Getting your documentation right is the first step in making sure your product is of a high quality and your order is delivered on time. In this article we will cover the top 7 items you need to include on your purchase order.
I recommend searching for a template on Google to follow. It does not matter which country you are ordering from or your product type – product orders tend to be very standard across all businesses. That’s why it is best to start with an existing template and add in your details.
Item 1 The Basics
Any purchase order needs to include your business details including phone number, address and email as well as your suppliers full details. Document which company is placing the order and which company is producing the order.
Also include the product reference number, the quantities of each product and the price per unit. Include all costs agreed with your supplier and the payment terms also. Make sure you clearly reference your product – so there is no confusion about which exact product you are ordering.
The more details you include on the order – the less ambiguity there is for the product itself.
Item 2 Full Specifications
Make sure you write out full specifications of the product on the purchase order, including any branding, packaging, or other details you have agreed with the manufacturer.
Ideally include the size, color, details of any reference samples, where the logo will go, what color the logo will be and everything else to do with the product. You can also include an additional document with your purchase order, with pictures of the product and an even more detailed specification.
You should also reference that document in the purchase order itself. This is so there is no confusion about what is being ordered.
Item 3 Quality Standard
When dealing with Asian suppliers, you should have the agreed quality standard, AQL, specified on your purchase order.
You should already have received and signed off golden samples before placing this order. Again, reference the golden sample in the specification section of your purchase order.
If you’re not sure what inspection standard to use, check and discuss with an inspection company before placing your purchase order.
It is important to include the details about the quality of the product expected, what is and is not acceptable. Again, the more work you do upfront in agreeing this and documenting this – there less likely you are to potentially have issues and disagreements later.
Item 4 Ready Date
Include the agreed ready date for your products on the purchase order. Check with your supplier how long they expect the order to take and include this on your purchase order.
If the factory has quoted you a 20- to 30-day lead time, get the exact final date your goods will be ready for inspection from them. Check periodically throughout the order that the goods are being made on time.
Often the final product is put together in the last week of the lead time. The lead time is mostly for suppliers to collect the raw materials and also to produce other customers’ products.
Item 5 Shipping Details
Specify on the purchase order whether the goods are going by sea or air, and who bears the responsibility for this cost.
The risk and cost is usually indicated using Incoterms. Again make sure to clarify the term with your supplier in advance of placing the order.
The most commonly used term for shipments from China is FOB.
Item 6 Payment Terms
Specify the agreed payment terms on your order.
Most suppliers will require some payment with the order. If you have ordered from the same factory a few times, try to push for some form of credit such as payment on delivery or even 30 days net.
Item 7 Additional Tips
I recommend including a set of packaging instructions as an attachment to your purchase order.
Use pictures to show clearly the step-by-step procedure as to how the goods will be packed for shipment. Again this will help to prevent any confusion.