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Creating a Purchase Order with SharePoint Workflow 

SharePoint holds tremendous potential for boosting the productivity of businesses operating in the manufacturing sector. Businesses often spend a lot of time in managing data in form of documents. Often, these documents form an integral part of the workflow. Take for example, the process of creating a purchase order. The order is prepared by the respective department and then sent to the finance department for approvals. If the value of the order is higher than a particular amount, then you would need to direct the order document to a higher authority. Now, going through all that takes up a lot of time. This delays the approval and hence, every subsequent task that depends on it. 

How Does SharePoint Help? 

Microsoft SharePoint is more than just a platform for storing your documents. You can configure a ‘workflow’ integrating Power Automate with SharePoint for automating most of the smaller tasks, thereby reducing the need for manual effort. 

Let us look at a scenario where you need to create a purchase order and let us see how you can configure your SharePoint and Power Automate workflow to make the routing of the documents a lot easier. 

The Case: 

  • The purchase is generated by the respective department and uploaded into the SharePoint server. The data is filled on a template that is followed and understood by everyone in the organization.  
  • Now, if the order is below the value ‘X,’ the finance department goes through it and either approves or rejects it.  
  • If the order is worth higher than ‘X,’ then it is routed to the finance manager, who has the authority to approve or reject such orders.  
  • If the order is rejected, then the concerned department gets notified over email. 
  • If it does get approved, the order is ‘published’ on the SharePoint server as an approved purchase order and the concerned department gets notified of that as well.  
  • Once published, the document remains on the server and can be accessed by personnel having proper permissions. 

How to Set it Up? 

STEP 1: Creating a Flowchart: One of the first things that you would need to do is to create a flowchart, that clearly defines the process and the actions that you need to take in specific situations. You can use tools like Visio to do this. 

The flowchart for the process mentioned above will look something like this:

STEP 2: Open SharePoint Designer 2013 and Connect to Your SharePoint Website 

Once you have the flowchart ready, the real process starts. There are two different Workflow tools that you can use – SharePoint Designer and Microsoft Power Automate (Flow). For the sake of ease, we will only consider SharePoint Designer. 

Now, the first thing that you would need to do would be to connect SharePoint designer to your SharePoint website: 

  1. Select SharePoint Designer on the Start menu. You will find it under Microsoft Office. 
  2. Click Open Site on the start page. 
  3. Enter the URL of the SharePoint site that you want to connect to.  
  4. Click Open to open the site. You might need to enter your credentials 

STEP 3: Create the Workflow: Next, you will have to create the workflow. In SharePoint Designer 2013, you will find the Workflow node in the Navigation panel. 

  1. Under the New section of the ribbon, click on ‘List Workflow’ drop-down menu 
  2. Choose the list you want 
  3. A dialog box will open. Enter the name and description and the platform type 

STEP 4: Creating the Task: The next thing that you would need to do is to create the tasks.  

If you are using SharePoint Designer, then you can use the ‘Assign a Task’ or ‘Start a Task Process’ or ‘Assign a Task’ option 

Make sure that you are filling the right information in their respective fields before you move to the next step. 

STEP 5: Setting Up Emails: The next step is to set up the email. For example, which individual(s) in the finance department will receive emails when the purchase order is generated? What will be the info provided in the approved mail? All this information will need to be configured.  

You will be able to configure the mails using the ‘Email’ option in SharePoint Designer. 

These are the steps that you need to follow if you want to create a Purchase Order or similar workflow on SharePoint Designer 

Debugging the Workflow 

Here, we have taken up a simple example of creating a workflow for generating a purchase order, to explain the basics. Things might not be this simple. You might have a bit more complicated process in place for generating and approving Purchase Orders. 

Now, you might still be able to create complicated workflows with SharePoint designer, but there might be chances of errors due to erroneous setup. To solve such problems, you will need to debug the workflow whenever you encounter such issues. 

You can debug your Workflow with the help of SharePoint Designer. Here is how: 

You can use the Log to History List action in SharePoint designer 2013 to write a string message. The message could be added as an item to the list, specified in the Workflow association. This will also act as the container for all history logging messages. 

Although this is a simpler way to debug, it does have its own issues. Users will be able to see the log messages, so you would want to remove the messages once the debugging is done. This will add an additional step and that could delay the deployment of the system. 

A better and more effective option would be to hire a specialist SharePoint developer and use their expertise to debug and deploy the system without any lag. At Evolvous, we offer custom SharePoint development services that handles all the maintenance needs of your SharePoint website. Click here to know more. 

That All Sounds Very Easy, Doesn’t It? 

One of the biggest features of Microsoft SharePoint is that it makes handling document management easy. You will be able to configure basic workflows with just a few clicks. 

However, your organization might have more checks while generating purchase orders. Not only that, the process of generating purchase orders might be linked to other processes as well. 

It might be possible that you would want to integrate new processes with the existing set of processes. This is often observed in businesses and organizations going through rapid growth. Adding new processes or even just a few additional steps might be challenging for you, increasing the chances of errors. 

So, it makes sense to have an experienced SharePoint developer by your side, who will take care of the development, deployment and changes to the Workflow and other SharePoint systems. 

Get Custom SharePoint Development for Manufacturing Industry from Evolvous 

Evolvous is a certified Microsoft Gold Partner, which is the testament to the expertise it possesses in SharePoint as well as other Microsoft platforms. We have helped businesses manage their documents and their workflows more efficiently with our Custom SharePoint development solutions. 

We use our experience to correctly understand the internal processes of your actions which helps us to build a coherent sequence of tasks. This reduces the time taken to deploy even the most complicated workflows. At the same time, it minimizes the chances of errors. 

We have a wealth of experience working for the manufacturing industry. Apart from working for some of the established global brands, we also had the opportunity of helping growing businesses. This has helped us understand the individual processes and optimize our SharePoint solutions to meet their requirements in an effective way. 

Want to Learn More About Microsoft SharePoint? 

To understand the basics of SharePoint and the benefits of integrating it with your data storage and processing infrastructure, check out the video below: 

To understand how we can help your business utilize the benefits of SharePoint, give us a call today or visit our contact page.