One of the keys to managing a successful business is managing your costs. A lot of our costs are fixed, but one area we can almost always improve on is the cost of the parts we use. Too many times we don't know that other options are available so we continue to buy the same parts from the same vendor when cheaper options are available.
In ESC we set out to address that by including a powerful feature that allows you to compare prices from different vendors when you order a part. Let's take a look at this in action.
- To begin with, double click a dispatch on the Electronic Dispatch Board that needs a part ordered.
- Go to the Parts tab and enter the part that needs to be ordered.
- Click Activities and select Order Parts. This will bring up the following screen where you can see if you have the part in stock and order it if you don't.
- Click the Browse button. This will show you all the vendors that carry this part, the last time you checked the price on it and the amount it cost at that time.
- If the prices are fairly recent, you can just click anywhere on the line with the vendor you want to order from to highlight it, then click OK. If you want to update the prices, highlight a line then click Display Vendor. This will recall the vendor's information so that you can call them to get an updated price. Close the vendor screen after making the call and you can update the Last Price and Last Purchased Date on this screen without ordering anything.
The following example shows what the screen would look like after calling the two vendors we had purchased this item from before and updating their price. It also shows that we contacted a new vendor and added their part number and price to our database. In this example, City Supply was still the cheapest, so we clicked on the line to order from them and kept them as the preferred vendor. This can be helpful if you are ordering a lot of parts and don't want to go through this process for all of them.
- Click OK to return to the previous screen.
- Click Create and Edit or Create All to create the purchase order for the vendor you selected.
Best of all, every time you receive an item from a vendor, their price and the date is automatically recorded. So even if you don't use this right away, the data will be updating in the background as you do your normal work flow.
The Compare and Modify Vendor Prices screen is also available on the Enter Purchase Order screen, Reorder Parts screen, Quote screen and any other area you can order parts, so you can always be sure you are getting the best price from your vendors.
Written by Eric Rausin
Featured in November 2011 Newsletter