Job Work Flow

Job Work Flow Chart

Pupose and Function

Once you have created a new job you begin what we call the Job Work Flow. You may simply know it as the process of getting bids, awarding the job and ordering it. This process is straight forward and probably very familiar to you:

  1. Prepare Job Specifications
  2. Select Suppliers
  3. Send Request For Quote (RFQ)
  4. Collect Supplier Prices
  5. Compare Prices
  6. Award Job
  7. Create Job Order
  8. Send Job Order

The P3 system has an easy to use analogue for each of these steps. A typical workflow looks very similar. Click on the links below for help with each step:

  1. Prepare Specifications in an RFQ
  2. Selecting suppliers from the Supplier List
  3. Sending the RFQs to your suppliers
  4. Receiving responses and updating bids
  5. Comparing prices using the Compare Bids window and selecting a winning supplier
  6. Creating, authorizing, and sending a job order
  7. Completing the job and updating information for the Reporting System

As you move through the workflow, you will update the Job Status to reflect its current state. As you complete jobs and collect data about suppliers and their performance, the Reporting System will become an extremely useful tool for informed buying and keeping track of your company's affairs. This workflow can be seen in the buttons located along the top of the Job Master.

Buttons running across the top of the Job Master window

Job Master Work Flow Buttons

Conveniently, there is a series of buttons running across the top of the Job Master window that follow the typical Job Work Flow. The same functions are available through the RFQ-Management menu, but the buttons are very convenient.

Select Suppliers - This button will open the Suppliers List window. Click on a supplier from the list, and then click the Add Supplier button. Do this for each supplier you want to bid on the job. If you change your mind, simply deselect the supplier you want to remove. Click here for more information on the Suppliers List page.

Send RFQ - Clicking this button will activate the email generator that will prepare an RFQ (Request For Quote) email message. The subject and introductory text in the message can be modified before sending. The job specifications you created will be appended to the end of the introductory message.

Compare Bids - This button launches the bid comparison window. Once the prices are posted in the system, you can quickly compare suppliers using the Compare Bids window. This window displays a table of the selected suppliers and the prices offered for the job.

To alleviate the nuisance of entering prices manually, P3 Software has created a web page mechanism through which suppliers can enter their prices and comments, and you can download them directly to the job record. On the Compare Bids window there is a button labeled Update Prices that will automatically pick up prices posted for the job through the P3 Software web site. We have taken special precautions to ensure that this process is simple for suppliers and very secure. The Compare Bids window also contains a button that allows you to Award the job to a particular supplier.

Award Job - This process triggers a set of optional email messages to the winning and losing suppliers regarding their bids. In addition, the supplier that is awarded the job is entered on the Job Order automatically.

Order Job - Once the job is awarded to a supplier, you can then click the Order Job button. This will open the Job Order window where you can add information to create a Work Order.

Complete Job - When a job has been completed, click the Complete Job button. This will trigger a series of prompts asking if you want to set the completion date, rate the supplier's performance and deactivate the job. This clean up process is very important for tracking supplier performance and moving old jobs off your active job list.

Job Status

Job Status is a property of each job, shown primarily in the Job List. You can see the status of each job displayed in the circled column below.

Job list menu with Job Status highlighted

Purpose

The Job Status setting for each job has an impact in many places throughout the system. These steps and the Job Status correspond to the steps that a typical job takes as it progresses through the RFQ process and the job ordering and production process.

Enterprise Administrators can customize the Job Status system by adding additional values to the Job Status list, through the Enterprise Settings window.

The default job status options.

The default job status values and their intended use are as follows:

Planning

The specifications are still being written; the supplier list and RFQ are still unlocked. The RFQ has not been sent yet.

Bids Requested

The RFQs have been sent to suppliers, and so the specifications and supplier list are typically locked. Pricing data will begin to appear as bids come in.

Reviewing Prices

All of the bids have been received, and the user is prompted to compare their prices in the Job Master Window.

Awarded

The user has chosen a supplier to produce the job.

Ordered

The job order has been sent to the winning supplier.

Complete

The job is finished, and production is complete.

Canceled

The job has been canceled, but the information is still available.

On Hold

The job is on hold: not progressing in the workflow, but still available.

A user can also select options that show a range of job statuses:

Planning to Reviewing Prices

This includes jobs in planning, bids requested, or reviewing prices stages.

Awarded to Complete

This includes jobs in awarded, ordered, or complete stages.

Ordered to Complete

This includes jobs that are in either the ordered or complete status.

As a job progresses through the production cycle the user will be prompted at certain times to adjust the Job Status. These automatic adjustments take care of most but not all of the cases where a user needs to adjust a job status. It is important also to update the Active checkbox for each job. When a job is complete or not currently being planned, setting it to inactive will make its contents read-only, and hide it from the Job List by default. P3 will prompt you to change the Active checkbox when switching a job's status to Complete, Canceled or On Hold.

Effects of Job Status

Changing a job's status changes how it is displayed in the Job Master.

The dates section and Order Info tab of the Job Master Window after the job is set to Ordered

Changing to Awarded, Ordered, Completed or further:

  • The Order Info tab in the bottom left side of the Job Master Window is displayed first rather than the RFQ Info tab.

Changing to Ordered:

  • The dates section changes to the On-Time Tracking mode.
  • The dates previously set by the user are copied into a second row to indicate the original production plan.

NOTE: As you move forward with production on a job, remember to update the dates in the first row to reflect the current production plan, and to switch them to Actual as each deadline passes. You may switch a date to Actual from Anticipated by clicking on the button below the heading of each column of production dates. Switching a date to Actual prevents it from being changed, and removes it from your deadline calendar (indicates it has been completed).

Send RFQs

Sending RFQs is the third step of the Job Work Flow, after Selecting Job Bidders. The next step is Update Prices.

Send RFQ window from the Job Master window

Overview

Once you have finished creating specifications and any other planning, press the Send RFQs button in the Job Master Workflow Buttons to send out the RFQs to your selected suppliers. The system will then prompt you to indicate if you are sending the RFQ to all the selected suppliers, or to just one. After that, the system will display the Send Email window. This window displays the various pieces of information that will be included in your message to the supplier(s). Once you have reviewed and adjusted the email message and other information, you can click the Send button to send the email message.

The P3Expeditor system will send emails to suppliers with your specifications attached. Each supplier will receive a separate email message with the specifications, the bids due date, and a unique link to an RFQ Response Page. There is no reference to other suppliers in the email; each message is unique for that supplier. Suppliers can then enter their bid in the response webpage. Later, the response can be retrieved and displayed in the P3Expeditor system.

You, the buyer, will also receive a confirmation message. This message will list all the suppliers the message was sent to. It also contains a unique link to an RFQ Response Page. This link is for demonstration purposes only. The demo response page looks like a normal response page, but will not accept any submitted responses. The Buyer's Confirmation email should not be forwarded to other suppliers. The link does not work, and it shows a list of the other bidders.

Note: The email messages are sent from the P3Expeditor system servers. In the email headers we list "emailserver@p3software" as the "Sender" and give your (buyer) address in the "From" and "Reply-To" headers.

Sender: mail_server@p3expeditor.com
From: buyer@customer.com
Reply-To: buyer@customer.com

This generally works well. The Suppliers can reply to the message, and their reply should go to the buyer address. Occasionally, SPAM filters do intercept the messages. So, the first time you contact a supplier through the P3Expeditor system, it is advisable to check to see that they get the message properly.

The Parts of the Message

Whenever you click one of the functions that sends an E-mail message, you will see a version of the Send Email window appropriate to the message being sent. The Email message has several elements to it, each representing the parts of the Email message that will be sent.

"From" - The address in this field will be displayed as the sender of the email. It will show your E-mail address.

"Send confirmation to sender" - This check box controls whether a confirming copy of your message will be sent to your E-mail address.

"Request Return Receipt" - This check box requests a return reciept when the email is opened by the suppliers.

"To" - This box will list all the recipients of the message.

Please Note: Suppliers will each receive a different message addressed only to them. No reference to other suppliers will ever be made in their messages.

"Subject" - This field is the subject of the message. It will be pre-filled in when the E-mail message window opens. You may edit it as you like.

"Intro Note" - This field contains a preset note that you may edit as you like before sending the message. The content of the preset message can also be modified under the Message Editor tab in the My Settings window.

"Web-link" - On RFQ messages and reminders, a web-link will be included in the body of the E-mail message just below the intro note. When activated, this link will automatically open a web page where the supplier can post prices and comments on the job.

"Specifications" - After the web-link the job specification will appear on RFQs and reminders. On work order messages a slightly different set of specifications will appear, including the final quantity, price and purchase order number.

"Attachments" - You may include a file with the RFQ by clicking the Attach File button. A window will pop up for you to choose which file you want to attach. There is also a Remove File button.

Sending the Message

Once you are ready to send the message, simply click the Send Email button in the upper right-hand corner of the window. This will start a connection to the P3Software server and send your message(s). Once activated a display box will appear at the bottom of the Email Message window. This display box will show the steps and errors in the emailing process as they happen. Once the process is complete, a message to that effect will appear in the display box. Once the message is successfully transmitted, simply click the Cancel button to close the Email Message screen.

Email Transmission Errors

If there is an error in transmission, you will be notified in the display box which will appear at the bottom of the window. The system has been programmed to wait for an appropriate length of time for a response from the P3Software server. It may take up to a minute before a No Response error is displayed. The most common reason why you would receive no response is that you are not connected to the Internet. You must establish an Internet connection before sending messages. If you need help with this process, please contact support@p3software.com; and we will contact you as soon as possible.

Supplier Response Page

The Supplier Response Page is used as part of the Job Work Flow and RFQ Process.

RFQ Response Page

Overview

On the right is an example of the Request for Quote Response page. Each RFQ sent to a supplier has a unique link in it to a unique response web page for that supplier for that job. The print suppliers can connect to the response page by clicking on the "Click Here to respond to this RFQ via your Online Response Page" link in the RFQ E-mail. There is no Log In or other impediment to responding. One simple click should launch the response page. Once the supplier has finished filling out the form on the response page, the supplier presses the Submit button, and the data is sent to the P3 servers. When you open the job, their pricing data will update into the Compare Bids section automatically. If you need to enter bid data manually, double-click on a bid in the Compare Bids window, and then double-click on one of the prices in the Bid Information pane to edit it directly.

Entering Prices - Print suppliers can enter their prices on the response page, add comments and attach a file to their response. They have the option of entering prices as cost per unit, cost per thousand or total cost prices.

  • NOTE: suppliers may also decline to offer a price by checking the "Check here if you do not wish to provide a quote for this job" box. Once submitted the prices are securely stored on the P3Software server waiting for the buyer downloads them into their database.

Confirmation Emails - After submitting their quote information, the supplier will receive a confirmation E-mail so they know that their prices were received. The buyer will also immediately get an E-mail notice with the prices and any attachments for the quote.

Price Downloading - After the supplier posts their prices, the buyer can download the prices into their P3Expeditor database by using the Update Prices button located at the top of the Job Master Compare Bids window or the RateCard Manager (depending on whether you are fetching prices for a job or a RateCard), or by using the Update Database option found in various menus. This saves time/labor and eliminates re-keying errors. For more information see Downloading Prices.

Update Prices

Update Prices is the fifth step of the Job Work Flow, after Send RFQs. The next step is Compare Quotes & Award Job.

Update Prices for Job from the Global window / "Update Prices" menu item

Purpose & Function

After quote requests are sent to suppliers, the suppliers may respond to the quote requests through a web page hosted on the P3Software server. When the supplier posts their prices using the Supplier Response Page, they are stored on the server until the user downloads them to their local database. The Supplier Quote Updater window is used to transfer price information submitted by suppliers from the P3Software Web Server to the user's job database.

The Supplier Quote Updater window can be launched from either the Main Application window or from within a specific job. When launched from within a job, only the prices for that specific job are downloaded. When launched from the Main Application window, all new prices that have been submitted for the user's jobs, that have not been downloaded previously will be downloaded. Enterprise administrators have an additional option available to them to update prices for all users.

Generally, the Update Prices function is run from the Main Application window most of the time because it is very convenient. However, since it only downloads the prices once, it is less reliable than running the Update Prices function from within a job. If the user is sure that some prices have come in but they are not showing up through the Global menu / "Update Prices" menu item, they should try updating the prices from within the specific job.

Updating Prices

The Update Prices button as seen in the Compare Bids window.

To run the price update function the user should open the price update window from either the job or the Main Application window. Once the Compare Bids window is open, the user should click on the Update Prices button in the upper right-hand corner of the window. This will start the price updating function. As the function runs, a series of messages will be displayed in the text area in the middle of the window. These messages will detail which jobs are being updated and which suppliers submitted those prices. Any error messages will be displayed there also.

Overwriting

If a job that is being updated already has price information in it, the price updater may prompt the user to decide if the existing prices should be overwritten. This type of situation can occur if prices were entered manually or if a second set of prices was submitted by the supplier. The control at the top of the window determines if the user will be Prompted about overwrites or if they prefer to Always overwrite or Never overwrite. Changes to this control are stored in the user's personal preferences file.

Job List: New Prices Indicator

Close up view of the Job List showing the updated prices flag in the Bids column

When prices are updated from the Main Application window using the Global menu /"Update Prices" menu item, several jobs may be modified. Since it is difficult to remember just which jobs have new information, the system marks the jobs with new prices so you can easily identify them on the Job List. If you view your Job List after updating prices, you can see the special mark in the Bids column on the Job List. Normally the Bids column shows two numbers separated by a slash. The first indicates the number of bidders, and the second indicates the number of bids received so far. When new prices have come in for a job, an asterisk is placed in front of the two numbers. The asterisk will remain there until the user opens the job and closes it.

Enter Bid Data

Entering bid data can be a part of the Job Work Flow in the Compare Quotes & Award Job step.

Bid Details window from the Job Master window / Compare Bids / Details

Overview

The Bid Details window allows you to view and edit the details concerning prices submitted by a supplier.

This Bid Details window can be reached from the Job Master window or the Compare Bids window.

  • On the Job Master window, locate the list of bidders assigned to the job. Highlight and double-click the supplier you want bid details for. That will pop open the Bid Details window.
  • On the Compare Bids window, highlight the supplier you are interested in on the list of suppliers. Then click on the Details button or simply double-click on the supplier listing.

Bid Data

The Bid Details are comprised of three types of information:

  • Bid Information - The supplier can supply a price for each quantity you have requested a quote for. Since some suppliers prefer to provide prices on a cost per thousand basis, you can enter either total cost or cost per thousand. Whichever method is selected, the corresponding total price or price per unit will be calculated and displayed also.
  • Supplier Comments - The supplier may have included some comments with their prices such as cost saving alternatives. The comments field holds this information.

Bid Details Window Menu

  • Bid
    • Bid Reset - deletes the data entered within the bid record.
    • Adjust No Bid Response - Allows the user to mark the Bid as the "Supplier declined opportunity to bid."
    • Edit Estimate Number - allows the user to change the supplier's estimated number.
  • Print
    • Request for Quote - allows the user to request a quote from the supplier.
    • Job Details (Bid) Report - gives the user a detailed job report.

Compare Bids window showing the Implied Price Calculator

Implied Price Calculator

Implied Price Calculator - This is an analytical tool that you can use to extrapolate or interpolate what a printer might charge for your job at a quantity above, below, or between the quantities they quoted. This can be helpful in setting budgets and adjusting them for quantity changes.

Price Analysis - The P3 system will create a formula for the price of any quantity, based on a "linear regression" analysis of the prices supplied by the printer. In practice this is like making a graph of the prices and drawing a straight line through or as close as possible to the points. The point where the line hits the price axis is the fixed cost of the job. The slope of the line will be the variable cost per unit of the job.

  • Total Cost = Fixed Cost + Variable Cost per Unit x Quantity

NOTE: At least 2 price points are required to do the price analysis. When only one price point is provided this function is disabled.

Compare Quotes & Award Job

Comparing quotes and awarding the job are the sixth and seventh steps of the Job Work Flow. These steps are taken after Send RFQs and Update Prices. The next step is Order Job.

Compare Bids window from the Job Master window

Overview

The Compare Bids window allows you to receive and review the bids from each supplier for a particular job. You can also review bid details, award the job, send a reminder for bids and update prices from this window.

Buttons

Bid Report - brings up the Supplier Bid Reports window. You can print the report, send it as an E-mail, view it as a spreadsheet, or an HTML web page.

Award Job - to award a job to a supplier, highlight the supplier and click on the Award Job button. You may at this time notify the supplier that he has been awarded the job. You can also notify the other participating suppliers that their bids were declined.

Send Reminder - after receiving a bid update if a supplier has failed to respond with a bid or indicate no bid, you can highlight the vendor on the list and click the Send Reminder button. The vendor will receive a reminder and RFQ copy.

Update Prices - brings up the Update All Quotes window. The bids are displayed for each print supplier requested to bid. You can also receive your estimates from the Global menu on the Home Page / "Update Prices" menu item.

Bid Details Window - to review or enter pricing for a specific supplier, highlight the supplier name and click the Bid menu / "View Details" menu item. This will take you to the "Bid Details" window for that supplier. You can also double click on the supplier and the Bid Details window will open.

Implied Price Calculator field - if you want to check out what a price might be for a different quantity without repeating the bid process, enter the new quantity in the Implied Price Calculator field. Implied prices are displayed for each supplier based on the suppliers specific pricing for that job. The Implied Price reflects the per unit cost variances specific to the different quantities.

NOTE: It is important to remember that these prices are implied prices and as such don't represent a binding supplier authorized estimate. They are an excellent way to determine a "ballpark" price.

Job Order Window

Ordering a job is the second to last step of the Job Work Flow, after Compare Quotes & Award Job. The next and last step is Complete Job.

Overview

When you award a job to a supplier in the Job Master and its status is set to Awarded, the appearance of the Job Master changes to reflect the next step of the order process. The panel in the bottom-left corner will now, when opening a job, show by default the Order Info tab. Additionally, the specifications will display a new section above General Instructions, called "Order Details," that gives detail on the price, rate, and quantity of your order (once it has been made). Press either the Order Job button in the Job Master Workflow Buttons along the top of the window, or the Order Now button in the Order Info panel to bring up the Job Order Window.

The Job Order window is where you convert your job into a purchase order when you are ready to actually produce the job. This window has tools to pull in information from the quotes your suppliers have provided. Once you have all the numbers in, click the Authorize Order button to lock in the amounts and then email the order to your supplier. Be sure to keep up with the steps of completing a job and updating the Job Status. This is important so that you may use the Reporting System effectively. This section facilitates the building and submitting of Work Orders. This is not a Purchase Order, although it can be substituted for a PO if your firm doesn't use a formal purchase order process. After filling in the Job Order form, you can print it or email it as a Work Order or Purchase Order.

Filling Out the Job Order

Job Order window

The Purchase/Work Order, when finished and printed, looks very similar to the RFQ for the selected job. The system will fill in most of the information for you, including contact details for yourself and the supplier, the name and number of the job, and the specifications for the job. You only need to fill out the Purchase Order Number, delivery and order dates, tax rate, and quantity. You may add order instructions using the text field on the right, and optionally add terms and conditions by pressing the View T&C button.

Order Info tab located in the lower left corner of the Job Master window, General Info tab pane

"Purchase Order #" - Simply fill in whatever PO number you like or click the **Insert Job # ** button to use the current Job Number for the Purchase Order # . If you wish, you may leave the field blank if your firm does not use purchase orders.

"Delivery Date" - Click on the drop list calendar to fill in the expected Delivery Date.

"Order Date" - Click on the drop list calendar to fill in the date the order is placed.

"Quantity/Price" - You can enter the final quantity and price manually, or select it off the list of quantities and prices from the winning supplier's bid data by clicking the View Bid button. You may use the Insert Bid button to fill in one of the quantities and rates from the supplier's response to the RFQ. Double-click on any of the fields in the list to edit it. Finally, use the checkbox in the Tax column to indicated whether to tax a particular line of the order.

"Tax Rate" - Use the drop-down list and Edit button at the bottom of the window to select a tax rate.

The total quantity and price are shown at the bottom of the window, including any taxes. Finally, use the Authorize Order button to authorize and finalize the order. You cannot print or send the Work/Purchase Order until it has been authorized. If needed, you may edit the information again by pressing the Unlock Authorization button (which appears in place of the Authorize Order button). Note that this will require the order to be re-authorized before it can be printed again.

Printing & Sending

Job Order- View, Send, Print menu

Once an order has been authorized, you may use the View/Send/Print menu at the top of the window to review the Purchase/Work Order, send it via email, or print it to an HTML document. Note: Only Purchase Orders can include terms and conditions.

  • Work Order - click this button and choose the output type: Web - HTML, Word - DOC, Acrobat - PDF, or Email - PDF button on the pop-up window to configure and print or email the order to the supplier (works much the same as an RFQ email).

Purchase Order Options from the Job List panel / Job Master window / Order menu / View/Send/Print menu / "Purchase Order" menu item

  • Purchase Order - will bring up a window for your Purchase Order Options. Indicate the Report Format which includes the options of: Web - HTML, Word - DOC, Acrobat - PDF, or Email - PDF. Next choose the Output Type which includes "Plain Purchase Order", "Purchase Order with T&C" or "Terms & Conditions Only". Only Purchase Orders may include terms and conditions. Again, you may print the order, or send it to the supplier in an email message. You also can choose to Show Approval Block and determine what the font size should be. The Approval Block displays the name of the person who approved the purchase order.

  • Terms & Conditions - View and edit the terms and conditions for the order. Works identically to the View T&C button next to the quantity list.

  • Winning Bid - View the pricing and supplier information for the winning bid. Works identically to the View Bid button next to the quantity list.

Important: Once the Purchase or Work Order has been sent, be sure to track your results and eventually fully complete the job.

Complete Job

The last step of the Job Work Flow after ordering the job is marking the job complete. This is important to do for two reasons. First, completing a job will prompt you to mark it as inactive, meaning the Job List will no longer display it by default. This reduces clutter in your workspace and keeps your focus on work that has not been completed. Second, a prompt will appear to set the completion date, and rate the supplier on their performance. This is important for your own records in the Reporting System (particularly the P3 Summary By Quality Rating and P3 Orders Report Card). By rating your suppliers' performances after each job, you can later see if a supplier often does not meet your expectations or does not complete the job on time. For more information about this, see Reporting System.

Job Master Window with Notes and History Pane

The easiest way to complete a job once production has finished and the materials have been shipped/received is to press the Complete Job button in the upper right corner of the Job Master. Make sure to make any notes you need to in the Job Rating pane, and that you have updated the production dates to Actual in the General Info tab.

A prompt will then appear to set the job rating, and another one to confirm the completion date of the job. The available ratings are Major Problem, Minor Problem, Met All Expectations, Exceeded Expectations, and Excellent. You can configure this list and add more ratings through the Enterprise Labels & Lists tab of the My Settings Window.

Set Job Rating Window with dropdown

The job rating you select will be visible when this job or supplier is included in certain reports from the Reporting System, and the actual vs. anticipated production dates will be used to calculate the supplier's on time percentage, among other statistics.