In my prior article on the new QuickBooks 2018 Enhanced Order Fulfillment feature I talked about program setup, creating pick lists, and picking the order. Now let’s talk about how you bring that pick information back into QuickBooks, as well as look at how the feature works with multiple locations and serial numbers.
The Enhanced Order Fulfillment feature is found only in QuickBooks Enterprise V18, as a part of the Advanced Inventory feature.
Please note that these screen shots were taken from a pre-release version, so there may be some minor differences from what you see in your copy.
This is the fourth of my series of articles on QuickBooks 2018, which includes:
- QuickBooks 2018 Has Arrived! An overview of all the new features and changes, and details on features that apply to QuickBooks Pro, Premier, and Enterprise.
- QuickBooks 2018 Additional Details: Details on QuickBooks security improvements as well as updates to QuickBooks Payments, QuickBooks Payroll, and QuickBooks Accountant.
- QuickBooks Enterprise Order Fulfillment with Barcode Scanning: This is an exciting, major new feature for Enterprise inventory users!
- QuickBooks Enterprise Order Fulfillment – Part 2: This article. There is so much to talk about here, it will take me two articles!
Updating Picked Sales Orders
As described before, you’ve taken a sales order and generated a pick list. Most users will “pick” that picklist using a mobile device. This information then needs to be brought back to QuickBooks so that the warehouse manager can review it and update the QuickBooks sales orders.
If you are using the mobile device (which I describe in the prior article), when you click the Complete button that device will send the completed picklist to the Intuit web service. In QuickBooks, the order will be picked up from that web service when you open or refresh the Sales Order Fulfillment Worksheet.
I found that there can be a little confusion when looking at the order in the Sales Fulfillment Worksheet, at least at first. Here’s what we see in the Orders tab.
The order status shows as Sent for Pick, which was confusing to me. Didn’t someone pick the order?
If you look at the Picklist tab, you see a different status for the same orders.
I find this a bit confusing. What you need to remember is that the Orders tab shows the status of the Sales Order. The Picklist tab shows the status of the Picklist. At this point in the workflow we have picked the picklist, but we haven’t transferred information back to the sales order. I’m used to thinking of them as just one transaction, but now they are separate, each with its own status value. As far as I’ve seen so far, the only place you can see the status of a picklist is in this worksheet tab.
To further illustrate this, let’s compare the report to the actual sales order:
Although we’ve scanned the order and the picklist information has been transferred to QuickBooks, the sales order itself hasn’t been updated.
The next step is to print a packing slip (or “packslip,” Intuit is again a bit sloppy on terminology). You will do this using the Actions dropdown in the Picklist tab.
Unfortunately, there is no way to see if you have already printed a packing slip for a picked order.
The next step is to update the sales order. Select the order and then click the Update Sales Order button in the lower left.
Keep in mind that you must do this for each order individually, you can’t do a batch update. This is where you might want to use the status filter at the top of the worksheet, in order to filter for picked and partially picked orders. Note that a partially picked order is not available for the picker to work with, they have finished with it, so as far as updating sales orders you want to update both the picked and partially picked orders. I wish there was a filter that would let me see both of those orders together.
In my example, I’ve selected order number 4 and clicked the Update Sales Order button. This transfers the information from the picklist to the sales order.
You can see that the order status has changed to Complete in the Picklist tab of the Sales Order Fulfillment Worksheet, and to Picked in the sales order itself. Also, the Picked Status and Picked Quantity columns on the sales order have been updated.
Again, a bit of confusion here. The order status is Complete in the Picklist tab, but Picked in the sales order itself, as well as in the Orders tab of the worksheet. This seems inconsistent to me, but you will get used to it. I am guessing that Intuit wants to keep the Complete status in the sales order available for some future updates to this workflow.
When you are viewing the orders in the Picklist tab, there are a number of “hot spots” that open other windows. These aren’t always obvious, so I wish that all of these actions were available from the Actions dropdown list. At this point, that dropdown list only has options for viewing the picklist, printing the pick list, and printing the packing slip.
If you click on the order number in the Order No column, that opens the order in the Sales Order window. That is helpful.
If you click on the note in the Notes column you will see all of the notes for this pick list. This includes the note added when you created the pick list, as well as notes returned from the scanning device.
Double-clicking on any other field in the order (or selecting View Picklist from the Actions dropdown) opens a window that shows the status of each line. You can see the Note for the detail line. To see the entire detail note, you have to hover the mouse over that field to see a popup “tool tip” window.
Note that if you do not work with a scanner, you can enter the picked quantity in this detail screen. The status of your items will change based on your edits. Also, this is the place that the warehouse manager can use if you need to adjust the picked quantity to a value higher than in the original sales order, if there is a situation where the picker has picked more than required (which happens in some business cases).
The Issues column will contain warnings about problems. The only time I came across something here in my initial testing was when I had enabled serial number tracking and the picker entered an invalid serial number (you’ll see an example of this in the section on serial numbers). This does not prevent you from updating the sales order.
Looking at Notes
There are several kinds of notes that are passed back and forth between QuickBooks and the mobile device. You have the initial note that you create when you generate the picklist, and the picker can create individual notes for each detail line in the order.
In the Picklist tab of the worksheet you can click on the value in the Notes column to open a window that shows all of the notes for that order.
These are timestamped and marked with the user who created the notes.
Note that in the worksheet itself just one of the notes will appear. I’m not thrilled with how this works – it is showing the detail pick note from the first item in the order when you sort them alphabetically. There really isn’t any reason why that note should appear in the worksheet. It isn’t the last note entered, it isn’t a note about the overall order.
I would rather have the program allow the picker to enter a note for the overall order, rather than just on detail lines. That is the note that should appear in the worksheet.
Another nice feature is that when you update the sales order, your notes from the picklist transfer over to the notes for the sales order. To see them, in the sales order select the transaction tab in the sidebar, then click the edit icon in the notes section.
The notes window opens and shows you the initial note to the picker (“This is a rush order”), and any notes on items that were entered by the picker. These are timestamped. Unfortunately, this information can be edited, so it doesn’t serve as an audit trail.
Picking Without a Mobile Device
The whole process can be done without a mobile device, if cost is an issue for you. The MC40 mobile scanners aren’t cheap. Standard Android phones aren’t always ruggedized, and they don’t support a scanner at this time.
If you aren’t using the mobile device, you can do everything from your QuickBooks computer. In the Picklist Creation window, select Create & Print from the dropdown button to print the picking list instead of sending it to a mobile device.
When you are ready to enter the picking information, double-click on the order in the Orders tab of the worksheet to open the picklist detail.
You can enter the quantity to be picked directly into the Picked Qty column. The Pick Status value will automatically adjust to match the situation.
Now you can update the sales order as described before.
QuickBooks Multiple Locations Enabled
This feature is enabled for multiple locations. I’m still exploring all the capabilities and issues here, but here’s a quick look.
If the multiple locations feature is enabled, the Sales Order Fulfillment Worksheet will add a Site column.
If all detail lines in the sales order reference the same site, that will show in this column. If several different sites are used then Multiple shows.
Let’s work with one item that is stored at multiple sites.
Here’s a sales order for that item:
The order is for 6 Widgets at Woodland. There aren’t enough items at Woodland to fulfill the order, but there are enough at other sites.
Looking at the Sales Order Fulfillment Worksheet you see that the status is Partial. It would be fulfillable if you pick another site, or if you could look at all sites.
Notice that the Site column is a dropdown list. You can change the site right here in the worksheet. If I change it to Sacramento, you see that the status changes to Yes.
Be very careful with this because you are actually editing the order! If you make that change just to see what might be possible, and then decide to exit the worksheet, you are asked if you want to save those changes.
There isn’t a way to tell which changes you’ve made, to which orders. So be very, very careful.
When you are looking at the Order tab in the Sales Order Fulfillment Worksheet, you can open other windows, such as the Quantity on Hand by Site report. That can be helpful.
If you start to create a picklist you also have the option to change the site, as well as to specify a bin.
The Fulfillable status is dependent only on the Site, and not the Bin. If there is enough at all bins at that site, the order is fulfillable even if the bin you pick doesn’t have enough on hand.
In addition, if you change the site here you will not be able to open another window to see any inventory status reports, since this window is a “dialog box,” one that doesn’t let you work with any other window.
As before, any Site changes you make here will be saved to the sales order.
In the mobile device the site shows only on the list of picklists. The bin will show when you look at a detail line.
Also, I wonder, what if you pick from a different bin than the one specified? There isn’t a way to override the bin selection. You could enter a note for the item that says that you picked from a different bin, or to say that you couldn’t pick the item since it wasn’t in that bin. Then the warehouse manager has to adjust things on the QuickBooks side of the operation.
You do have the option of sorting all the items in the order by Bin, which is a nice feature.
I’ve just begun to look at this in the context of a multiple site/multiple bin environment. There are many variables. Some businesses use just sites, some use both sites and bins. In some cases a site is a totally separate physical location, in others a site is just another part of the same facility. As the program stands now, I’m not sure it will be a perfect fit for all of the variations without resorting to some workarounds. However, it is a lot better than what we had before (which essentially was “nothing”).
QuickBooks Serial Numbers Enabled
I’m not a big fan of the serial number feature in QuickBooks Enterprise. Reporting is minimal, controls are weak. However, some businesses do use it, since it is available in the product. Let’s take a quick look at how serial numbers work in QuickBooks 2018 Enhanced Order Fulfillment.
Note that this is an early release, there are some rough edges here that Intuit will be smoothing out in the near future (I hope).
When you create a sales order in QuickBooks, you can specify the serial number you want to use or you can leave the field blank. I tried this both ways, it doesn’t seem to matter which approach you use.
When you create the picklist, you don’t see any information in the Orders tab of the worksheet.
In the mobile device you will see a new field for entering serial numbers, at the bottom of the pick screen.
In the Add Serial Numbers screen you can scan the serial number or enter it via the keyboard. Adding serial numbers will increment the quantity picked, which is good. The app will warn you if you haven’t entered the same number of serial numbers as the quantity assigned, but you will be able to close the pick list even if you don’t enter enough serial numbers.
Note, though, that there isn’t a list of valid serial numbers in the mobile app, if you have a set of serial numbers for this item in QuickBooks. You can enter any value here that you want. If you don’t scan a barcode for serial numbers then there is room for data entry errors here.
Here’s the picklist detail for an order where I scanned two items, with serial numbers that were found in the QuickBooks database for this item. If you click the Serial Numbers column, a window opens that lists the serial numbers that were picked. Note that the Issues column is empty.
In the Edit Serial Number window, you can change the serial numbers.
In that example, the serial numbers that were entered by the picker were valid. Let’s look at a case where the picker entered invalid serial numbers.
You can see that the issues column is warning us that there are some invalid serial numbers. At this point there are several things that I can do:
- I can just accept this information and update the sales order. The incorrect serial numbers will be posted to the sales order.
- I can edit the serial numbers in the window shown above, to correct the problems. Unfortunately, the Edit Serial Number window doesn’t provide a dropdown list of valid serial numbers, so data entry errors can occur here.
- I can reissue the picklist and let the warehouse user correct things.
This is an early release and some details need to be worked out. At this point I do not recommend that you reissue the picklist when working with serial numbers, as Intuit has a few issues to work out.
Lot Numbers Enabled
I’m just throwing this in for completeness – nothing changes in this workflow if you enable lot numbers.
What About Non-Inventory Parts?
There is one thing missing that I consider to be a major flaw. This system is only set up to work with inventory part and inventory assembly items. What about non-inventory part items? They won’t show in the picklist. I often recommend that businesses use non-inventory part items for low cost bulk items, items that you don’t need to spend the time and effort to count accurately. These kinds of items can show up in sales orders, and they need to be picked. The current system ignores them completely.
What Do I Think About Enhanced Sales Order Fulfillment?
Overall, this is a good start. I’m excited to see advances in this area. This is a major advance for businesses that work with picking items in the warehouse for shipping. While there are a few rough edges that need to be smoothed out, I like the workflow that they have implemented. I’m very happy with the support for mobile devices, which has been a major drawback to earlier attempts to implement barcoding in QuickBooks.
As I say every year, look at this version but don’t use it in your business, yet. Intuit has changed a lot of things and this feature needs some polishing before it is ready for use in a production environment. There were a number of rough edges that I came across in this early release that I’ve not described in this document because I know that the program is still being worked on prior to the final public release.
Waiting isn’t a problem, though. I suggest installing this in parallel to your current system, so that you can run your business with what you are familiar with, but also be able to examine the new feature. You should be looking at it now so that you can give Intuit feedback on what works for you, and what needs to be added or changed.
- It will take time to acquire the new scanning hardware, which really makes the feature worth using.
- It will take time for you to change your workflow and use the new feature. There are a lot of details to understand.
- This feature is still evolving, and I believe that there will be a lot of changes over the next few months. Wait until things have settled down.
Outside of the minor problems I described in this article, I think that a lot more needs to be done in the overall integration of the mobile device with this workflow, and with QuickBooks in general. Intuit needs to add things like mobile/scanning help in receiving and physical inventory counting, and they need much more flexibility in barcode printing. Given that there has been a lot of work in this release, I have high hopes that Intuit will be addressing some of these other areas in the future.
So, let me know, what do you think of this new feature? Will it be useful to you or your clients?