area is purchasing and inventory control, such as finding new vendors. They can also provide features which help a company to manage existing vendors.
There are also purchasing management software programs which manage the entire solicitation process. This can include processing and organizing requests for proposal (RFP) and other documents related to acquisition and negotiations. Some programs also give the user the ability to compare different vendors.
A common feature of purchasing management software is the ability to copy old purchase orders (POs) when re-ordering frequently used items. Some products can be programed to automatically make certain orders on a regular basis. There are also programs that can save PO templates for the most commonly used vendors.
Some types of purchasing management software have the ability to create databases of vendor information. These can either be entered manually or updated automatically as soon as an order is made to a new vendor. There are also products which will use auto fill to complete PO forms once a vendor’s information has been entered for the first time.
Purchasing management software is typically programmed so that several users can track activity. This is primarily so that issues such as neglecting to order or ordering too much stock can be avoided. Some programs allow users in remote locations to track purchasing.
Other programs will also automatically keep track of inventory levels so that the customer will not need to manually create low inventory level reports. Features such as auto fill can further expedite the process of ordering by automatically filling in which items and in what amount need to be ordered. With some products, this can be accomplished by pressing one button, while others require a bit more data entry.
There are both portable and desktop versions of these programs available. The portable versions can be useful for location work. They are especially helpful for workers tracking stock where inventory is stored.