Need advice on special order best practices

Uncle_MiltonUncle_Milton Member Posts: 24

We have a retail hobby shop and do a pile of special orders every week (sometimes 100+) ... we have been managing special orders outside of the system using paper or more recently by using workorders and creating Misc. items for the special order items. We have avoided the special order system because adding all of those items to inventory and managing them seemed like a pile of work for what are usually one offs.... now I am having second thoughts BUT looking for best practices from other users before jumping into the deep end:

  • Do you allow your general staff to create / enter special orders?
  • Who sets up the new inventory items in LS for specials?
  • Who costs and prices the items for special orders; do you allow your staff to do this on the fly at the sales counter or does it have to go to you or someone else for costing or approval?... if it goes to someone else for costing what is your process?
  • When you add a special order item, do you do a full item set up including category, brand, vendor, vendor ID, etc. and if so do you have a separate category or tag for these items to assist in managing them during and after sale?
  • Do you immediately archive special order items after the order is fulfilled?
  • I have the opportunity to import my two main vendors entire catalogues to LS.... would this be a good idea to get 90% of the items into LS and set up correctly up front and then just set them all to "archive" and or tag them as "nonstock" to keep reports cleaner? Pros and cons?
  • Our industry deals with a lot of preorder and backorder situations.... This means that on a typical shipment we could have up to 15 or more PO's referenced on one shipment from backorders finally arriving.... seems like a lot of work to receipt all of those PO's separately one by one (right now we just use PO's as a way to induct weekly shipments and dont enter backorders until they actually arrive)

This is a big change for us and based on our special order volumes and backorders may not be worth it for the extra work... but... I am excited about the more detailed reporting potential and increased accuracy for sales by category and brand. Opinions? What am I missing??

thanks in advance for your responses!!

10 comments

  • Uncle_MiltonUncle_Milton Member Posts: 24

    Crickets??

  • AzTAzT Member Posts: 61 ✭

    If you need good reporting on those items I would recommend that only managers or senior employees can take special orders and put them in the system. If the items are ones that you MAY get in the future, might as well not archive them to make it easier in the future and put in all the info. If the item is really just a one-off thing I wouldn't take the time to put it in categories or anything (again depending on how much reporting you would like) and maybe just have a manager ring it in as misc instead...

  • Uncle_MiltonUncle_Milton Member Posts: 24

    Thats the direction I was heading.... the issue is we do LOTS of special orders every week.... 30-40 per week often with multiple items on each order.... that is a pile of new items to add ... my bad math based on an average of 2 items per order is about 6 hours per week just to get them items in and the special orders set up.

  • AzTAzT Member Posts: 61 ✭

    That's where the misc button could be helpful, but comes with less reporting and a greater margin of error (something like the employee entering the wrong price or cost). Let's discuss the catalog import idea instead. What I would personally do for that one is import both full catalogs to start with. BUT, items that you do not generally stock, make a separate category called "Special Orders". If the items are archived it doesn't really help you when an employee without the permissions to create new items takes a special order, using separate categories allows them to still add the item to the sale while keeping your reports clean. This could also be modified to get you the best brand and category reporting by adding the special orders as a sub to existing categories instead of their own category.

  • ShootersshedShootersshed Member Posts: 115 

    For me "Special Order" simply means that we don;t have the item in stock so we are pre-ordering it for them.


    If it isn't an item we normally stock, then I would create it just have it in the system. No point archiving unless you cannot get the item anymore. Keep it there in case someone else needs it.

  • ShootersshedShootersshed Member Posts: 115 
    edited June 19


    Post edited by Shootersshed on
  • ShootersshedShootersshed Member Posts: 115 
    edited June 19


    Post edited by Shootersshed on
  • HamptonHampton Member Posts: 61 ✭

    I created buttons on the special order tab that links 5 none inventory product (with two tax claasses) to act as a place holder in the event an item is not in our data base.

    That way, sales team can manually enter the info on the item a customer wants to order and when a purchase order is created, afterwards we enter the “real” product for reporting by adding it to the customers special order, matching the real product to the place holder, and removing the placeholder.

    ... its a work around that has saved us time

  • Uncle_MiltonUncle_Milton Member Posts: 24

    Shootersshed: do you personally have to create the new items or do you allow staff to do it?

    Hampton: would love to hear more about your special order buttons. I assume this limits you to 5 specials before you have to action and change them to real items?? not sure how that works. We have a pile of specials/preorders each day... yesterday we had 20 line items across 12 customers in one day... how would the special button work here?

  • ShootersshedShootersshed Member Posts: 115 

    @Uncle_Milton I am pretty much always in the store but when I am not, I have one other staff member who can create a new item with enough detail to at least get the item in the system & get money against it.

    Then once I am in I will complete all the details.

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