Using Purchase Orders for Inventory Control

Using Purchase Orders for Inventory Control


Inventory control is an essential aspect of managing any business that deals with physical products. The ability to track and manage inventory levels accurately can make a significant difference in the success of a company. One useful tool for inventory control is the use of purchase orders. In this article, we will delve into the benefits of using purchase orders for inventory control, how they work, and the steps involved in implementing them. By understanding the advantages and steps involved, businesses can effectively streamline their inventory management process and avoid common pitfalls.

Benefits of Using Purchase Orders for Inventory Control:

1. Accurate Inventory Tracking: Purchase orders enable businesses to maintain accurate records of inventory levels. By creating a purchase order for each order placed, businesses can track incoming shipments and compare them to the quantities ordered, ensuring that inventory levels are always up to date.

2. Improved Order Accuracy: Purchase orders provide a detailed list of items to be ordered, including product descriptions, quantities, and prices. This documentation reduces the chances of errors or misunderstandings, ensuring that the correct items are received and inventory counts remain accurate.

3. Cost Control: With purchase orders, businesses can negotiate prices and terms with suppliers before placing an order. By having documented agreements in place, businesses can prevent unexpected price increases, monitor spending, and take advantage of bulk discounts, ultimately improving their bottom line.

4. Streamlined Reordering Process: Purchase orders simplify the reordering process by providing a structured template to fill out for each order. This template includes all necessary information, such as item descriptions, quantities, and delivery details, making it easy for employees to place orders accurately and quickly.

5. Vendor Communication: Purchase orders serve as a means of communication between businesses and vendors. They provide all the necessary details to complete an order, such as shipping instructions, payment terms, and delivery dates. This improves communication and reduces the chances of miscommunication or delays in order fulfillment.

How Purchase Orders Work:

1. Creating a Purchase Order: To create a purchase order, businesses must include essential details such as the vendor’s name and contact information, the requested items with their descriptions and quantities, delivery instructions, payment terms, and any other relevant information. Purchase order templates are often available in accounting or inventory management software for ease of use.

2. Sending the Purchase Order: Once the purchase order is created, it is typically sent to the vendor via email, fax, or through an online portal. The vendor will review the purchase order and either accept the order as is or provide a revised version.

3. Order Confirmation: After reviewing the purchase order, the vendor will send an order confirmation, acknowledging the receipt and acceptance of the order. This confirmation will include any revisions made to the original purchase order.

4. Receipt of Goods: When the goods are received, the business compares the delivered items to the purchase order to ensure that everything is accurate. Any discrepancies should be reported to the vendor for resolution.

5. Invoice Matching: Upon verifying that the delivered items match the purchase order, businesses closely examine the vendor’s invoice to ensure that the prices and quantities align with the agreed terms. This step is crucial in preventing overbilling and identifying any discrepancies early on.

Implementing Purchase Orders:

1. Evaluate Your Needs: Before implementing purchase orders, it is essential to determine your business’s specific requirements. Consider factors such as the complexity of your inventory, the number of suppliers you work with, and the potential cost and time savings. This evaluation will help you plan and tailor the purchase order process accordingly.

2. Choose Software: There are various inventory management software options available that include purchase order functionality. Conduct thorough research, read reviews, and compare different software solutions to find the best fit for your business needs.

3. Train Employees: Once you have selected an inventory management software, train your employees on how to create and use purchase orders effectively. Explain the importance of accurate data entry and the steps involved in the purchase order process.

4. Establish Processes: Set clear processes and guidelines for creating, sending, and reconciling purchase orders. Standardize the process across your organization to ensure consistency and minimize errors.

5. Monitor and Analyze: Regularly monitor and analyze your purchase order data to identify areas for improvement. Look for patterns, such as recurring discrepancies, delays, or issues with specific vendors, and take proactive measures to rectify them.


Using purchase orders for inventory control provides numerous benefits, including accurate inventory tracking, improved order accuracy, cost control, streamlined reordering processes, and enhanced vendor communication. By understanding how purchase orders work and following the implementation steps, businesses can effectively manage their inventory, avoid stockouts or excess inventory, and optimize their supply chain operations. Invest the time and effort into implementing purchase orders, and your business will reap the rewards of efficient and controlled inventory management.


1. Why are purchase orders essential for inventory control?

Purchase orders are essential for inventory control because they enable businesses to track and manage inventory levels accurately. They provide a structured process for ordering goods, documenting agreements with vendors, and ensuring that correct items and quantities are received.

2. How do purchase orders help improve order accuracy?

Purchase orders include detailed information about the items to be ordered, such as descriptions, quantities, and prices. This documentation reduces the chances of errors or misunderstandings, ensuring that the correct items are received and inventory counts remain accurate.

3. Can purchase orders help with cost control?

Yes, purchase orders can help with cost control. By creating purchase orders, businesses can negotiate prices and terms with suppliers before placing an order. This allows businesses to prevent unexpected price increases, monitor spending, and take advantage of bulk discounts.

4. How do businesses implement purchase orders?

To implement purchase orders, businesses should evaluate their needs, choose inventory management software with purchase order functionality, train employees, establish standardized processes, and regularly monitor and analyze purchase order data for improvement opportunities.

5. What are the benefits of using inventory management software with purchase order functionality?

Inventory management software with purchase order functionality streamlines the purchase order process, reduces errors, provides real-time inventory tracking, improves communication with vendors, and allows for analysis and optimization of inventory management processes.


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