Order Form Creator Guidance

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Link to New Order Form Creator

Link to Order forms already created

Steve's Order Form Creator - Guidance

As ordering goods has been centralised to Faculty level, the Faculty Purchasing office have asked us to use their Faculty Purchase Requisition Form for ordering stuff, rather than the old EEE form. This is mandatory from 1 September 2010. Their form is an Excel spreadsheet (available from the Engineering->Finance bit of the intranet/portal), which needs to be filled in, printed, then signed.

I've produced a web-based "order form creator" which you can fill in, and it produces a PDF that you can print and sign. The main advantage of using the web-based system is that all past orders are centrally archived: no more conversations along the lines of, "What part do we need to order?" "I'm not sure, Dave ordered one a couple of years ago. He's left now." "Where's his order form?" "Probably on his Windows hard drive." "Where's that?" "I think we formatted it."

Guidance notes for the order form creator

Personalised forms

You can personalise the order form creator. At the simplest level, enter details that will never change, such as your name, email address, student ID (unless you're staff) and directory where your orders are archived (more on that in a bit). Make sure "Create personalised form" is set to "Yes", click "Do It" at the bottom of the form, and the form will be reloaded with all your information already filled in. Then bookmark the form in your browser.

You can also create a filled-in form for all the suppliers that you regularly use. Fill out their details (as well as your own), and create a personalised form in the same way. The title of the link is now the supplier name. Bookmark this with your browser, and you can build up a list of suppliers with their information already entered in.

There is good news for those who used my old order form creator - your personalised form bookmarks should still work, and will now point to the new (Faculty) style order form creator.

Your archive directory

All PDFs that are generated using the order form creator are saved on the optics server. To tidy things up a bit, I suggest that if you decide to use the order form creator regularly, that you ask Steve Sharples, Roger Light or Matt Clark to create you a folder (in your name) where all your order forms will end up.

For instance, I have a folder named "sds" and to save the PDFs there, I add "sds/" to the front of the order form PDF name at the bottom of the form. So I don't forget to do this, when I created my personalised form, I entered "sds/" in the filename box at the bottom. Each time I use the order form creator now, the filename is already partly filled in with the right directory name and I just add the name of the PDF to the end of it, eg "sds/comar_doublets_sras_project.pdf"

Note that at present, no checks are made to see if the file already exists or not, so it's quite easy to write over a previously-created PDF. This policy may change in the future.

Guidance notes for the form itself

Most of the fields are self-explanatory, and if you follow the advice here (which I got from someone in the Engineering Faculty Purchasing Office) your order will be dealt with promptly with no delays.

Email address

Ensure that the email address you enter is correct. When your form gets processed and "put on the system" you will receive a confirmation email, which tells you the purchase order number. This is the number you need in case of any problems, either during the order process or even afterwards (if the goods are faulty or the supplier sent the wrong things).

Student ID

This applies to postgrads and undergrads: this is the number on your student ID card. If helps with tracing who the goods are intended for once they get delivered, so it's in your benefit to put this in. Staff (RAs and academics) should leave this blank.

Delivery date required

This looks like a contentious item as the notes on the original form say, "You must not write ASAP." However, it's perfectly fine to leave this blank, if it's a routine order which you expect to be fulfilled by the supplier in their usual time-frame.

If for some reason the order delivery date really is time-critical, state this explicitly with instructions for what to do in the event that the supplier cannot meet the deadline, eg: "If supplier cannot delivery by (date), do not order, contact me" or similar. This will prevent situations where you want to buy a trivial £2.50 item which has been discontinued (or is out of stock) when there are plenty of alternatives available.

Whatever you write here, will not affect how quickly your order goes through the system.

Delivery location

Goods are no longer delivered directly to the Tower building unless they are big, bulky items, chemicals or delicate items (by prior arrangement only). The default delivery location is therefore L2 Stores. Alternatively you can have your goods delivered to Biology Stores.

Unit of purchase

This is usually "Item" but could be "metre" or "pack of 25" or "box of 100" etc.

"Qty" is how many of these you want.

Safety data

No-one is really sure what this is for. A theory is that some products will not be sold to you without you possessing the correct documentation; in which case select "Y" and provide a copy of the documentation with the order form I guess. Generally, leave "N" selected.

VAT rate

Some items (eg books) are zero-rated for VAT. For some research projects, VAT is recoverable, for most it is not. The rule is, unless a VAT exemption form is attached (I don't know where you would get one) then leave the VAT rate at the default value, even if you think/know that the items are on a different rate.

When the VAT rate changes, I will change the defaults in the form to reflect this.

Foreign currency

If your order is in euros or dollars, just select the appropriate currency on the form. The Purchasing Office can cope with this, they can enter the amounts in foreign currency on their internal system (Agresso) apparently.

The currency setting is saved if you create a personalised order form (makes sense if the supplier is abroad).

Delivery charge

Make sure you include this as the last item. If there is no delivery charge, say so on the form.

Activity code

There are a dozen or so of these, the only two I could see to be useful are "Equipment" (03) and "Consumables" (02). If you're not sure, seek advice from the budget holder.

Budget holder

This is a slightly mis-named field. This should actually be the name of a person who is authorised to order things.

  • If you are the budget holder, this is you.
  • If you are a researcher and your supervisor has arranged with the Purchasing Office that you have authority to order on a certain project code (you will have given them a sample signature) then this is you.
  • If you are a researcher and your supervisor has not given you permission to order things without their signature, then this is the name of your supervisor.

If you leave the field blank (on the order form creator) then the name entered at the top of the form will be reproduced here on the PDF.

The rules seem to be:

  • TWO signatures
  • TWO printed names
  • Printed names must match corresponding signatures
  • Names (and signatures) can be the same, or different

Quotation record

For items costing £5,000 to £25,000, you should try to obtain 3 quotations (this is mandatory for purchases costing £25k-£50k). Put the details in here, and (preferably) attach copies of the quotations to the order form when you hand it in to the Purchasing Office.