Purchase Order Line Items

Cory_TomlinsonCory_Tomlinson Customer IT Monkey ✭

Hi,

I'm trying to understand how Purchase Order Line Items are designed to work. The Line Item Name being a unique value (can't use a name more than 1 time) really prevents me from using Line Items at all. Can someone please explain what the intention is to having this field be unique? If I have to enter a unique name for every single Line Item I add over the life of all Purchase Orders this causes a number of distinct problems. How do I ever order the same line item twice when the price is different, for example? How do I have the same line item multiple times on a single purchase order, but with different cost centers?

I guess I'm wondering what did Cireson envision as the use case when creating this feature to work this way?

AM seems to does this in general. Why is the primary key of any table not a hidden id number, so that any user definable fields in a form can contain duplicate information? Especially a Name field. There are many many reasons for a name to not be unique.

Answers

  • pzergerpzerger Partner Adept IT Monkey ✭✭
    Cory, line items (aka PO line items) are not template...they are unique line items you attach to a purchase order. This release video that demonstrates the feature may help clarify how the feature is designed to work.

    Happy to answer any follow up questions.
  • Cory_TomlinsonCory_Tomlinson Customer IT Monkey ✭
    Thanks for the response. The video aligns with "how" I'm using trying to use PO line items, and that seems to confirm that this design is really flawed. It would be very common to want to repeat the information that is used in the Line Item Name across many purchase orders. Making this field a required unique value creates real problems trying to use this feature over time in a production environment. It just doesn't scale.

    Let me give you a real example from today which triggered me to post this question. Today I needed to order 2 CradlePoint ARC CBA850 from our vendor for 2 different branch offices. My inclination is to use the part/model number as the Line Item Name. With the current design I can't do this. I would need to do something like CradlePoint ARC CBA850 for Location 1, and CradlePoint ARC CBA850 for Location 2 (before you ask why I don't just have 1 Line Item with Quantity 2, it's because the cost center is different for each item being ordered. So I need 2 Line Items).

    This workaround is fine for now. But consider trying to scale this usage over time. What happens when I have a Line Item that I order over and over and over again? I need to keep coming up with unique names every time. Think about how dirty the data becomes by having to always append random stuff to every line item name simply because this field is required to be unique. And think about how choosing a Line Item name becomes successively more difficult with every purchase order because it's not possible to remember every combination of name already used in the past. Now think of multiple people creating purchase orders and line items. Do you see where I'm going with this?

    What I'm suggesting is that it's always a good idea to hide the primary key from the user. Use an auto incrementing ID number, or some other data that is guaranteed to be unique without asking the user to input it. There is no reason at all to require a Line Item Name to be a unique value. By doing this you also drastically improve usability of the system because your users are never going to be greeted with an errors that constantly prevent them from moving forward because the Name they've opted to use has already been used on another Line Item.

    Do you not run into this exact same problem when you're trying to use PO Line Items?
  • JodiJodi Member IT Monkey ✭
    If this is how it works, I agree that is flawed.  We are currently evaluating this tool and would love to integrate POs (currently POs and Asset are two separate tools).  I also don't see the reasoning why a line item would be unique in that it could only be used once?  If I'm ordering the same laptops over and over "Dell Latitude E7270" I would have to create a unique description (line item) for them each time I ordered?  Silly.
  • shaun_ericsonshaun_ericson Advanced IT Monkey ✭✭✭
    Hi Jodi and Cory,

    Apologies for the delay in response here, and do appreciate your feedback.

    The "challenge" with SCSM is a couple fold with our solution here:

    - We needed to create a 1:many relationship between PO:Line Items
    - We needed to have "many" line items

    In traditional PO systems, you free hand enter (or consume from a template line item) the items that are being placed against a PO, however SCSM does not have the ability to do this cleanly. Even if we hid the Primary Key and auto-incremented it, you would still have to create a unique Line Item for each purchase as one Line Item may be to Cost Center A for 3, one Line Item may be Cost Center B for 5, etc...

    It was a decision we weighed in while working within the framework of SCSM.

    With all that said, @Cory_Tomlinson ;if you would like to walk through this I am happy to do so 1:1 so we can talk through your frustrations and see if there is a better way to design the feature. Love feedback, and if it can fine tune the product even better that would be awesome!

    Let me know, thanks.

  • Alex_MarshAlex_Marsh Premier Partner Advanced IT Monkey ✭✭✭
    I wonder if it would be beneficial to link the line items to the catalog so you can create a line item from an existing catalog item. Would certainly resolve one of the issues above, even if it does mean generating a unique line item for each purchase order. At least then you have a centralised way of defining the items you are able to purchase and subsequently an easy method of generating line items
  • shaun_ericsonshaun_ericson Advanced IT Monkey ✭✭✭
    Ahh, that is an interesting idea @Alex_Marsh, let's see what the other people on this thread state with respect to my response here and go from there. Thanks!
  • Morten_Aulie_PettersMorten_Aulie_Petters Premier Partner IT Monkey ✭
    I wonder if it would be beneficial to link the line items to the catalog so you can create a line item from an existing catalog item. Would certainly resolve one of the issues above, even if it does mean generating a unique line item for each purchase order. At least then you have a centralised way of defining the items you are able to purchase and subsequently an easy method of generating line items
    And if you do add a feature like this, then please provide it as an optional setting that you can auto create a Name for the Line Item based on some prefix standard that you can define in the settings.
  • Alex_MarshAlex_Marsh Premier Partner Advanced IT Monkey ✭✭✭
    I definitely think some form of inbuilt function to automatically generate PO/purchase ID's would be helpful
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