When it comes to controlling your budget, one of the best ways for companies, government agencies, or other entities to keep their spending in line is to set up a system of checks and balances. In regards to your uniform programs, you need to know who in your business is ordering and how much they are spending. But how can you go about establishing the kind of checks-and-balances system that will prevent irresponsible spending and ordering?
The first step to a successful checks and balances system is to decide what roles different people in your business are playing. First, ask yourself who is in charge of ordering uniforms. Who is spending the money in your organization, and how much are they spending on individual orders? Next, start building your checks and balances system by having another individual in your organization (or a specified group of individuals) routinely check on the spender and their spending numbers.
All done? Not quite. You've established one check, but it's only the beginning of your system. You should also consider implementing an "approval required" system in your store, where the people that spend the money need to get approval for purchases from those in charge of checking and balancing how much is being spent. This task will often be assigned to those working in a supervisory capacity.
Setting Up the Rules
Now that you know who is playing the different roles in the uniform program when it comes to purchasing and approval you need to lay forth some rules for both individuals or groups. Since most ordering is done online these days, you can implement a web-based system that essentially enforces your rules for you. Here is a basic example of how the purchasing flow can work in your business:
- The purchaser (employee, purchasing agent, etc) logs into the uniform dealer’s website to order their uniform items.
- Once finalized, the order is recorded in the system and given a status of "pending approval."
- The supervisor gets an email advising them an order is waiting for their approval.
- The supervisor logs into their uniform dealer’s website and approves or declines the order.
- The order status is updated to "Order Approved or "Order Cancelled," depending on the supervisor's action.
- The spender and uniform dealer both receive an email notifying them of the updated order status.
- The uniform dealer processes the order, ships the uniform, and updates the order status to "shipped."
- The purchaser finally gets an email telling them their order shipped.
This system is ideal—particularly for simpler uniform orders—because it gives everyone a clear role and a well-defined set of rules to follow throughout the entire process.
Managing More Complicated Rules
Of course, there will be situations where the above purchasing flow is too simple. For instance, with larger numbers of employees or departments, having a single supervisor review every order might not be realistic. Larger companies and government agencies can have different supervisors for distinct departments, all responsible for overseeing their own sets of "purchaser" employees. This setup saves one person from having to approve all uniform orders and streamlines inter-organization communication.
Other large organizations will monitor their purchasing processes in different ways. Some government agencies, for instance, have two tiers of supervisors to approve or deny purchases made by lower-ranking employees. A model of this system might make it so that all orders below $300 can be approved by the first supervisor, but all orders above $300 require the approval of the supervisor's superior.
An alternative model of a similar system would allow employees to order for themselves up to a certain dollar amount, but would require approval for orders above that amount. Of course, different employee classes might have different threshold calculations, depending on their level and role in the organization.
Establishing Clear Expectations
Regardless of which model your business chooses to check and balance the uniform ordering process, the success of that model will depend on clear expectations. Everyone involved in the purchasing process needs to agree on what the expectations are for each step. That way, everyone knows who is approving what, how long approvals should take, and how long the order will take to be processed following approval. Also, don't forget to stipulate steps and rules for what happens if approval is delayed or denied altogether.
Are you interested in setting up a checks and balances, “Supervisor Approval” system for your business's uniform ordering pipeline? Contact UniformMarket today for more information and best practices regarding setting up an approval process for your uniform orders.