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    Purchasing Workflow

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    Introduction to Purchasing Workflows

    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.
    purchasingWF_Dec2014.png
    Purchasing Workflow
    The following is a detailed description of the steps within this workflow (with the numbers corresponding to the numbers in the diagram):
    1. 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 the Required Steps to Create an Order section, below, for electronic/physical material types. See also Creating PO Lines.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
      • 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.
      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.
    5. 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.
      • 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 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.
    6. 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.
    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.

    Required Steps to Create an Order

    The three primary ways to create orders are:

    The methods described above can create orders for both physical and electronic resource material types. See the lists below for the steps required to create an order for each one of the material types:

    For electronic orders originating from OASIS it is recommended to use the API approach for complete descriptive information and access information

    Physical Resources Order Methods

    Physical – Manual order

    Configuration action

    Description

    No special configuration is needed for manual ordering

     

     

    Physical – EOD (embedded order data)

    Configuration action

    Description

    Configure default Metadata template

    Ensure that a default metadata template is configured. Open Metadata Editor > Template. Choose the template you want to define as a default. Select Properties, and select as default.

    Vendor settings

    Make sure that the vendor in Alma is configured not to send outgoing EDI messages for POs. Other EDI messages (e.g. for invoices) can be sent if this is your workflow. Read more about vendor EDI

    Provide the vendor with relevant ordering information

    For the vendor to be able to create orders in Alma it needed to know some mandatory parameters:

    Owning Library code(s) – the library that the created PO line will be assigned to. You must supply a list of possible owning library codes to the vendor. The implementation on the vendor side might be to give a drop-down on the ordering form, to choose the relevant owning library. Other implementation might be to associate an account to a single owning library. In this case, the operator must be logged in with the relevant account.

    The vendor can use the retrieve libraries API in order to get full list of libraries, or the get library API in order to check a code of specific library.

    Location code(s) – this is the location in which the related item(s) will be created. Relevant only for physical material.

    The vendor can use the retrieve locations API in order to get the list of locations.

    Fund code(s) – this is the fund from which the payment will be done.

    The vendor can use the Retrieve funds API.

     

    Create a New Order import profile or copy an existing profile

    Go to Acquisitions > Manage import profiles. Ensure that the Vendor reference number information received from the EDI invoice is mapped to Alma. See Managing Import Profiles.

    Ensure that you have the correct Submission Format option selected

     

    Configure an Update inventory import profile

    Go to Acquisitions > Manage import profiles. When the invoice is received for order created with EOD, the vendor places a full MARC records file on their FTP server. Alma imports the full MARC record, uses the update inventory import profile to match that record to the PO line, and overlays the brief records. A match is done either by PO line number or by vendor reference number.

    Physical – API

    Configuration action

    Description

    Configure default Metadata template

    Ensure that a default metadata template is configured. Go to Metadata Editor > template. Choose the template to define as a default. Select Properties. Select as default.

    Send vendor the API key

    An API key should be generated by the institution and supplied to the vendor.

    Each vendor should be supplied with a unique separate API key.  In this way, should the event arise whereby the institution wants to discontinue working with a specific vendor, then that specific API key can be disabled via the developer's network.  Other API keys will continue functioning as usual.

    • Login to the Developers Network using the institution account
    • Define an application with the name, Integration with vendor.
    • Add Acquisition API to the application, with read/write permissions.
    • Add Configuration API to the application, with read only permissions.

    You can define the API with your sandbox or with production environments.

    • Copy the API key of the application. This is the API key that will be used as part of the vendor API calls in order to identify your institution.
    • We recommend defining an API restriction profile. For more information, see Working with API restriction profiles.

    Provide the vendor with relevant ordering information

    The following parameters are mandatory for vendors to create orders in Alma: 

    Vendor code and Vendor account code – These refer to the vendor record in Alma. The created PO line will be related to that vendor and vendor account. Verify that this vendor in Alma is configured not to send outgoing EDI messages for POs. Other EDI messages (e.g. for invoices) can be sent if this is your workflow. 

    Owning Library code(s) – The library that is assigned to the new PO line. You will need to supply a list of possible owning library codes to the vendor. The implementation on the vendor side can include a drop-down on the ordering form, to choose the relevant owning library. Another approach can be to associate an account to a single owning library. In this case, the operator will have to be logged in with the relevant account.

    The vendor can use the retrieve libraries API in order to get full list of libraries, or the get library API in order to check a code of specific library.

     Location code(s) – The location created for the related item(s). Only relevant for physical material.

    The vendor can use the retrieve locations API in order to get the list of locations.

    Fund code(s) – The fund from which the payment is generated.

    The vendor can use the Retrieve funds API.

    For more information, please see Real Time Acquisitions Setup for Institutions

    Create New order integration profile

    New Order API Integration Profile determines the matching rules that you want to apply. For more information, see How the bibliographic record is determined. Validations for fund related issues can also be configured as documented here (docx).

     

    Configure an Update inventory import profile

    When creating orders in Alma via API for physical/electronic materials, a Brief record is created in Alma containing basic fields of the created MARC record. An update inventory import profile is used to find these brief records (using the purchase order line number or the vendor reference number) and overlay it with the full MARC information.

    See Overlaying a Brief Record.

    Electronic resources order methods

    Electronic – Manual order

    Configuration action

    Description

    No special configuration is needed for manual ordering

     

     

    Electronic –EOD (embedded order data)

    Configuration action

    Description

    Configure default Metadata template

    Ensure that a default metadata template is configured. Go to Metadata Editor > template. Choose the template you want to define as a default. Select properties and select as default.

    Vendor settings

    Verify that the vendor in Alma is configured not to send outgoing EDI messages for POs. Other EDI messages (e.g. for invoices) can be sent if this is your workflow. Read more about vendor EDI

    Provide the vendor with relevant ordering information

    For the vendor to be able to create orders in Alma it needed to know some mandatory parameters:

    Owning Library code(s) – The library that is assigned to the new PO line. You will need to supply a list of possible owning library codes to the vendor. The implementation on the vendor side can include a drop-down on the ordering form, to choose the relevant owning library. Another approach can be to associate an account to a single owning library. In this case, the operator will have to be logged in with the relevant account.

    The vendor can use the retrieve libraries API in order to get full list of libraries, or the get library API in order to check a code of specific library.

     Location code(s) – The location created for the related item(s). Only relevant for physical material.

    The vendor can use the retrieve locations API in order to get the list of locations.

    Fund code(s) – The fund from which the payment is generated.

    The vendor can use the Retrieve funds API.

    For more information, please see Real Time Acquisitions Setup for Institutions

    Create a new order import profile or copy an existing profile

    Go to Acquisitions > Manage import profiles. Ensure that the Vendor reference number information received from the EDI invoice is mapped to Alma. See Managing Import Profiles.

    Ensure that you have the correct Submission Format option selected

     

    Configure an Update inventory import profile

    Go to Acquisitions > Manage import profiles. When the invoice is received for order created with EOD, the vendor places a full MARC records file on their FTP server. Alma imports the full MARC record, uses the update inventory import profile to match that record to the PO line, and overlays the brief records. A match is done either by PO line number or by vendor reference number.

    Electronic – API

    Configuration action

    Description

    Configure default metadata template

    Ensure that a default metadata template is configured. Go to Metadata Editor > template. Choose the template to define as a default. Select Properties. Select as default.

    Send vendor the API key

    An API key should be generated by the institution and supplied to the vendor.

    Each vendor should be supplied with a unique separate API key.  In this way, should the event arise whereby the institution wants to discontinue working with a specific vendor, then that specific API key can be disabled via the developer's network.  Other API keys will continue functioning as usual.

    • Login to the Developers Network using the institution account
    • Define an application with the name, Integration with vendor.
    • Add Acquisition API to the application, with read/write permissions.
    • Add Configuration API to the application, with read only permissions.

    You can define the API with your sandbox or with production environments.

    • Copy the API key of the application. This is the API key that will be used as part of the vendor API calls in order to identify your institution.
    • We recommend defining an API restriction profile. For more information, see Working with API restriction profiles.

     

    Provide the vendor with relevant ordering information

    The following parameters are mandatory for vendors to create orders in Alma: 

    Vendor code and Vendor account code – These refer to the vendor record in Alma. The created PO line will be related to that vendor and vendor account. Verify that this vendor in Alma is configured not to send outgoing EDI messages for POs. Other EDI messages (e.g. for invoices) can be sent if this is your workflow. 

    Owning Library code(s) – The library that is assigned to the new PO line. You will need to supply a list of possible owning library codes to the vendor. The implementation on the vendor side can include a drop-down on the ordering form, to choose the relevant owning library. Another approach can be to associate an account to a single owning library. In this case, the operator will have to be logged in with the relevant account.

    The vendor can use the retrieve libraries API in order to get full list of libraries, or the get library API in order to check a code of specific library.

     Location code(s) – The location created for the related item(s). Only relevant for physical material.

    The vendor can use the retrieve locations API in order to get the list of locations.

    Fund code(s) – The fund from which the payment is generated.

    The vendor can use the Retrieve funds API.

    For more information, please see Real Time Acquisitions Setup for Institutions

    Create New order integration profile

    New Order API Integration Profile determines the matching rules that you want to apply. For more information, see How the bibliographic record is determined. Validations for fund related issues can also be configured as documented here (docx).

    Configure an Update inventory import profile

    When creating orders in Alma via API for physical/electronic materials, a Brief record is created in Alma containing basic fields of the created MARC record. An update inventory import profile is used to find these brief records (using the purchase order line number or the vendor reference number) and overlay it with the full MARC information.

    See Overlaying a Brief Record.

    Electronic Resources Order Methods for Orders Originating from OASIS

    See Real-Time ordering for full list of providers.

    Electronic – API

    Configuration action

    Description

    Configure default metadata template

    Ensure that a default metadata template is configured. Go to Metadata Editor > template. Choose the template to define as a default. Select Properties. Select as default.

    Send vendor the API key

    An API key should be generated by the institution and supplied to the vendor.

    Use OASIS-Onboarding@proquest.com to contact OASIS

    Each vendor should be supplied with a unique separate API key.  In this way, should the event arise whereby the institution wants to discontinue working with a specific vendor, then that specific API key can be disabled via the developer's network.  Other API keys will continue functioning as usual.

    • Login to the Developers Network using the institution account
    • Define an application with the name, Integration with vendor.
    • Add Acquisition API to the application, with read/write permissions.
    • Add Configuration API to the application, with read only permissions.

    You can define the API with your sandbox or with production environments.

    • Copy the API key of the application. This is the API key that will be used as part of the vendor API calls in order to identify your institution.
    • We recommend defining an API restriction profile. For more information, see Working with API restriction profiles.

     

    Provide the vendor with relevant ordering information

    The following parameters are mandatory for vendors to create orders in Alma: 

    Vendor code and Vendor account code – These refer to the vendor record in Alma. The created PO line will be related to that vendor and vendor account. Verify that this vendor in Alma is configured not to send outgoing EDI messages for POs. Other EDI messages (e.g. for invoices) can be sent if this is your workflow. 

    Owning Library code(s) – The library that is assigned to the new PO line. You will need to supply a list of possible owning library codes to the vendor. The implementation on the vendor side can include a drop-down on the ordering form, to choose the relevant owning library. Another approach can be to associate an account to a single owning library. In this case, the operator will have to be logged in with the relevant account.

    The vendor can use the retrieve libraries API in order to get full list of libraries, or the get library API in order to check a code of specific library.

     Location code(s) – The location created for the related item(s). Only relevant for physical material.

    The vendor can use the retrieve locations API in order to get the list of locations.

    Fund code(s) – The fund from which the payment is generated.

    The vendor can use the Retrieve funds API.

    For more information, please see Real Time Acquisitions Setup for Institutions

    Create New order integration profile

    New Order API Integration Profile determines the matching rules that you want to apply. For more information, see How the bibliographic record is determined. Validations for fund related issues can also be configured as documented here (docx).

    Activate the relevant collection from the community zone

    To successfully create an electronic resource (portfolio) within a collection in Alma, the institution must have the relevant collection in their Institution Zone activated from the Community Zone. 

    Currently, the functionality of creating the resource within a collection during the order process is available only for orders originating from OASIS and GOBI from their supported eBook platforms. 

    See Activating Electronic Resources

    Explanation of Purchase Types Workflow and Inventory

    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:
      • When using a prediction pattern: After selecting Open predicted item in the MD Editor. See Prediction Patterns.
      • Otherwise: Upon receipt of the issue or bound volume.
      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 workflow information:
      • 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.
    • License Upgrade – You can record purchases which reflect the license upgrades purchase model. Additionally, a PO line can be created without a fund and price for the scenario where a License upgrade has no charge and needs to be recorded in the system. The option to set a PO line as no charge is compatible with the following acquisition methods: Purchase, Approval Plan, and Purchase at Vendor System. When selecting any of these values in the Acquisition Method of the PO line, the No Charge check box appears. When this check box is selected, the Funding and Pricing sections are hidden.
    • 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).
    Repository Search, Recommended Purchase Types, Workflow & Inventory
    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)
    Print 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
    Standing Order
    (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).
    • Use the Electronic Collection - One-Time/Continuous purchase types. (You can define the Collection type as Database in the Electronic Collection Editor.)
    • These PO line types cannot be the main PO line of inventory, but can be added as additional PO lines to inventory. See Manually Creating a PO Line for more information.
    Database service
    Other service
    If you order an item on the title level, it will only display the order link for that item in all title search. If you order an item on the electronic collection level, it will only display the order link for that item on a electronic collection search.
    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.