This feature of the week is for anyone using Oracle Purchasing and Payables with Projects (R11i and R12). I spent some time with a group of users who were new to Oracle Applications (they switched from Sage and QuickBooks), and was showered with a slew of questions like “Why do I have to enter so many fields?”, “Why is it so unintuitive?”, “Can we modify the forms to hide the fields we don’t need and change the order in which they are entered?”…
The area of particular interest and concern was processing of purchase requisitions and orders. They did not use iProcurement, and hundreds of PO documents have to be entered manually in Purchasing. To make matters worse, some of their purchases were project-related, some were not; switching to a fully project-centric processing is out of question at this time.
Anyway, I don’t know how many times I had to defend Oracle’s design of the Distributions window for Requisition and POs. And quite honestly, I am running out of arguments to explain why it is so cumbersome. It is obvious that the option to enter project-related information was added on at later date, and its workflow is quite contra-productive. Let’s take a project-related requisition for example:
- Enter requisition header
- Enter requisition lines
- Enter requisition distributions
Now, if it was a non-project requisition, you’d enter Charge Account and you are done.
However, if it was a project-related requisition, you’d need to ignore the Charge Account, switch to the Project tab, enter the project-relate information, come back to the Accounts tab, finish the remaining required fields there, and finally, save your changes to initiate the Account Generator to assign the Charge Account. The process for entering the PO distributions is pretty much the same. Now, explain that to users.
Suggestion for Improvement
Why not make the Requisition Distributions and PO Distributions folder-based forms like the Invoice Distributions in Payables? It would not be difficult to do, and this way, users could arrange, display, hide the fields according to their business needs.
Finally, it was really disappointing to see that this particular process and the Requisition and PO forms, were not enhanced in R12. Is this being discussed in the Supply Chain SIG? Is there a plan to incorporate the existing enhancement requests in the future?