restaurant-management | 7 mins read

5 Reasons to Swap Your Supply Order Forms for Automated Inventory Management

5 reasons to swap your supply order forms for automated inventory management 1646373123 7575
Archita Wagle

By Archita Wagle

What is a Supply Order Form?

A restaurant has to ensure its inventory has enough stock to keep the daily operations running smoothly. A restaurant manager or owner has to take regular stock of the inventory and place an order with vendors for items needed to be stocked.

A supply order is a document a restaurant issues to the vendor with a request for purchase of inventory items. A supply order form is a document that has details about the order for the stock needed and the quantity. It also includes details about the payment, contact information and rules about non-compliance. A supply order form is a necessary document for a restaurant to track orders. A restaurant can make use of a form template since a supply order form has to be filled out frequently.

How do Restaurants Use Supply Order Forms?

A restaurant owner or manager can delegate staff to keep track of the inventory. They can be tasked with recording stock levels and filling in-order forms. A restaurant needs to have a detailed supply order form as it is a record of the stock it has requested from its vendors.

Here's what an order form should include-

  • Date on which the supply order form is drawn up
  • Customer number allotted by the supplier
  • Name, phone number and the address of the buyer and vendor
  • Item codes assigned to each item on the order form
  • Item description for every item on the order form
  • Price of individual items and total price of all items on the order form
  • Payment method used and details of discounts offered
  • Authorised signature of the buyer and vendor

A restaurant will enter the relevant details of the inventory required and send it to the vendor. The vendor will accept the supply order or negotiate over price. Once the details are sorted out, the supplier will accept the order. It is at this time that the buyer issues a formal purchase order which is a legally binding contract. Supply order forms are an integral part of the Supply Chain between the vendor and the restaurant.

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Difference between Supply Order and Purchase Order

difference between supply order and purchase order 1646373124 7805

There is a process to be followed when placing an order for restocking inventory. When a restaurant needs to order stock utensils or consumables, a restaurant employee will generally use a purchase requisition form template for permission to buy the goods. The person in charge will approve the requisition and create a supply order form to be submitted to the vendor. Once the vendor agrees to fulfil the order, a purchase order is sent by the buyer.

The difference between purchase requisition form, supply order and purchase order is outlined below.

  1. A purchase requisition is filled out by an employee seeking approval for the purchase of the required items.
  2. A supply order is the document sent by the restaurant manager/ buyer to the vendor to purchase the required items at the price they want. The vendor can offer discounts or renegotiate the price or the conditions with the buyer. The order form is not a legal contract. It can be termed as a document for negotiation.
  3. A Purchase Order is a final order form submitted by the buyer which lists the items and quantities required at the price determined during the supply order transaction and the date of delivery. It is legal contract which offers the buyer a guarantee of stock supply, and the vendor insurance against non-payment.

Drawbacks of Using Supply Order Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets are a conventional tool for keeping track of tasks, and many of us are familiar with Excel spreadsheets. But supply order spreadsheets will never be able to win over order management software.

Here's how supply order spreadsheets don't match up-

1. Inaccuracy- Data has to be manually entered in an Excel supply order form, raising a high chance of incorrect stock details entered. Formulas for calculating totals and discounts have to also be manually entered and any error in entering these can throw the entire order off balance.
2. Lack of real time information- Inventory is updated in real time in a software system, but Excel sheets are updated manually and the order form data may be days, weeks or months old.
3. No access- Spreadsheets can usually be accessed by a limited number of users which can delay the processing of order forms.
4. No accountability- There is no way to determine who has entered the data in the spreadsheet, making it difficult to seek clarification or accountability for errors.
5. Lack of analytics- Spreadsheets are unable to give detailed analytics and reports about Food Supply, inventory and supply orders due to lack of real time data.

5 Benefits of Inventory Management Software

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After looking at the drawbacks of using supply order spreadsheets, lets now see how using an inventory management system helps a restaurant streamline its Order Management process.

  1. Real time tracking- An inventory management system will show you the cost of an order in real time and help you manage budgets, ensuring that your cash flow is unaffected. Since the supply order is directly entered into the software, it makes it easy to track order forms.
  2. Easy to process- Software makes it easy to fill out an inventory order form and manage the supply order for inventory. One doesn't have to be trained to fill out order forms as the system walks the employee through the process.
  3. Centralized process- An automated order management system ensures that all supply order and purchase order forms are in one place, but can be accessed from anywhere. The centralized process makes it easy to track and fulfill orders.
  4. Saves time- Any automated system will save time as much of the process is completed by the software itself. Management software also reduces mistakes caused by human error, like entering incorrect items in the supply order form.
  5. Accurate- The software issues alerts when inventory levels reach a predetermined mark. This ensures that form supply requests are processed in an error-free and efficient manner.

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Best Management Software for Supply Order of 2022

A good inventory management system should help restaurants manage stock levels, supply orders and purchase orders, recipes, and menu costs. It should also sync seamlessly with the restaurant's POS system.

Here's a list of the best restaurant inventory management software in the market-

1. Hubworks- This back-office solution for restaurants offers individual apps that handle inventory management, food management, Supply Chain, food safety compliance, and a host of other restaurant-related functions. Its Zip Inventory software keeps track of inventory goods in real time, accurately and speedily.
2. MarketMan- This cloud-based inventory management app provides features like inventory counting, budgeting, purchasing, food costing, and vendor management. It can be integrated with several POS systems.
3. xtraCHEF by Toast- A cloud-based restaurant inventory and vendor management app that also offers a free subscription tier for supply order management and invoice uploads.
4. Revel Systems- This product sets up user permissions to specific functions, like controlled access to supply order form maintenance, so that overall security is not compromised.
5. Upserve by Lightspeed- A management app for small to midsize businesses, it offers a range of tools for inventory management as well as offline features for inventory counts.

Supply Order FAQs

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What is Supply Chain?
A Supply Chain can be defined as the process of coordinating the various activities needed to produce and deliver goods and services to customers. It is a network between a company and its suppliers to procure a specific product or service. The four main elements of supply chain are integration, operations, purchasing and distribution.

What is Inventory Management?

Inventory management is the practice of ensuring that optimum stock is available to meet customer demands and meet sales forecast, without holding excess stock and tying up cash.

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See what our customers are saying about us.

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"Our customer's trust is what keeps us in business. They expect fresh tasting food with no threat of ill-born diseases. Zip HACCP keeps us compliant with HACCP and FDA regulations through its integrated temperature solutions, food safety assurance, and end-to-end task reporting. We also use Zip Inventory to save time on inventory counts and have much-needed predictability to our ordering process. The Hubworks business management apps are perfect for our restaurants."


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