I wish it meant my winnings from a lottery ticket, but don’t worry, it’s signifying something equally as thrilling.
We’ve just about reached 10,000 Purchase Requisitions & Purchase Orders created in PeopleSoft…!
I know - hold on to your hats, try to simmer down with the “Wahoo”s and the “Heck Yes”s - your colleagues are gonna think you actually won the lottery.
But this is fun.. To generalize:
10,000 orders in 4 yrs 2500 orders a year 208 orders a month 48 orders a week 7 orders a day
I could have gone into hours, minutes & seconds - but I’ll let you tackle that one in your free time ;)
PeopleSoft presented a monumental shift in how aspects of Queen’s functions, so the fact that we’ve created 10,000 Requisitions & POs is worth acknowledging!
Were they all created perfectly? Hmm, no! Were they all fully sourced to POs and fully invoiced? Negative Nancy! Did we learn how to use the system more effectively and bring more unity to Queen’s? You bet!
Pat yourself on the back 10,000 times, give your boss 10,000 high fives or hit your Easy Button 10,000 times - whatever you want to celebrate this milestone.
The fact that we are approaching another year-end already, is blowing my mind a little bit.
Has it really been a year?!
And so it begins… reminder notifications, procedure prep, document review, etttt-cetera..!
In some off-beat/warped kind of way, I look forward to this time of year. I can only assume it’s the anticipation of starting a big challenge and knowing there will ultimately be a feeling of accomplishment at the end of it. That’s not so unreasonable, is it?!
It takes an army, folks. Or a village. You choose. Either way, teamwork is KEY.
This week is one for reflection, celebration, regular routines and cramming.
It’s the last week before Queen’s Christmas break, and Christmas in itself!
Attendance is slightly lower than usual, which means some of those left to man the ship might have a few extra tasks on their plate this week.
Our group is 100% dedicated….. to keeping our lunch reservations this afternoon. This is where the celebration part of the week kicks in.
When we’re not lunching, reflecting on my PeopleSoft Procurement 2012 calendar year occupies some of my brain space. It’s been a productive 12 months, covering topics from requisition training sessions to year-end processing, exploration of improving business processes to solidifying new working relationships… It all has contributed to constant learning and growth within the working role I occupy.
As we gradually knock off the days this week, the time left before the break gets smaller. POs require quick approvals (in order to meet deadlines), invoices need to approve & release for payment, Requestor inquiries need to be answered and I need to finish my Christmas shopping….. one of these things doesn’t belong…?
I wish you a safe and happy holiday! Hoping you get a bit of a break from your busy work life, enough of one to enjoy celebratory moments with your family & friends.
Cheers to 2013 - I think it’ll be an exciting year :)
Ever since the beginning of PS, we’ve experienced a regular (as well as sporadic) batch process failure in relation to the approval of Pending Purchase Requisitions.
I use terms such as regular and sporadic because this failure has been happening ever since PS go-live but might occur anywhere from 3 times in one day to only once a week, etc. To sum, I can’t really predict it.
Delightfully, a theory has been suggested by my brilliantly technical colleague, as to why this failure happens. I’ve done some field work to confirm this theory, and it appears everything jives.
Revelation: This batch process failure happens when a Requestor submits their purchase requisition exactly on the hour (ie. 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, etc.), which happens to be the exact moment the batch process is scheduled to run (every hour on the hour).
These two events (submitting the Req and approving the Req) cannot seem to co-exist peacefully, so in order to ensure smooth waters within the Requisitioning process it looks like we’ll want to avoid contact between them.
Ie. If you are ready to submit your Purchase Requisition try waiting until the hour change has passed (ex. 10:01).
Another mystery solved… I feel like I should request detective badges for our team.
Are you looking to buy small quantities of chemicals, solvents and lab supplies at competitive prices through a convenient location here at Queen’s? Look no further than Science Stores in Chernoff Hall or the DBMS Biobar/Microstore in Botterell Hall!
Even though this week has been a short one (coming off the long Thanksgiving weekend), it has been filled with challenge and entertainment!
There’s been one burning question I’ve been presented with on several occasions this week:
"Why do we need to submit a Purchase Requisition (PO)?"
I went on a slight rant about this topic in a previous post (Cheque Requisitions vs. Purchase Requisitions), but I think it deserves a second chat.
At Queen’s, we are fervently attempting to eliminate Cheque Requisitions for purchases of goods and services. In the efforts to acheive that lofty goal there are other options Queen’s departments have (and are recommended to utilize) in order to still acquire and pay for their departmental purchases:
Visa Procurement Card or Purchase Order
There are loads of benefits within each option (i.e. Visa Procurement Card purchases are typically instantaneous in the sense that you order the product and “pay” for it right away; PO’s are completed online as opposed to printing and having to obtain signatures on a form, and are considered a “contract/agreement” in a sense between Queen’s and the vendor).
In both scenarios, paying with personal cash/dealing with reimbursement is not something to worry about. What’s not to love about that?
I spent a couple mornings over at Botterell Hall this week, giving condensed training sessions on Purchase Requisition entry. The goal was to present another option to the attendants, for dealing with the purchasing of goods/services.
My hope is to have the above ramblings answer the question posed in this post.
I have Requisition Email Notification news. Do we want to hear the positive or the not-so positive news first?
I tend to request the not-so positive news first, so the information-unloading can end on a somewhat uplifting note. Hope I’m not alone in this train of thought.
Not-so positive news:
Lately, PeopleSoft has been testing my patience. The email notification process has decided to take a little stay-cation, if you will.
This issue is still somewhat mysterious to us – but we do have a few answers. One aspect seems to be that of unmatched email addresses between PeopleSoft databases (FIN, HR, etc). If the email addresses were unmatched, an email notification related to Requisition matters would not send.
When I say Requisition matters, I’m referring to:
- Your Requisition being sourced into a Purchase Order
- A Requisition requiring Amount Approval
This issue seems to also have a few more layers to it however, so we’re still attempting to decipher all the factors.
I haven’t pulled all my hair out.
That’s not it, don’t worry.
As always, you can still find out your Purchase Order ID w/o waiting for that email notification to come through. Look your Requisition back up in PS, once open click on the Document Status link you will find on the page of the order. This will open a new window, which will contain details of all the documents that correspond with your Requisition (ie. Purchase Order, Vouchers, Payments, etc.).
My dedication to you guys is to continue to work with the highly intelligent technical people on our team and clear this up.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume most of you have received at least one warning message when attempting to save your Requisition in PS… true?
Let’s cease the confusion and wonderment, and decipher some of these warning messages here and now!
Ever had this one?:
"Warning: Invalid chartfields combination on line number:1, schedule number:1, distribution line number:1…" etc.
This message pops up when you don’t have enough chartfield (account) information on one of the (or the only) line level distribution(s). You will want to review the line level distributions and ensure you fill in the blank fields. Could be happening because you forgot to click override in the Requisition Defaults section, or utilize the Req Defaults section all together!
What about this foreign-language message?:
"Ship-from Country is Required…" etc.
This one used to puzzle me, up until recently! Two reasons you might get this message: 1) The vendor location code (the vendor address) is missing from a field. This really shouldn’t happen too often, as this code is supposed to default into the appropriate fields once you select the vendor. If you get this warning message you’ll want to navigate to the “vendor information” tab at the line level of the Req main page, and ensure every product line (if multiples) has a vendor location code. If one doesn’t, you’ll want to fill it in. 2) Something’s missing from the vendor profile - let me know the vendor details, and I’ll review the profile for the missing link.
How about this friendly pop-up?:
"Requisition message for line number 1: Requisition amount is >= $10,000, ensure 3 quotes are attached…." etc.
This one is actually a fairly friendly message. We thought it might be helpful to have this pop up whenever you’re submitting a Purchase Requisition with a line amount >$10,000… just to remind you to attach competitive quotes you may have obtained, or the Sole Source form you’ve possibly spent time completing. You can still submit the Req w/o these documents, there just might be a delay in your PO approval once the Buyers review the order.
You might see this guy:
"Requestor Item required…" etc.
There’s more to this message, but the specifics escape me at the moment. If you see a similar message appear, it can be deciphered as the system thinks you should enter an Item ID. At Queen’s we’re not actually using the Item function in PS, so there’s no need to enter a number here. You want to actually customize your Requisition main page to hide that ITEM field, so you’re not tempted to enter something in (even if the vendor has quoted you a specific Item ID - we are just utilizing the Description field on the Requisition main page, so this is where you should enter in all your product/service information). Click on the yellow “Customize” link found in the dark blue line above the Req line level - find Item on the list of functions to customize, select it, then click “Hidden” in the middle of the screen. Scroll down and find that OK button - click it! Once back on the Req main page, you’ll notice that the pesky Item field is now hidden. This will be the only time you have to customize this, as your updates will be saved for every future Req you submit.
I’ve seen this next message several times:
"Page inconsistent with database…" etc.
If you’re attempting to make a change to your Req, or even just save it for the first time and you do so right over a new hour change (ie. 10am, 11am, 12pm - etc.), the system might be trying to work with your Req as well. You’ll get the above hefty message if this is the case. Just ensure you wait a few minutes if you have any updating/saving to do on your Requisition and are approaching a new hour.
Trying to make a change to an existing Open Requisition?:
"The Accounting Date xxx is not open. The open period for QUNIV is from xxx to xxx".
Sounds like you’ve had your Req on hold for a while! Long enough to pass through into a new accounting period in PeopleSoft. You’ll need to update the Accounting Date to be current (usually just choosing the current date is sufficient), in order for your Requisition to budget check the right period.
These are the major ones I’ve run into… If more happen to haunt my dreams, I won’t keep them to myself!
As always, let me know if you have questions on any of the above information.
We haven’t closed every door or written the final page of this year-end’s chapter just yet, but the big hurdles are done!
Congratulations are due for every team member involved - there were hour-long phone calls, SO many emails and some head-scratching meetings…. but we came out on the other side with positive results and a few high fives. Who could ask for more?
Lessons were learned and a new & improved process manual will come from this year-end’s run through, which is currently underway.
Next year will be seamless right?
I will probably look this post up next April and read it everyday… :)
Good news - Operating Requisition Blackout Period has ended today! If you need your access back for Req submissions (to order through Operating accounts) send me an email with the request and your User ID. We’ll get you back in business.
Research users unfortunately have to wait a little bit longer… I know! It’s a pain. But at this point, there’s no way around it.
I was going over the year-end schedule today, trying to determine how we could shorten this blackout period…
I’m telling you, it appears as though every day is filled with necessary processes. We’re actually on par with some other Ontario Universities working in PeopleSoft, and listen to this - our blackout period is actually significantly SHORTER than a couple institutions!
There are two ways you, as Requestors, can set your Purchase Requisitions up. Your decision should really boil down to how you expect invoicing to shake out.
Yes, I said shake out.
Setting your Requisition up by AMOUNT is the best option when you are creating the order to pay for a service, or you have been quoted a set price for a group of multiple items.
Example Scenario 1 – Vendor has quoted you $5500 to fix the air conditioning in your office or complete testing on laboratory samples (let’s assume different vendors, as I haven’t come across one that could offer both services!). In this scenario, you’ll want to set your Requisition up by AMOUNT, and base the order on the $5500 pricing.
Example Scenario 2 – Vendor has quoted you a price of $6000 for 75 widgets. This price includes the cost for all the widgets, freight and the inclusion of a personalized thank you letter from the vendor (you never know!). In this scenario, we don’t really know how much each widget costs individually, nor do we know how much specifically the freight is budgeted at as well as what they are charging us for the personalized thank you letter. Best option in this scenario is to set your Requisition up by AMOUNT, and base the order on the $6000 pricing.
You can also set Requisitions up by AMOUNT for blanket/standing orders. These orders are typically utilized for a certain time period (let’s say, 6 months – 1 yr) and are budgeted for the amount of money the Requestor thinks they’ll spend with that vendor throughout that time period.
Setting your Requisition up by QUANTITY is the best option when you are creating the order for a specific quantity of items, or perhaps a specified number of days/months of work.
Example Scenario 1 – You have requested a quote from a vendor for 4 new office chairs. The vendor has come back to you with a quote of $300 per chair. In this scenario, it’s best to set your Requisition up by QUANTITY, selecting 4 as the quantity, each at a unit price of $300. You order summary will then sit at $1200 as a subtotal.
Example Scenario 2 – You have requested a quote from a vendor for a certain service, and they have come back to you with a quote expecting the work to take 10 days to complete, each day costing you $500. In this scenario, you could set your Requisition up by QUANTITY, selecting 10 as the quantity and have $500 as the unit price. Your order summary will then sit at $5000 as a subtotal. In this scenario also, you do have the option to set the order up by AMOUNT, and just base the order on the $5000 subtotal. Either will work!
Clear as mud?
I know, it’s sometimes a little murky… As a reminder, just think of how the invoice(s) will come in. Multiple invoices? All on one invoice?
The most anticipated time of year in Finance/Procurement’s world. From my view-point, that is.
We’ve been prepping for a few months now. How have I been gearing up for it?:
Finalizing the Procurement/Budget close plan document - confirming dates, contacts, etc.
Reviewing all open Purchase Orders/Requisitions, determining whether they qualify for closure
Meeting with team members to discuss/clear up any pending PO/Req issues
Noting the above, there’s a very good chance that over the next month I’ll be coming to some of you to discuss your “open” PO.
I might also show up at your office with wine and snacks, as an advance apology for hounding you about the above topic.
My brain power is in overdrive during year-end. Isn’t it supposed to be that time of year where we’re all slipping into a more relaxed kind of mode? Spring has arrived… Summer is just a few blocks down the road… and some of us are heading to the liquor store more frequently because we like to sit on our decks after work with a drink in our hand, right?
I have to just admit it though, I dig it.
Year-End for me is like putting the final piece of tape on that well-wrapped birthday gift. Or washing the last dish in a mountain-high pile of dirty dishes. The ideals of a new fiscal year are in sight. Fresh ordering situations, conversations, and learning opportunities. It actually also symbolizes that summer can officially start, in my books. What’s not to look forward to?
I’m making it sound pretty and smooth… the year-end process can have its speedbumps. But one can dream for a smooth ride.
I may look a little disshelved, and take an extra minute phoning you back - but I will make sure to show up!
Quite often, a PO needs to be sent “out the door” with specific instructions for the vendor, or references to a quote/email, etc.
We’re in luck! PeopleSoft Purchasing allows us to add comments and upload documents to our Requisitions/Purchase Orders.
Some of us are talkers, right? The words that come out of our mouths sometimes seem endless… our friends/colleagues/family members love us for it. And now, vendors (or just Procurement) can love us for it too.
If you have a comment or quote you want to upload to your Requisition, there are a couple places on the Req you can add this detail: Header Comments or Line Comments.
Best place to add comments/quotes related to the whole order, is through the Header Comments section.
Line Comments are geared more towards comments you might have related to specific lines on your order: ie., maybe you have a product line for $0 and you want to make note on the order of what the item actually costs/why you’ve marked it as $0. Noting this in the Line Comments section is something both Procurement and the vendor will appreciate (and you too, in case your memory is as on-point as mine and you want a refresher down the road).
Line Comments can be added through the little bubble next to your price field (at the line level).
Click on “Add Comments” in the Header section of your Requisition, to add general comments (Header Comments) or upload your quotes. You have the option to choose from pre-loaded “Standard Comments” already in PS, or you can free-hand type a comment in – whatever suits your needs best. Below each comment text box, there is an attachment section all ready for you to upload documents.
Feel free to add multiple comments (as you can only have one attachment per comment anyway), by clicking on the blue + button in the comment screen.
Expecting your order from outside of Canada? Make sure you add the “Customs Requirement” comment from the “Standard Comments” choices.
For any comments you want the vendor to see (actually have the comment be printed on the PO), you’ll want to click the “Send to Vendor” button under the text box. If you have uploaded an attachment and definitely want it to send with the PO, make sure you click the “Email” button in the attachment section.
Procurement may add some comments to your order once we get the chance to review it – if we put your order on hold, we typically put a comment in detailing why we’ve done so. Feel free to check these out if you get a Curious George itch (99% of the time, we’re chatting with you anyway about why your order is on hold).
One of our main goals in Procurement is to continuously improve the lines of communication with our clients (you got it —> you!).
We thought to ourselves, what better way to share information, tips, fun pictures and advice than on Facebook?
So we’ve done it - joined the social media realm even further.. Welcome to Strategic Procurement Services’ Facebook page! We’ll be frequently sharing tips on everything Procurement related, including my personal fav.. PS Requisitioning! As if I wasn’t writing about this enough already, right?
If you’re feeling good about our page, “like” us! We want to hear from you, so please comment on as much of the material as you want. Ask us Q’s, tell us what content you want to see on the page, or just let us know if you’re having a great hair day.
Click on the ”SPS Facebook Page” in red, and we’ll see you there!
Had a great Requisition training session this morning!
Thanks to the smart Requisitioners in attendance - I’m assuming you’re all pros now and I would highly recommend you start referring to yourself as Master Requisitioners. It only seems right.
Let me know if you are interested in attending a session. Either as a refresher, or you’re new to the whole process and need to attend so you can have some idea about the jibberish I mumble about in each post…
Ever logged into PeopleSoft, opened up a fresh Requisition screen, entered a couple fields and then found yourself searching and searching for the vendor to assign on the order… but you can’t find it!?
- Are you looking for the name of your vendor through the “Vendor ID” field? You’ll have a heck of a time finding it if this is your approach. If you know the vendor ID, you’ll want to enter those details in, instead of the vendor name
- Are you searching for the full vendor name in the “Short vendor name” field? Whoopps! PeopleSoft won’t bring up the vendor from a full name search sometimes… try entering in a few letters of the vendor’s name and either leave the “begins with” drop down as such, or change it to “contains”.
Changing this drop down to “contains” will search for every vendor name that contains the letter criteria you’ve entered in – this is the BEST search method!
- You’ve entered just a few letters of the vendor name in the “short vendor name” field, and still nothing! Don’t give up yet! It’s entirely possible the vendor is actually not even in the system.
If the vendor is not in the system, you’ll want to fill out what Queen’s calls a Supplier Request Form (SRF, to shorten/sweeten it)
You can either fill the form out yourself, or send directly to the vendor and have them fill it out
Submit the form to Procurement when it’s all complete (TIP: we’ll need banking information, so ensure you’ve got it before submitting the form to Procurement)
You’ll need to have a vendor on your Requisition before you can save it and obtain an ID number for the order, so you might have to abandon the submission if you’re waiting for a vendor to be added in. Or, you can assign an alternate vendor on the order, put the Req on hold, and update with the correct vendor once they have been assigned a vendor file.
The vendor file creation process takes about 2 days, if we have all the information we need.
Just want to make sure your vendor isn’t in the system? Send me a quick email or give me a call!
I’m going to go as far as saying that this topic comes up at least twice a week in my conversations with Requestors.
Why can’t I just submit a Cheque Requisition? Ever found yourself asking this very question? You are not alone!
Queen’s Finance/Procurement is attempting to move away from your typical Cheque Req. situation – when I say this, I refer to those that include reimbursement for departmental goods (and/or services) already purchased/rendered.
Cheque Requisitions are much more time/cost consuming for Procurement/Financial Services, and result in less-than-favourable tracking of how Queen’s departments are spending their budgets on goods/services.
As we continue to move forward in improving Queen’s Procurement, tracking departmental spend on goods/services is crucial. We are intent on delivering our role (yes, I’m going to quote from SPS’ website here!) which “is to support the University’s acquisition of products and services using the following criteria: Efficiency…Effectiveness…Quality…Risk Management…Accountability…”.
As it currently stands, the best way for us to do that is via the PeopleSoft purchasing system.
So here I am, rooting for the Purchase Requisition route!
I know there are some voices out there insisting the process is much more time consuming… I hear your voice, and I am not ignoring it! I believe, however, you have the ability to become increasingly more familiar with the process and eventually master it.
Everybody holds a piece of the Procurement puzzle - that’s why it’s so important that your puzzle piece is included in the process, in order for us all to see the big picture!
“We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched… Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives not looking for flaws, but potential…”—
Perhaps you already have Procurement’s website bookmarked in your favourites, and you peruse it everyday..? If you don’t, however, give it a look.
We’ve provided information on how to buy certain commodities, which forms to fill out for certain requests and most recently we’ve posted a list of Queen’s preferred vendors (VORs, for short - Vendors of Record).
It’s important for us to briefly chat about the P2P process before we delve into the nitty gritty details.
Maybe you’re wondering what P2P even stands for? You’re saying… “Nicki, slow down… English please”.
P2P = Purchase to Pay. Let’s explore this process, in relation to Queen’s People Soft practices.
To kick-off, Requestors (yes, you!) determine a requirement for departmental goods or services – maybe you, as the Requestor, took a moment to look around your lab and realized you’re out of adequate DNA Kits… or you spent some time sitting in your office recently and realized you were actually lacking a desk, your computer was sitting on a couple of milk crates… or perhaps your entire office has noticed that the paint is peeling off the walls PLUS you’re all over the pale pink colour it is pretending to still be… or perhaps you are part of a substantial project that has been RFP’d, contracts have been awarded, etc. and you are expecting goods/services to be delivered/performed over months/years…
Good/service has been defined. Next step, determine the method to submit the order. Departmental Visa Procurement Card? Or Purchase Requisition in People Soft?
To be very basic, if the commodity is a restricted purchase on the Visa Procurement Card or surpasses your transaction limits, the best ordering method is through the Purchase Requisition avenue. If you mentally checked no to the previous sentence, typically you can carry on with ordering via Visa Procurement Card!
So the process goes like this:
Requestor submits a Purchase Requisition into PeopleSoft, the order goes through approval/budgeting stages so it can transition into a Purchase Order (yes, it is just like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly…). The Purchase Order then goes through more review/approval/budgeting stages to then be dispatched out to the vendor you have selected. Vendor receives the Purchase Order and processes your request. Once the request has been processed the vendor will issue an invoice (except in cases of required pre-payments), to Financial Services here at Queen’s University for the goods/service performed. Financial Services should then receive the invoice (perhaps you’ve approved the invoice first), and will enter the details into PeopleSoft, ensuring they tie those details to the original Purchase Order. The invoice will then release for payment to the vendor (all based on PayTerms, match exceptions, pay cycles, etc). When your original Purchase Order has been fully invoiced, it qualifies for closure within PeopleSoft (so we can make room for new POs, or give existing “open” POs the space they deserve). The process completes!
This overview is quite generalized… as many of you know, there are several holes within this process that can be filled in with multiple unique circumstances.
We had to start with the idealized process so that we now have a mental image of how the flow moves.
Hi! Around Queen’s University campus I’m known as Nicki Mundell and my home is within Strategic Procurement Services. Responsibilities of mine reside under the roll of Procurement Systems Administrator…. extraordinaire? OK, that last bit might be more wishful thinking, than reality.
I enthusiastically welcome you to my blog site, as I’m an avid believer in knowledge/advice/information sharing! Yes… I am one of those people that are always asking “why?/how?”!
This forum enables me to communicate/demystify/share with you, the Queen’s Requestor, information about our People Soft purchasing system processes.
Since our “Go-Live” in December 2009, I’ve been hands on with the purchasing side of PS (People Soft) - attemping to master all the inner workings of the application and be able to navigate through it with my eyes shut! Am I there yet? OK, maybe not quite…these things take time, you know. However, after attending a couple Oracle PS training courses and conducting multiple Requisition training sessions I would like to believe I’ve become very friendly with the system.
I am certainly not saying that we don’t have a complicated relationship sometimes… what technological/human relationship doesn’t hit the odd bump-in-the-road somewhere along the path?!
If you’ll stick with me, my hope is to share with you as much about purchasing in PS, in order for you all to feel comfortable maneuvering through the application… and perhaps start referring to yourself as a “Master PS Requisitioner”…?
I encourage suggestions/inquiries/comments from you, the Requestor, on any post that sparks your interest. In order to submit an inquiry/comment you will need to create a Tumblr account - which involves assigning a URL address to your account…you could use your own name, or keep it general and go with your Department’s name. Whether you utilize the account just for “following” purposes, or to start creating your own blogs, is completely up to you!