Why Are Work Orders Needed?
What is a Work Order?
A work order (WO) is a written set of instructions for work to be done on EXISTING (already purchased) inventory. That work may be to ship the inventory to Amazon, or to bundle multiple items into one sellable unit, then repack it, or just to warehouse it. Sometimes people refer to a work order as a "transfer order".
Do not confuse a work order with a Purchase Order (PO). A PO is an order for new inventory to be purchased and shipped from a supplier or manufacturer. Here is an example of a work order:
Why is a Work Oder Automatically Created on my PO?
When you create a PO, you must select a Lead Time, as covered in the PO creation article here. If your lead time directs inventory from a supplier directly to Amazon FBA, then no work order is ever needed, because no other company is involved in the shipment besides your supplier and/or freight forwarder. But if your lead time sends inventory to a warehouse or prep center for storage, bundling, etc., then a WO must be created so that your warehouse knows what to do with the inventory.
How would you like it if a pallet of dog toys arrived at your doorstep with no instructions and no message? Kind of weird, right? That's what the work order is for.
As mentioned above, all POs are based on lead times. If your lead time includes a warehouse, prep center or any other business besides your supplier, SoStocked will automatically create a work order (WO). You will see this in the workflow at the top of your PO creation page. The reason we create a work order is that the receiving business needs to know what to do with this inventory.
How would you feel if you had a pallet of shampoo show up on your doorstep with no instructions and no warning? The WO tells the warehouse to store inventory, or the Prep center to bundle products or ship to FBA, etc.
NOTE: The portion of the lead time you are currently working on will always be black. The portion that is not being affected by this portion of the process will be grey. For example, the warehouse and shipping to FBA portion is grey when you are on the PO. But the production and ocean freight is grey when you are on the WO.
Read this article to learn more about how POs and WOs work and how to track them.