Since August of 2021, GSA has worked on providing quality customer satisfaction on how orders are managed in the Purchase Order (PO) Portal. During that time, GSA began sending email notifications titled “Take Advantage of Order Status”, which reported how efficient contractors update the status of received PO orders, so their customers can have a real time update. Every GSA Schedule holder must ensure they understand what is required and how to update the GSA PO Portal orders.
What is the Purchase Order (PO) Portal?
The GSA PO Portal provides a means for GSA schedule contractors to gain immediate access to orders placed through GSA’s Advantage! and eBuy systems. The PO Portal also enables contractors to provide ordering agencies with the status of an order. Providing order status information keeps customers informed and reduces inquiries about orders.
How does the GSA Advantage! PO Portal work?
Each customer who uses GSA Advantage has an order history which is used to manage orders and determine order status. Customers are sent an email anytime the status of an order changes. The submission of order status using the PO Portal, updates the customer order history and keeps customers updated of their order status and reduces any concerning order status.
Vendors that receive a purchase through GSA Advantage! will receive a summary email noting the purchase and providing directions on accessing the PO Portal. Contractors may choose to receive individual notices if you prefer. You can view, print and download the purchaser orders in Excel (.xls), text (.txt), CXML, or PDF.
How to Complete Your GSA PO Portal Setup?
While other GSA applications allow multiple authorized negotiators to have access, the PO Portal is limited to one user login. This user login will be the same email address identified in your GSA Advantage electronic catalog file submission through the Schedule Input Program (SIP), which you can find on your GSA eLibrary page. This same individual will be responsible for receiving purchase orders for your company.
Once this individual is identified, you will set up the account with the exact same login system you use for other GSA applications. If more than one person is needed to review these orders, you are allowed to create a group email and password that can be accessed by several individuals.
What If I need to Update the Email?
Anytime the registered email needs to be updated or changed, contractors must do so through an electronic catalog submission, where it is reviewed and approved by your GSA contracting officer. Contractors will also need to re-register with the new email and will be given a new account. It’s important to know that orders under the old account can only be accessed using the old account login.
Providing Order Status to Government Buyers:
When you retrieve orders, the order status is considered “In Process” (as a contractor, you will not see this status). This status is passed to the ordering customer. As orders are filled, you may indicate orders as “Shipped” and may provide the shipped date (i.e. status date), ship method, and the tracking number. You may also indicate orders as “Backordered” or “Cancelled”.
- Status Date: Each time an order status is updated, a Status Date must be provided. By default, Status Date is set to today’s date. If desired, you may change the default by selecting a date from the drop-down list then clicking “Ok”. Status Date cannot be more than 14 days prior to today.
- Ship Method: Contractors must also select a Ship Method every time a status is updated. You can select a default ship method upon registration or at your profile. Shipping methods options include FedEx, USPS, UPS, RPS, DHL, Company Vehicle or Other.
- Tracking Numbers: If a tracking number is included in the order, it’s always a good idea to include this in the status order update. Tracking numbers provided to the customer will enable them to track movement of the shipment by the selected carrier.
How to Update Order Status:
Contractors have the option of sending order status by the entire purchase order or status updates by line.
- Status by Order: Providing status by the entire order is done by selecting one of the radio buttons under the “Order Status” heading. Indicating status here sends the same status for all lines on that order. If you select backordered, the order will remain as “Active” until it is shipped or cancelled. If sending status as Shipped, you may provide a Ship Method and Tracking number.
- Status by Line: Contractors can also update status by line by clicking the “Line” link that appears under the “Line Detail” heading. Updating individual line orders is useful if there are orders with multiple shipping statuses. Clicking this link will display the Purchase Order Line-Item Detail screen below. By using this screen, you may provide status for individual lines, including partial shipments and backorders. Line status can be sent multiple times until status for all lines and quantities are submitted.
- Uploading a Status File: Contractors can also upload status by uploading a file template that can be found on the Active Purchase Orders screen and then clicking the “Upload status from a file link” located directly below the Send Status button. You will then be guided through a 3-step instructional screen where the PO Portal will accept or reject file until it’s corrected.
- Exporting Data to Import Status: The PO Portal will also allow you to export the active list of PO Orders to update and then import with the status. You can access this by clicking the link “Export data for importing” at Step 1 of the file upload screen.
GSAAdvantage! PO Portal Tips:
In order to stay as compliant as possible with your Take Advantage scores, here are some tips to help achieve that complaint score.
- Update your product descriptions to identify if item is stand alone or requires the customer to purchase additional items.
- Update your ARO days if you are having issues with on time delivery.
- If an order will not be delivered within the ARO timeframe, update the status to backorder by the last of day. Keep in mind, this may affect your on-time score.
- Having multiple people access the PO Portal is a good way to have coverage and avoid any delays.
- For orders places on a Friday, and if a business is closed on weekends, consider changing the shipping ARO to within 3 days,
- Having the customer cancel on their end through Advantage, will avoid the cancellation score to appear higher.
“Schedule contractors must use EDI, cXML or the GSA Advantage Purchase Order (PO) Portal to provide order status that enables ordering agencies to track the location of an order at any time, from the moment the order is shipped, to the point of delivery and acceptance.”
Coley has over 20 years’ experience helping contractors acquire and manage their GSA Schedule. Our expert consultants can support clients ensure they understand all the requirements to remain compliant. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 210-402-6766, or schedule a call at a time convenient for you to get started on obtaining your GSA Schedule—a critical step on your road to success in the government market.