Icon for Extended procurement taskflow solution

Extended procurement

The 'Extended procurement' taskflow is designed to assist you with the procurement process in a busy company. This is particularly useful when requests for purchases need to be reviewed by managers or executives, or when multiple quotes are needed from different companies before the orders can be placed.

A step-by-step guide to extended procurement

This guide will explain the ‘Extended procurement’ taskflow step by step.
It makes use of numerous screenshots, but if you’d like to follow along in the Kotive webapp, you can sign up and copy the taskflow into your account for free.
Keep the taskflow open in a separate tab in your browser, and interact with it while reading the steps in this guide.

Section 1: Creating a purchase request

In this section, an employee submits a request for the items that they would like to have purchased, and their manager is notified about the request.

Generate purchase request

The first thing you'll notice on this form is a big paragraph that's titled: !!! IMPORTANT CHANGES you need to make BEFORE running this taskflow: This paragraph contains instructions on how to personalize the taskflow for you and your company. If you intend to run the taskflow, these changes can not be ignored.

Next you'll notice that there are four faded out fields. These are called 'hidden fields'. These fields capture information without displaying them to the user and make their information available to other tasks in the taskflow.

The taskflow starts when a logged-in employee fills in this form.

If the employee selects 'Yes' in the 'Is your purchase request urgent?' radiobutton field, then after saving this form, they're shown a second form, called 'Motivate'. If they select 'No', then the 'Motivate' form is skipped out, and the taskflow moves on to the 'Confirmation' and 'Notify manager' email tasks. This is possible because of conditions.
Generate purchase request

Motivate

The conditions for this form are:

Activate this task when...
'Is your purchase request urgent?' IS 'Yes'
AND
'Email' IS '{user.email:{field.value:3692}}'

The only time when anybody will be able to see this form is if they were the person who completed and saved the previous form; and if they said that 'Yes', my purchase request is urgent.

The only field this form is 'Why is your request urgent?' The employee will be required to fill in this field and save the form, and the taskflow will continue.

Motivate

Confirmation

The conditions for this email are:

Activate this task when...
'Is your purchase request urgent?' IS 'No'
OR
'Why is your purchase request urgent?' IS NOT '_______'

The email will be sent EITHER if the employee said that their purchase request was NOT urgent in the 'Generate purchase request' form, OR if they completed the field 'Why is your purchase request urgent?' in the previous task, and therefore the field is not blank.

What's the point of this?

These conditions make sure that the employee only receives a confirmation email after he's finished placing his purchase request, whether the request is urgent or not. The next email (the 'Notify manager' email task) that will be explained has these same conditions, but they serve an extra purpose there. This email is sent at the same time as the 'Notify manager' email.

Confirmation

Notify manager

This task has the same conditions that are in the 'Confirmation' email task. This time, the conditions determine the content that's pulled into the email itself.

Let's start by looking at how the email is typed up. There are lots of normal looking text words, but there are also lots of rectangular, shaded in, blocks of text. What's the difference?

Well, the normal text is just that: normal text. There's nothing special about it. But the blocks of text are actually information that is being pulled in from earlier forms. If you click on the text area of the email, you'll see that it changes and suddenly looks like a lot of code with lots of curly brackets { } and numbers. This code (also called dynamic field tags) is what tells these fields of text what they're going to end up saying. When this email gets sent to the manager, it won't look like it does now, it will all be normal text, because the taskflow will look at the previous forms and put the information from those forms into this email.


IF 'Is your purchase request urgent?' IS 'No', then the email will be sent as soon as the 'Generate purchase request' form is saved.

Or, IF 'Why is your purchase request urgent?' IS NOT '____', then the email will wait for the field in the 'Motivate' form to be filled in before it gets sent, so that it can also pull in the reason why the request is urgent before it gets sent to the manager for approval.

Once the manager has received the email, they'll follow a link that leads them to review the purchase request in the next task.

Notify manager


Section 2: Manager review

In this section, the manager approves or denies the employee's purchase request.

Manager review

The conditions in this form are:

Activate this task when...
'Email' IS '{user.email:{field.value:4461}}'
OR
'Role' IS 'Executive'

So, the form will be displayed IF the user logged in is the same person that the employee selected as their manager in the first form, or IF the user logged in is an 'Executive' in your company (in case the manager isn't available to review the request).

The manager will need to 'Approve' or 'Deny' the request, or submit it for further review if they think that the request 'Has merit'.

Each of these decisions will lead to different tasks being activated. These tasks are the 'Reason for request denial' form, the sub-taskflow 'Has merit' and/or the 'Approved to originator' email.

Manager review

Reason for request denial

This form has the conditions:

Activate this task when...
'Approve the order?' IS 'Deny'
AND 'Role' IS 'Executive'
OR
'Approve the order?' IS 'Deny'
AND 'Email' IS '{user.email:{field.value:4461}}'

This task will only display if the manager denied the request in the previous form, and if the person logged in is EITHER an executive OR the employee's manager .

The manager will then explain why the request was denied, and this information will be pulled into the 'Denied to originator' email (this email is positioned later in the taskflow), as soon as this form is complete.

Reason for request denial


Section 3: Forward the request to an executive

If the manager decides that the request 'Has merit', then they are guided through the process of forwarding the request to an executive. The executive is notified and makes a decision, and the manager is informed of that decision.

Has merit

The only condition for this sub-taskflow is:

Activate this task when...
'Approve the order?' IS 'Has merit'

If the request has merit, then an executive needs to assist the manager by approving or denying the request, which is what this sub-taskflow covers.

Has merit

Forward the request

The only condition on this form is:

Activate this task when...
'Email' IS '{user.email:{field.value:4461}}'

The employee's manager can view this task. (The executive would not need to view this form if he was acting as a manager in the previous tasks.)

The manager chooses a specific executive to forward the request to, and explains why they've forwarded the request.

Forward the request

Notify executive

The executive chosen by the manager in the previous task is sent an email. (This email address is pulled in from the chosen executive's user profile.) There's a link in this email that directs the executive to move onto the next task.
Notify executive

Review and decide

This form has the only condition of:

Activate this task when...
'Email' IS '{user.email:{field.value:4494}}'

Only the executive chosen by the manager in the form 'Forward the request' can view this form.

The executive then reviews the purchase request and the purchase is either 'Approved' or 'Denied'. If the executive isn't too busy, they have the option to explain why they made their decision.

Review and decide

Inform manager

The manager is notified by email of the decision made by the executive. If the executive included an explanation in the previous task, the manager will be able to read it in this email.

Inform manager

After this email has been sent, the sub-taskflow is complete and the original taskflow continues.

Section 4: Notifying the employee

The emails in this section are to inform the employee of the decision that was made about whether to approve or deny their purchase request.

Approved to originator

This email task can be activated by two conditions:

Activate this task when...
'Approve the order?' IS 'Approve'
OR
'Would you like to approve the purchase request?' IS 'Approved'

So, EITHER the manager can approve the order in the form 'Manager review', and this email will be sent, OR if the manager forwards the request to the executive and the executive approves the order in 'Review and decide', then this email will be sent.

The employee will be notified by email that their purchase request has been approved. If the executive approved it and gave a reason why, the employee will see that in this email.

Approved to originator

Denied to originator

This email task can also be activated by two conditions:

Activate this task when...
'Why did you deny the request?' IS NOT '____'
OR
'Would you like to approve the purchase request?' IS 'Denied'

So, EITHER the manager can deny the request in the form 'Manager review', and then fill in the textarea 'Why did you deny the request?', and this email will be sent, OR if the manager forwards the request to the executive and the executive denies the order in 'Review and decide', then this email will be sent.

The employee will be notified by email that their purchase request has been denied. If a reason was given for the denial, the employee will see that in this email.

Denied to originator


Section 5: Getting the purchasing department involved

Up to this point in the taskflow, the purchasing department has had no part in the procurement process. In this section, the purchasing department selects suppliers for quote requests, makes preparations to receive the quotes, and decides who should create the formal brief.

Notify purchasing

This email task has the same conditions as the email task 'Approved to originator', because it must only be sent if the order has been approved already.

The purpose of this task is to notify the purchasing department of the new purchase request, and to prompt them to select suppliers in the next task.
Notify purchasing

Select suppliers

The only condition on this form is:

Activate this task when...
'Role' IS 'Purchasing Department'

In this form, the purchasing department will select three different suppliers to send quotes to. The supplier that was suggested by the employee in the first form (Generate purchase request'), is displayed at the top of this form. This makes it easy for the purchasing department to see the supplier's details and select them in one of the dropdown menus below.
Select suppliers

Create supplier folders

This form is also only available for the purchasing department to view. The purchasing officer is guided to create (or to select previously created) folders, in Google Drive or Dropbox, for each of the suppliers. These folders will be used later, by the suppliers, to upload their quotes to.
Create supplier folders

Delegate formal brief creation

This form is also only available for the purchasing department to view. The purchasing officer decides if they can handle creating the formal brief for the suppliers, or if they need the employee or manager to create it for them (if it seems too complicated, or if enough information hasn't been included for them to create it themselves).

If the purchasing officer decides to create the brief, then the taskflow moves on to the form 'Upload a formal brief'. If they pass the responsibility on, then the sub-taskflow 'Formal brief emails' is activated first.
Delegate formal brief creation


Section 6: Creating a formal brief

In this section, the employee and/or manager is notified that they need to create a formal brief to be sent to the suppliers.

Formal brief emails

This sub-taskflow is activated by the following conditions:

Activate this task when...
'Who should create the formal brief?' IS 'Employee who created the purchase request'
OR
'Who should create the formal brief?' IS 'Manager of the employee'

One of three emails can be sent out in this sub-taskflow (These are 'Notify employee', 'Notify manager' and 'Notify employee and manager'). All of them notify the employee and/or manager that their help is needed with the creation of the formal brief.

Formal brief emails

Notify employee

This email has the conditions:

Activate this task when...
'Who should create the formal brief?' IS 'Employee who created the purchase request'
AND 'Who should create the formal brief?' IS NOT 'Manager of the employee'

The email will only be sent if 'Employee who created the purchase request' is selected AND 'Manager of the employee' is NOT selected in the form 'Delegate formal brief creation'.

The other two emails that could be sent in this sub-taskflow have similar conditions:

'Notify manager' has the opposite conditions - IS NOT for 'Employee who created the purchase request' and IS for 'Manager of the employee' - while 'Notify employee and manager' has IS conditions for both of them. These conditions ensure that only the correct email is sent out, depending on the purchasing officer's decision in the 'Delegate formal brief creation' task.

Notify employee

After the relevant email has been sent, the sub-taskflow is over and the original taskflow continues.

Upload a formal brief

This form has a lot of conditions:

Activate this task when...
'Who should create the formal brief?' IS 'Manager of the employee'
AND 'Email' IS '{user.email:{field.value:4461}}'
OR Click here to expand the rest of these conditions:
'Role' IS 'Purchasing Department'
AND 'Who should create the formal brief?' IS 'Purchasing Department'
OR
'Who should create the formal brief?' IS 'Employee who created the purchase request''
AND 'Email' IS '{user.email:{field.value:3692}}'


What do these conditions mean?

These conditions allow only the relevant person to view the form, based on the decision of the purchasing department in the form 'Delegate formal brief creation'.


In this form, the formal brief must be uploaded to Google Drive or Dropbox, and the shareable link must be pasted in the relevant field.

Upload a formal brief


Section 7: The suppliers upload their quotes

In the next step, three sub-taskflows are all activated simultaneously - Supplier 1, Supplier 2 and Supplier 3. They are all almost exactly the same, so only the first one will be explained. In these sub-taskflows, the suppliers are emailed quote requests, and they upload their quotes.

Supplier 1

The conditions on the sub-taskflows are all variations of the following:

Activate this task when...
'Supplier 1 folder link' IS NOT '____'
AND 'Paste a link to the formal brief here' IS NOT '____'

These conditions ensure that the sub-taskflows are not activated before all of the required information has been entered in the previous forms.

Supplier 1

Mail order to supplier 1

The supplier is sent an email with a quote request. They are given all of the details of the order, along with a link to the formal brief and a link to the folder where they are required to upload their quote.
Mail order to supplier 1

Upload a quote 1

This form has the following condition:

Activate this task when...
'Email' IS '{user.email:{field.value:4508}}'

The only person who is able to view this form is the supplier who was sent the email in the task 'Mail order to supplier 1'.

After uploading their quote, the supplier types in the total cost of their quote and saves the form. Alternatively, they enter '0' as the total cost of their quote, select 'No, we are unable to quote at this time', and save the form.

Upload a quote 1

After the form is saved, the sub-taskflow is complete and the original taskflow continues.

Section 8: Choosing a quote

In this section, the purchasing department is emailed with the details of the quotes, and makes a decision about which quote to choose.

Quotes received

This email has three conditions that need to be met before it can be sent:

Activate this task when...
'What is the total of your quote, including VAT?' (from 'Upload a quote 1) IS NOT '____ '
AND 'What is the total of your quote, including VAT?' (from 'Upload a quote 2) IS NOT '____ '
AND 'What is the total of your quote, including VAT?' (from 'Upload a quote 3) IS NOT '____ '

This email can only been sent once each supplier has entered in the total cost of their quote (or entered '0' if they were unable to quote), and saved their form in the previous task.

This email is sent to the purchasing department, to notify them that it's time to choose one of the quotes.

Quotes received

Choose a quote

There are two conditions on this form:

Activate this task when...
'Role' IS 'Purchasing Department'
OR
'Role' IS 'Executive'

Only the purchasing officer (or an executive in the company, if the purchasing officer is unavailable) can view this form.

The quotes are displayed and the purchasing officer makes a decision about which supplier to hire.
Choose a quote


Section 9: Notifications are sent out

In the next step, only ONE of three possible sub-taskflows is activated (Choose supplier 1, Choose supplier 2 or Choose supplier 3). Which sub-taskflow is activated depends on which supplier was chosen in the previous form task, 'Choose a quote'. We'll assume that the purchasing officer chose supplier 1 in the previous task.

Choose supplier 1

This sub-taskflow has one condition:

Activate this task when...
'Which supplier will you choose to use?' IS 'Option 1'

The next six emails in this sub-taskflow ('Quote accepted', 'Quote declined 2' and '3', 'Notify originator 1', 'Notify manager 1' and 'Notify finance 1') don't have any conditions and are all sent at the same time. This is so that all of the emails are automatically sent if supplier 1 is chosen in the 'Choose a quote' task.

Choose supplier 1

Quote accepted

This email is sent to supplier 1, telling them to go ahead with the order.

Quote accepted

Quote declined 2 and 3

The other two suppliers are sent emails notifying them that their quotes have been rejected.

Quote declined 2 and 3

Notify originator 1 and Notify manager 1

The employee who placed the order, and their manager, are told who the order has been placed with.
Notify originator 1 and Notify manager 1

Notify finance 1

The finance department is sent an email that directs them to make payment to the supplier, after which the finance department follows a link at the bottom of the email, leading them to the next task.
Notify finance 1


Section 10: The finance department makes payment

In this section, the finance department pays the supplier and shares the proof of payment with the supplier.

Payment status 1

This form has the condition of:

Activate this task when...
'Role' IS 'Finance Department'

The finance department is instructed to upload the proof of payment to Google Drive or Dropbox, and to paste a link to the document in this form.

Payment status 1

Proof of payment 1

This email has the condition:

Activate this task when...
'Link to proof of payment' IS NOT '____'

This email will only be sent once the finance department has pasted a link to the proof of payment in the form (so that the 'Link to proof of payment' is no longer blank), and saved the form.

The email is sent to the chosen supplier, directing them to the folder where the proof of payment has been uploaded.

Proof of payment 1


Section 11: Reception receives the order

The receptionist is notified about the expected delivery, and indicates whether or not the order has been received.

Notify reception 1

Reception is sent an email that notifies them of the expected delivery. A link at the bottom of the email directs them to complete the next task.
Notify reception 1

Order received 1

The only condition on this form is:

Activate this task when...
'Role' IS 'Reception'

The receptionist indicates whether or not the order has been received yet.
Order received 1


Section 12: Following up on a late order

If the order hasn't been received, then the supplier is reminded about the order and the receptionist has another chance to indicate whether or not it has arrived.

Order late 1

This sub-taskflow has one condition:

Activate this task when...
'Has the order been received yet?' IS 'No'

This sub-taskflow will ONLY activate if the order is late and the receptionist indicates that it hasn't been received. If the order has been received, this sub-taskflow will be skipped.

Order late 1

Follow up supplier 1

The supplier is sent a follow-up email about the order, reminding them of the date of delivery and suggesting that they contact the purchasing department.

Follow up supplier 1

Order received 1.1

The condition on this form is:

Activate this task when...
'Role' IS 'Reception'

The receptionist is shown another form in which she can indicate if the order has been received or not.

Order received 1.1

After the receptionist saves this form, the sub-taskflows 'Order late 1' and 'Choose supplier 1' are both complete, and the original taskflow continues.

Section 13: The order has been received

Once the order has been received by reception, the employee and manager are emailed that the order has arrived.

Notify originator order received and Notify manager order received

Both of these emails have the same six conditions.

Activate this task when...
'Has the order been received yet?'
(From 'Order received 1') IS 'Yes'
OR
'Has the order been received yet?'
(From 'Order received 1.1') IS 'Yes'
OR Click to expand the rest of these conditions:
'Has the order been received yet?'
(From 'Order received 2') IS 'Yes'
OR
'Has the order been received yet?'
(From 'Order received 2.1') IS 'Yes'
OR
'Has the order been received yet?'
(From 'Order received 3') IS 'Yes'
OR
'Has the order been received yet?'
(From 'Order received 3.1') IS 'Yes'

What do these conditions mean?

Whichever supplier was chosen, as soon as the receptionist indicates that the order has been received, these emails are sent.


The employee is notified by email that their order has arrived and that they need to collect it from reception. The manager is updated about the status of the order, as well.

Notify originator order received and Notify manager order received

Once the taskflow has sent these two emails, the 'Extended procurement' taskflow is complete.
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