I think that @Abeiku is also on the right track with regards to sales orders. I think converting a sales order to an invoice is not enough as you may only be invoicing a part of the sales order. Fully agree with this. There needs to be a progress chart similar to the picture he posted. So we need to be able to part invoice from a sales order.
I don’t know if this logic could be or even should be applied to sales quotes. Technically the client could only order part of the quote. But I believe that recommended practice is for the business to cancel the first quote and issue a new quote with the client’s latest request?
I think that this progress bar is something that we didn’t even realise that we were missing in Manager. There is no way currently to keep track of what has been delivered and what is still to be ordered etc.
So I am in full agreement. Having the ability to track the progress of an order from company purchasing goods, to company delivering goods and then invoicing goods needs to be factored in. @lubos I did not fully understand what you were saying about projects until I reread abeiku’s post. - I think progress of an order is perhaps more relevant.
I will explain in an example that I currently have in real world use.
My client requests a quote for network cabling, installation of five projectors and five pull down screens.
I will order the screens from my cabling contractor and he will supply those pull down screens, plus do all the cabling. I will order the projectors from another supplier.
So my client pays me, I pay one supplier for the projectors and my cabling company for both the pull down screens and the network cabling. So talking about projects here is slightly different from the sales order process that I am talking about above. The above is more about tracking where I am with the sales process - what needs to be ordered, delivered etc. The Project management here would be more about me being able to see what profit I am making on that particular project.
So I am not seeing sales progress as being the same thing as project profit calculation?
No the starting point needs to be sales Quotes. You may not use them, but many companies, myself included use Sales Quotes to er quote the client. This is the starting point as quotes need to be converted to sales orders. I don’t think that this represents a problem. The bulk of the complexity of this topic will come with the sales and purchase orders not the quotes. The quotes largely will not link with anything other than the sales order.
My understanding of tracking codes was that Lubos was intending to make tracking codes handle divisions such as New York and London and implement something separate for project management. I don’t think that tracking codes should be used for project management. Keep it for divisions such as Cabling or Computers or New York and London scenario not specific customer orders.
I can see the point of including the serial numbers factor for inventory if there is going to be a link between ordering equipment from supplier to deliver to client. Serial Numbers would be particularly relevant here.
The first step is to adjust data entry forms so sales orders, sales quotes, sales invoices and delivery notes can be properly linked up. Right now it is controlled by free form fields which is not enough.
So the latest version (21.4.45) changes Order number field so instead of entering arbirtary text, there is dropdown to select an actual sales order which invoice relates to.
Once you link sales order to sales invoice, under Sales Orders tab there will be new column called Invoiced
Invoiced represents total sales invoices linked to specific sales order. So you can see at glance which orders have been invoiced and how much.
This is just the first step but eventually this will lead to automatic Status column which can give definitive answer which orders are fulfilled and which have pending tasks (e.g. deliver goods to customer, make invoice etc.)
We can also add another column called Costs which can represent expenses incurred on sales order. This would allow to show profit etc. So sales orders could be good mechanism for job-costing as well.
I think that this is a good direction to go down. the “costs” column and the invoiced columns represents two very different things and probably will be used by different departments. The first is about assessing profit per project and the second is partially about managing the sales funnel in that you can see what has been invoiced and by how much.
I am assuming that you will be using the Manager green, orange and red to dictate closed, current open and overdue open statuses. Perhaps cancelled can be grey. It needs to be colour coded making it easy to see what is open and closed similar to how invoices in Manager work.
I was thinking that you would do quotes first, but thinking about it, i suspect that it would be easier to work with orders first and essentially work backwards to quotes as the order is probably central to the linking.
I will upgrade my live version when I have fully tested this on my test version. One question I can see cropping up. If the Sales orders are currently free text, what will happen to all the data in that field in previous years?
This is probably something for the future, but now that that invoicing against orders (both sales and purchase) is being addressed, are there any plans to introduce a record of commitments (owing and receivable - from sales/purchase order outstandings) to allow reporting commitments in a column in the P&L report?
When I originally requested this idea - status of quotes and orders, I was thinking more of simple statuses, not realising the need for a progress sales funnel and the fact that it could be used to manage project profit calculation. Your little chart is actually solving three different problems and possibly more because the sales funnel being advocated here would potentially allow serial numbers to be linked between my supplier and end client. So actually four problems would be solved!
@lubos I like the names for the statuses. I think that they work well. It is looking good.
I have two problems that I can see.
In Invoices, you have current (active for quotes) as orange. You have red for overdue (expired for quotes) and you have green for paid (accepted for quotes). I would strongly recommend using the same colour coding for quotes, invoices and tabs. So have active as orange, accepted as green, expired as red and cancelled as grey.
Expired and Cancelled
This is probably more how my business currently works, but I have two different types of cancellations. One, where I have lost the business to a competitor, but secondly the client just has not got around to approving the quotes yet. However, I am moving my clients to a process of doing a budget every year, so quotes will be created and approved at these budget meetings. So this may or may not be relevant for me in future.
I think that you would need to ask other people whether there is value in splitting expired quotes where the client just has not got around to approving the quote and actually having lost the business to a competitor. My experience with my own clients is that clients don’t always order things when quoted.
My experience is that sometimes six months can lapse between request for quote and moving forward with actually purchasing something. So you don’t want a lot of expired items sitting for six months and you can’t use that quote six months later as very often the prices and/or models have changed and I basically have to re-quote.
But this may not be an issue for other industries. In good practice, quotes should only really be valid for 30 days.