Orca Approves! (Or rejects...using Extender Workflow)
Orca Oz Enterprises, (Orchid's alter ego), shares some of the ways they use Orchid Extender to manage Approval Workflows.
Introducing Orca Oz Enterprises Ltd.
Orca Oz Enterprises are an unreal company. We at Orchid Systems have a very close affinity with them – in fact, some have commented that their team bears an uncanny resemblance to ours!
Orca have found many creative ways of using Orchid’s Sage 300 add-ons to solve everyday business problems. We approached Orca for permission to present a series of Case Studies and, happily, they agreed. This is Episode 1 in the Chronicles of Orca.
This article focuses on Orca’s use of Orchid’s Extender Workflow to manage a range of approval scenarios.
Scenario 1: Sequential 2-Step Authorization
Whether you are a vendor or a customer, dealing with Orca generally means dealing with Sue. She’s the Office Manager, but the many hats she wears include looking after Orca’s Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable and Payroll.
Sue is used to getting invoices for the office rent, stationery, phone bills and the like, but it was a bit of a shock to receive an invoice for $50,000 worth of consulting from Orca’s website developers, Charlotte’s Web Work.
This invoice is well above Sue’s delegation for AP approvals, so it will require signoff from Orca’s CFO, Steve.
Steve runs a tight ship when it comes to managing expenses, but he’s a delegator rather than a micro-manager, so he trusts others to be across the detail. Sue knows any web development work is the responsibility of David, Orca’s Marketing Manager.
- Sue enters the invoice into Sage 300, and tries to post the AP batch, triggering an Extender Workflow.
- Sue's delegation is well under the total for this batch, so she can't post it herself. It remains at 'ready to post'.
- The workflow is configured for a 2-Step Sequential Authorization, with Steve as the final approver.
- David is notified of the approval request by email. He sees that this relates to his website project, so picks up the approval task. He enters a comment confirming that Charlotte has indeed completed the work, which was within the agreed budget for web development this year, and hits the 'approve' button.
- The workflow is then assigned to Steve, who is notified that he has an outstanding task.
- Steve reviews David's comment and approves the batch. This completes the workflow, and triggers posting of the batch.
Scenario 2: Parallel Approval (with Separation of Duties)
It's been a crazy start to the year, thanks to COVID-19. One of Orca's biggest customers is in trouble, and they might be just the tip of the iceberg. Steve has convened a special (online) meeting of Orca's Finance Team, comprising himself, Sue, Anne and Nathalie.
Orca has many customers, but a handful of their bigger ones usually account for almost half their revenue. These are longstanding relationships, with a track record of paying on time, so they’ve been given generous credit limits.
One of Orca’s biggest customers, Great Barrier Beef (GBF), supplies meat to the restaurant industry. COVID-19 has turned their world upside down, and they are suddenly in serious trouble. They’ve advised Sue that they won’t be able to pay their latest invoices by the due date, if at all.
The Finance Team know the coming months are going to be rough, so the decision has been made to enter a provision for doubtful debt into the GL.
- Sue returns to her desk and enters a GL batch into Sage 300, with a status of 'ready to post'.
- Extender Workflow has been configured to trigger a Parallel Approval workflow for all GL batches (but not sub-ledger batches). A notification email is automatically sent to all four members of the Finance Team.
- Sue tries to approve the batch, but Workflow won't let her. The error message reminds her of Orca's 'separation of duties' business rule, prohibiting the person who entered the batch from approving it.
- Nathalie also receives the email. She successfully approves the batch, which is then automatically posted.
Scenario 3: 1-Step Authorization
With the economy rapidly going into hibernation, Orca’s revenue stream is looking shaky. The sales team are under pressure to generate new business. Nobody is in the mood to buy, so there is a temptation to cut corners.
Anne, Orca's high-achieving Sales Executive, has been working the phones. She has finally managed to get one of their smaller customers, Leviathan Lighting, to place an unusually large order. That’s the good news. The bad news is Nicky from Leviathan knows it is a buyers’ market and drove a hard bargain.
The price Anne agreed to gives Orca next to no margin, but hey, these are unusual times, and a sale is a sale. She hopes her Sales Manager, Nathalie, is in a good mood.
- Anne enters the Leviathan order into Sage 300.
- The margin on the order is only 4%, well under the agreed floor of 10%, so Extender Workflow automatically triggers a 1-Step approval process, requiring authorization by her manager.
- Nathalie is alerted of the new approval task by email and uses the hyperlink in the email to open up the Workflow Console.
- Nathalie isn't familiar with Leviathan, so she drills through from the console to the AR Customer record in Sage 300 for a closer look. She doesn't like what she sees.
- Leviathan has a shaky payment record at the best of times. These are the worst of times, and given the razor-thin margin it simply isn't worth the risk. She rejects the order.
- Anne gets an email advising her of the rejection. Time to get back on the phone and have an awkward conversation with Nicky.
Look out for Episode 2 in the Chronicles of Orca, coming soon to a blog near you!