The following is an illustration of the purchasing workflow that specifies the way in which a purchase order line (PO line) is handled from its creation until it awaits activation or receipt. This workflow does not cover patron-driven acquisitions.
For an explanation of the physical and electronic purchase types and PO line types that can be created, and the ramifications of the purchase type and PO line type on both the purchasing workflow and resulting inventory, see Explanation of Purchase Types Workflow and Inventory. For information on determining which workflow to follow when acquiring electronic resources, see Electronic Resources – Scenarios and Workflows.
The following is a detailed description of the steps within this workflow (with the numbers corresponding to the numbers in the diagram):
- A PO line enters Alma, typically: automatically through an embedded order data (EOD) import or a real-time API through a Library Service Provider (LSP), or manually as a result of the creation of a PO line. See Creating PO Lines. For information on creating a PO line using EOD, see Importing Records Using an Import Profile. For information on creating a PO line assisted by real-time technology, see Real-Time Ordering. For information on creating a PO line manually, see Manually Creating a PO Line. For information on creating service subscription PO lines for services without inventory, see Creating Service Subscription PO Lines Without Inventory.
- Alma normalizes, validates, and processes the PO line to determine whether there are elements that require special attention based on the review rules pre-configured by an administrator.
- If there are data issues (including invalid or missing information) or alerts that require attention, Alma sends the PO line for review. For information, see Reviewing PO Lines.
- The PO line is packaged into a PO. The purchasing configuration, configured on the PO Line Summary page (see Manually Creating a PO Line), determines if the packaging is automatic or manual.
If, during the packaging process (manual or automatic), any of the mandatory fields (required in this step) is incomplete, the PO is sent back for review. For information, see Reviewing POs. After reviewing the PO and entering the missing information, the PO proceeds to where it is approved and sent to the vendor.
- Automatic – PO lines are automatically packaged according to the rules in a PO (see Packaging PO Lines into a PO).
- Manual – The PO line is packaged manually. For information, see Packaging PO Lines into a PO. When the person performing the manual packaging selects Package on the Create Purchase Orders page, the PO line is packaged into a PO.
- The PO proceeds to the approval and sending stage of the workflow. The purchasing configuration (configured by Ex Libris) determines whether the approval and sending is automatic or manual.
The PO is subject to approval whether the PO was created manually or using EOD, and whether it is configured with manual or automatic packaging. However, if the user selects Order Now for a PO line, the PO is approved automatically, regardless of the purchasing configuration.
- Automatic – The PO is approved automatically and sent to the vendor.
- Manual – The PO must be approved manually before it is sent to the vendor. For information, see Approving and Sending POs. When the person performing the manual approval selects Approve and Send on the Approve Purchase Orders page, the approved PO is sent to the vendor.
- The PO line proceeds to the final stage of the purchasing workflow, where it is checked to verify whether it is for electronic or physical material.
- Electronic – The PO line proceeds to the activation stage (see Activating Electronic Resources).
- Physical — The PO line proceeds to the receiving stage, where it is handled according to its type, as described in Receiving Material. Post-receiving processing may also be performed after the material is received (see Post-Receiving Processing).
If the PO line is One-Time, it closes when fully invoiced and received/activated. If it is not fully invoiced, it is marked as Waiting for Invoice in the Invoice Status field of the PO Line Summary page, and awaits invoicing (see Invoicing)
If the PO line is Continuous, after it is received/activated it is marked Waiting for Renewal. You can manually mark the PO line as Closed if it is fully paid and you are ending the subscription, even if the last issue has not yet been received.
Once a PO line is created with a certain purchase type, the workflow and data implications are fixed and cannot be changed. It is therefore important to understand the impact of the various purchase types on both the purchasing workflow and the resulting inventory.
The material type is the type of material, such as a book, electronic journal, or CD-ROM, from which an item takes its form. The material type is part of the item record that is created, but does not control the PO line workflow. The material type can be modified when creating/editing a PO line.
Purchase types can be either physical or electronic and of one of the following continuity types:
- One-time – One-time or infrequent orders, such as a printed book, an e-book, or a musical score that is not published repetitively. Physical material is received on the One Time tab on the Receive New Material page. Holdings and items are created automatically, with one holdings being created for each unique location, and one item for each copy. Electronic material goes through the standard activation process and remains activated indefinitely. Once the PO line is invoiced and received/activated, it is closed.
- Continuous – Orders that are repeated on a regular basis, for example, monthly subscriptions to physical or electronic material such as journals. Physical material is received on the Continuous tab on the Receive New Material page. Holdings are created upon PO line creation (for each run of the series in a location) and items are created:
Additional examples and workflow information:
- When using a prediction pattern: After selecting Open predicted item in the MD Editor. See Setting Up Prediction Patterns to Automatically Create Serial Items.
- Otherwise: Upon receipt of the issue or bound volume.
- A serial for which you will receive items quarterly – The issues are described by the bibliographic record of the journal attached to the order. You must create an item for each issue; they are independent items until they are bound. Issues may or may not circulate, but you will still want to record information about each issue, such as whether it is lost or special in-house rules for certain issues. You should either create a prediction pattern for the delivery of the issues or receive new issues in the Continuous tab on the Receive New Material page.
- A multi-volume monograph for which you will receive volumes at unpredicted intervals, such as encyclopedia volumes – The volumes are described by the bibliographic record of the encyclopedia attached to the order. You must create items for each volume, since volumes may circulate independently. You should receive new volumes in the Continuous tab on the Receive New Material page.
- Standing order – Orders that are not repeated on a frequent or regular basis. Used, for example, for purchasing all the printed books by a particular author when they are published, or where a series of books are being published, but not necessarily on a regular basis. Physical monograph material is not received on the Receive New Material page. Instead, it is created manually by creating or choosing a bibliographic record, creating a holdings record, and then creating an item record, which you associate with the standing order PO line. You set a receipt date for the item in the Physical Item Editor.
For more information on managing standing orders in Alma, see Acquisitions - Standing Orders in Alma [PPT].Non-monograph material is processed in the same manner as physical continuous material, although without a fixed sequence or frequency. Electronic material goes through the standard activation process and may be deactivated during the evaluation process. The PO line remains open once it is invoiced and received/activated (although it can be closed manually).Additional examples and information:
- A monograph series for which you receive new titles at unexpected intervals – Each title may be published by a different author, but all are under the same series, and you are subscribed to the series. The order is linked to a suppressed bibliographic record for the series; items are not described by this bibliographic record. Each item is issued under a different title and should be cataloged separately with its own bibliographic record that is linked to the series order. Each item circulates independently.
- An organization of which you are a member sends you material, such as journal issues, annual directories, and so on – Since you pay for the membership, and not for the subscription, you should create an order with a suppressed record for the membership. The received materials are not described by this record. You might not need to create items for all of the received material, but you might create items for some of them. The PO line type Technical is used for the journal in order to check the issues. The price is left off and the order is associated with the parent PO line – the membership order. If other materials are received regularly, such as an annual directory, use the same logic for them. You can catalog other received one-off materials independently, linked to the membership order.
- A subscription to an integrating resource, such as loose-leaf law materials that are delivered and then added to an existing physical item – The materials are described by the bibliographic record of the physical item attached to the order; each one is an update to this item. You do not have to create new items for each material that is delivered, since they are not circulated independently. If the materials are received in a predictable interval, update the expected receiving date on the order each time the material is received.
The table below presents the recommended purchase types that are available for each type of repository search (see Manually Creating a PO Line for an explanation of the search and PO line creation process).
|Find||Select Type||Recommended Purchase Type||Order Continuity||PO Line Workflow||Created Inventory|
|All Titles||Journal (ISSN)||Electronic Journal||One-time||An Activate task is created when the PO line is sent||Standalone Portfolio|
|Continuous||An Activate task is created when the PO line is sent||Standalone Portfolio|
|Print Journal||One-time||Received on Receive New Material page||Item type - Journal|
|Continuous||Received in Continuous tab on Receive New Material page. Item is created upon receipt.||Holdings|
|Book (ISBN)||Electronic Book (Title)||One-time||An Activate task is created when the PO line is sent||Standalone Portfolio (E-book)|
|Continuous||An Activate task is created when the PO line is sent||Standalone Portfolio (E-book)|
If the only physical items that you order are books, then any Print Book order type (such as Print Book - One Time) is essentially the same as the equivalent Physical type (such as Physical - One Time).
|One-time||Received on Receive New Material page||Item type - Book|
(monograph; non-monograph acts as continuous)
|Material is not received on the Receive New Material page, but rather through a unique workflow. For details, see Receiving Standing Order Monograph Material.||Holdings|
|Electronic Collection||Journal Package||Electronic Collection||One-time, Continuous||An Activate task is created when the PO line is sent||Electronic Collection (Central Knowledge Base-based)|
|Book Package||Electronic Collection||One-time, Continuous|
|Mixed||Electronic Collection||One-time, Continuous|
|Service order (without inventory)||Access service||No inventory is created. The PO line workflow depends on the continuity (a renewal is needed for subscription type orders).
Watch the Purchasing Workflows video series (3 videos).
For information about the PO line types that can be created for each material type and context in Alma, see Enabling/Disabling PO Line Types.