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Back in the day, every company used purchase orders to submit their orders to vendors and track spending. Today, much of that is done online through vendor websites and, as a result, many smaller companies simply rely on what’s supplied directly through their vendors or using invoices instead of creating in-house purchase orders. But this approach could be shortchanging your company.

First, invoices and purchase orders are completely different. An invoice is issued after an order is received. It is also issued by the company selling you the goods; therefore, it reflects the order from their end. While this is fine if you want to keep track of how much you’ve spent, it doesn’t offer the same kind of versatility or benefits you can get with purchase orders.

We’ve brought together three top reasons why you should consider going back to old school purchase order processes to grow your business in the 21st Century.

Track and Check Orders — Mistakes happen — it’s a fact of life in and out of the business world. Using purchase orders helps you compare what you order with hat you ultimately receive, making it easier to spot backorders, changes in pricing and other issues.

Trigger Reorder Points Easily — Improve your inventory flow by using trigger points from within your inventory purchase order application. Automatic purchase orders can be generated as soon as levels hit a certain point making reordering seamless and easy to keep up to date with.

Evaluate Vendors — Use your inventory purchase order application to track experiences with different vendors. This can help you determine which companies are best to do business with in the future, as well as ascertaining a product’s true cost including its actual price and mitigating factors like shipping, extra handling times and needing to follow-up with vendors regarding delivery or quality.

Invoices and online order history simply can’t replace purchase orders in today’s world. While purchase orders may seem like a blast from the past, the benefits they offer have cemented their place in the future of e-commerce.