Best practices for ordering & receiving

We’ve made a lot of recent improvements to make your vendor/supplier order receiving process – but if you want to get the most out of these new features (and the ones that have been in existence for a while!), you’ll need to ensure you’re following best practices for ordering AND receiving.

Maintaining good ordering procedures provides the foundation for a healthy Ascend system. This process ensures:

  • Product information (e.g. description, size, color) is correct.
  • Orders are not duplicated.
  • Margins are calculated correctly.
  • Reorder levels are adjusted as required.
  • Redundant products are not ordered.
  • The store does not have excessive inventory.
  • Only necessary products are ordered, reducing the need for "clearance" sales.
  • Customers receive special orders quickly.

Overall practices

  • Import vendor/supplier products using Ascend-vetted spreadsheets. Ascend receives product information directly from the vendor/supplier, ensuring your data is consistent for ordering.
    a. Remove any products you don’t intend to sell (including special orders). For every 1,000 products imported, your database size increases by approximately 1 MB. Larger database sizes can significantly impact performance.
    b. Use Ascend spreadsheets to update product information (pricing, descriptions, case quantities, etc.).
  • Perform regular cycle counts to catch inventory management issues early. This can help identify areas where additional training or process improvements may be needed.
  • Use the Ascend HQ Category Analysis report to compare differences in your sales and inventory performance and adjust your stock strategies accordingly.
    a. Schedule email delivery of this report so you always have a copy on a consistent basis.
  • Use the Ascend HQ Reorder Analysis tool to analyze, suggest, and set values for product reorder levels (mins/maxes).
  • Enter all customer order items as special orders.Sherpa tip: If you have outstanding orders allocated to customers which were NOT marked as special orders, the February 2021 version of Ascend lets you easily tie these items together.
  • Ensure products bought in bulk (case quantity) are configured.
  • If your sales trends are seasonal, be sure to set separate reorder (min/max) values and switch to your “off” season when you’re ready to use your secondary values.
  • If a vendor/supplier is changing products to a new model year before you’ve received pending backorders, use the Product Replacement Wizard to easily swap your order items and/or customer special orders to the new model.

Placing orders

Build all orders in Ascend before they are placed with the vendor/suppliers. This process ensures:

  • You’re accurately tracking order status.
  • You maintain a record of what was ordered.
  • You’re not ordering unnecessary products (e.g. if the product is already on a previous order).
  • Data trending is accurate (e.g. how quickly orders from a specific vendor/supplier are received).
  • You’re accounting for items’ reorder (mix/max) values and customer special orders.

Sherpa tip: Trek Project One (P1) bikes and other customized bikes are the exception to this “rule”.

Receiving orders

Continuing the framework started with ordering, maintaining good receiving procedures promotes inventory accuracy. This process ensures:

  • Product information in Ascend (e.g. UPC/EAN, case quantity division) matches the product itself.
  • Products are accurately labeled with:
    a. A UPC/EAN to scan during a sale or inventory count.
    b. Pricing information for customers.
  • Accurate quantities on hand can be advertised to customers.
  • Margins are calculated accurately.
  • Inventory dollar values are accurate.
  • Customers with special orders are notified as soon as it comes in.
  • Products are not sold into negative quantities.
  • You have historical information for data trending (e.g. how often orders are improperly filled, special order turnaround times).
  • Serial numbers are tracked as soon as they enter the store.

Receive orders promptly to accurately reflect inventory levels and ensure products aren’t “lost”. Since an order may be received in multiple shipments, orders can be received in multiple sessions. An order remains open until all products are received or removed when unavailable.

  • Split and scan all order items individually. This ensures products aren’t miscounted and you received the correct quantities and products from the vendor/supplier.
  • Record all serial numbers at the time of receiving. This ensures you can accurately track every serialized item in your store (e.g. if a bike is stolen).
  • (multi-store retailers) If you receive all orders in a central location (e.g. a warehouse location), transfer items to other locations directly within the order.

Additional resources

Video: Receive Vendor Orders

Article: I messed up an order. How do I undo it?

Article: Recalculate the Average Cost for a product

Article: In-Store Products vs. Vendor Products

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