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Employee Allowances, Quotas, Purchase Orders, Oh My!

8 min read
Nancy Cardona April 12, 2016

With multitudes of ways companies can choose to organize their uniform programs, it can be hard to keep track of it all. Employee allowances, quotas, purchasing orders — and the list goes on. It’s enough to make your head spin! And while many companies, government agencies, or organizations use similar setups, even within those programs there can be minor or major business rules that make their process unique.

Some operations aim to keep it simple, while others who have been around a long time have developed more complicated purchasing rules over the years. For example, we know of one company that will pay for a hat the first year, require the employee to pay for it the second year, splits the cost with the employee the third year, and then the whole cycle starts over again. Dizzy yet?

We wrote this article to identify and provide information regarding uniform programs. We’ll examine PO numbers, allowances, quotas, and what happens when it can get really complicated.

Enter a Purchase Order Number

The simplest form of the purchasing rules, of course, is the time tested and approved purchase order. Employees and/or their supervisors simply log into a website, order their uniforms, and provide a purchase order number. The order flows and everything can all be tracked by corresponding purchase orders.

Controlling Costs Using Allowances

Another popular approach to organizing a uniform program is allotting employee allowances.

Let’s face it, some employees take better care of their uniforms than others. With constant wear and washing, uniforms may fade quickly making them seem worn and subsequently the employee will look unprofessional. Ultimately, this will lead to more frequent uniform purchases.

But over the course of a quarter, a year, or an entire career at a company, employees will eventually need to re-order uniforms. An EMS/EMT team, a dental practice, a restaurant chain, etc., can work it out so they know about how much money it will take to keep any particular employee in decent looking shirts and pants. Once they have that figure, they can grant that amount to each employee and let them re-order shirts and pants on their own as they need.

For Small Companies…

An allowance program can be managed manually on a website using supervisor/employee tools. These online tools offer a supervisor, or HR department, the ability to add employees, deactivate employees, assign allowance amounts, issue more allowances, debit allowance accounts, and more.

For Large Companies…

Having a direct connection to their Human Resource systems, so employee records are updated routinely, is an important part of making an employee allowance program successful online.

Getting Specific with Quotas

An airline which employs a lot of people or a large law enforcement agency may need to get very specific in how many items a particular employee orders, and on what frequency. For example, a police officer might be wearing $1,000 worth of garments, accessories, or gear on them at any given moment; replacing items “too freely” would blow the budget rather quickly.

In cases like this, the quota system works wonders. Within this system, an organization can set up a program where someone who falls into a specific job classification or role can be set up to have specific quota sets and rules. For example…

Employee XYZ Can…

  • Order two shirts, from a selection of three shirt choices, every two months
  • Order one jacket, from a choice of two jacket styles, every two years
  • Order one cap, from only one choice, every year

With this, the company or government agency benefits because every item can be tracked and all costs will be managed tightly.

Oh My!

Now imagine a company or agency that wants to combine all of the above into their online uniform store! Some businesses may choose to manage online orders where some employees can order by purchase order, while others get allowances, and still more need to order based on quotas. Without the proper tools to help manage this, it can be incredibly confusing. Better make sure you are using an eCommerce platform that allows for this type of flexibility if you want to play with the big boys and run large uniform purchasing programs online!

Click here to learn more about how UniformMarket can help today!

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