I was working with a prospect who had a business problem to solve and hoped switching to Spire and utilizing its User Defined Fields module might help! They were using an Excel spreadsheet to track critical information about the incoming deliveries of their purchase orders. Since all purchases were for customer orders, rather than stock, they needed to be able to track key information such as status of the order at the vendor site, order stage, carrier, expected delivery date and time, and other specific notes about the delivery.

They called this sheet the ‘The Board’ and all staff needed access to this, however, with the limitations of Excel, only one person could be in there at a time and since it was manually updated and maintained, the security and safety of that sheet was always a worry. I knew that Spire gave me all the tools I needed to give this prospect exactly what they needed!

Spire utilizes a neat feature called Phases (see Blog Posts on this topic) which we can use to create the various stages of a Purchase Order and flow it through the stages that the customer defined (Issued, Confirmed, Shipped, Complete etc). Then, to handle any other piece of data not readily tracked in Spire, we would implement User Defined Fields (UDFs). Since a UDF can be Text, Multiline Text, Numeric, Integer, Date, Boolean, Percent or Currency, we had the flexibility to handle any and all information they needed to track. There is no limit to how many fields we can use and all are available within most modules and documents in Spire, both at the Header and Detail levels. And, we could make any of these UDFs required if needed, or have a drop down list of possible values if the field was a text field!

Here is an example of a few of the UDFs I created for this scenario:

User Defined Fields, Communications, Phases

Once the required UDFs were added to the Purchase Order document, they then became part of all the data of that PO and therefore could be viewed and reported on in the same manner as all the normal PO information.

User defined fields, Purchase Order

To get all this information organized in one list view, I created a filter in the PO module called ‘The Board’ which I made available to all users, and selected the columns that were relevant while filtering on all Confirmed Orders based on the Phase. All users could access this information at the same time and, since the list views are dynamic, the orders displayed on the list would change as the Phase changed.

A simple solution to a cumbersome and ineffective process! Thank you Spire!