Amazon Vendor Central Purchase Orders: The Missing Guide

Explore How The Vendor Central Purchase Order Fulfillment Lifecycle Operates

Whether you’re a seasoned operator in Amazon Vendor Central or just trying to understand what a vendor journey on Amazon involves, this guide will be a reference point for daily operations, avoiding potential pitfalls, and maximizing the potential of a partnership in Amazon Vendor Central.

7 Steps In The Amazon Vendor Central Purchase Order Fulfillment Lifecycle

If you are a Vendor, you are well aware there are seven critical stages of the Purchase Order Fulfillment Lifecycle:

  1. PO Submission
  2. PO Confirmation
  3. Transportation Management
  4. Pick, Prep, and Pack
  5. Label and Build Pallet
  6. Submit Shipment
  7. Shipment Received

Each step highlights Amazon’s order processing and inventory decisions in Amazon Vendor Central.

1. PO Submission

The lifecycle begins with the submission of an Amazon purchase order.

  • Automatic Orders: Generated and submitted automatically based on a schedule for each vendor code.
  • Manual Orders: Created manually by an In-Stock Manager for specific, non-regular needs.

This initial step involves selecting and finalizing the products ordered from the supplier in Amazon Vendor Central.

2. PO Confirmation

Review and confirm the products. Vendors must confirm PO actions within 48 hours of receipt.

  • Product Availability: Confirm if the products can be shipped within the requested window.
  • Shipping Capability: Provide information on when the products can be shipped or delivered.
  • Quantity Details: Specify how many units of each product can be shipped.

Vendors in Amazon Vendor Central must accept or reject orders promptly to ensure smooth processing.

3. Transportation Management

Secure your shipment pick-up or delivery date. Transportation management in Amazon Vendor Central involves coordinating with carriers and scheduling shipments effectively.

Types of Vendors:

  1. Collect (WePay) Vendors: Pay a Freight Allowance and use Amazon-provided carriers.
  2. Prepaid (TheyPay) Vendors: Manage their shipping and use their carriers.

Vendors should submit routing requests on the order day to secure optimal shipping routes and times.

4. Pick, Prep, and Pack

Prepare the ordered products for shipment. Ensure compliance with Amazon Vendor Central packaging standards to maintain product integrity during transit.

  • Packaging Standards: Products must be ready to ship before storage, adhering to specific packaging standards.
  • Resources: Visit the Support > View Resource Center for packaging requirements and search for “Amazon Packaging Certification” for better packaging practices.

5. Label and Build Pallet

Organize and label shipments.

  • Label & Build: Each pallet is labeled with relevant shipping and order information. This labeling is essential for tracking and ensuring the correct items are shipped and received in Amazon Vendor Central.

6. Submit Shipment

Notify the buyer of shipment details. Ensures proper planning and reception of the shipment, providing insight into the contents and expected arrival.

  • Advance Shipment Notification (ASN): The ASN is a crucial document that provides detailed information about the shipment. Must be sent within 30 minutes of the carrier’s departure or 6 hours before arrival at the fulfillment center, whichever is earliest.

7. Shipment is Received

Completion of the fulfillment process.

  • Breakdown of Pallets to Cartons: Upon arrival at the fulfillment center, the shipment is broken down from pallets into individual cartons or packages for easier handling and sorting.
  • Scanning and Verification: Each carton label is scanned using a Parcel Identifier (PID) scanner to match the data submitted in the ASN.
  • Unpacking Cartons: Cartons are unpacked, and products are placed into totes for sorting according to their final delivery destinations.
  • Storing Products on Shelves: Unpacked and sorted products are stored on shelves in the fulfillment center and ready to be shipped to customers.

The final step in Amazon Vendor Central ensures that the received products are processed and prepared for final delivery to the customer.

Causes of Amazon Purchase Order Modifications

Amazon may modify a PO as they are not set in stone. The following are a few causes for a PO to be modified

1. Cancellation:

  • Vendor Non-Acceptance: POs may be canceled if they do not accept unconfirmed POs before they are automatically canceled.
  • Non-Receipt of Confirmed Quantities: If the accepted quantity on confirmed POs isn’t received by the expected-to-receive timelines, the POs are automatically canceled.
  • Issuance Errors: POs that are issued in error by Amazon will be canceled.

2. Accepted Quantity Updated:

  • Increase Requests: If a vendor’s request to increase the accepted quantity on confirmed POs is approved by Amazon, the accepted quantity will be adjusted accordingly.

3. Ship/Delivery Window Updated:

  • Extension Requests: If a vendor’s request for an extension of the shipping or delivery window is approved by Amazon, the timeline will be modified to match the new requested window.

4. Ship-to Location Updated:

  • Capacity Issues: If the initial ship-to-location encounters capacity issues, it may be modified to prevent delays in receiving the vendor’s shipments.

5. PO Item Cost Updated:

  • Cost Change Requests: If a vendor’s request for a change in the cost price of a PO item is approved by Amazon, the item cost will be updated to reflect the new amount.

Modification History Accessibility

  • Start Date: The modification history is accessible from September 8, 2023.
  • Duration: History records go back up to six months.
  • Viewing Instructions: To review past modifications within the specified timeframe, deactivate the “Hide viewed items” toggle next to the search bar.

Communicating Product Availability in Amazon Vendor Central

Effective communication of product availability is crucial for optimizing the purchase order fulfillment process and ensuring accuracy throughout the supply chain in Amazon Vendor Central.

Methods to Communicate Product Availability

1. Before a Purchase Order is Placed:

  • How to Communicate: Navigate to Items > Catalog. Utilize the Update Availability feature to verify and update product availability instantly.

2. After a Purchase Order is Placed:

  • Current Purchase Orders: Go to Orders > Purchase Orders. Use Purchase Order Acknowledgement Statuses to accept or reject orders. (See the Amazon Selling Partner API for more details)
  • Future Purchase Orders: Use the Update Availability feature to communicate changes in product availability.

Importance of Communication

  • Impact on Amazon’s Decisions: The availability signals sent by vendors influence Amazon’s purchasing strategies and the management of catalog availability, thereby affecting future buying decisions and the acknowledgment of purchase orders.

Interpretation of Availability Signals

  1. In Stock: Accepted (AC): Indicates products are in stock and expected to be fulfilled within PO policy terms.
  2. Backordered: Variants include not yet available (BA), not yet published (BX), or to be reprinted (BR).
  3. Temporarily Unavailable: This includes various cancellation statuses, such as out of stock (OS) or temporarily out of stock (IR). Soft rejection may occur, leading to potential suspension of orders if repeated.
  4. Permanently Unavailable: Statuses like permanently out of stock (CK), out of print (OP), or obsolete (CP) lead to a hard rejection, potentially resulting in indefinite suspension of orders for that product.

Actions and Consequences

  1. Acceptance: Expectation to fulfill the product as per the terms specified.
  2. Soft Reject: The product might be ordered again in the future. Frequent soft rejections can lead to a 30-day suspension of orders for the products.
  3. Hard Reject: Indicates that the product will not be available. Repeated hard rejections may cause an indefinite suspension of orders for the product.

No Purchase Orders in Amazon Vendor Central

Occasionally, vendors may encounter situations where no purchase orders are available in Amazon Vendor Central. This section outlines potential reasons and steps to address the issue.

Possible Reasons for No Purchase Orders

  1. Product Availability Issues: If product availability signals indicate frequent out-of-stock statuses or backorders, Amazon may suspend placing new purchase orders for those items.
  2. Performance Metrics: Poor performance metrics, such as low on-time delivery rates or high defect rates, can lead to a reduction or cessation of purchase orders.
  3. Changes in Demand: Shifts in consumer demand or changes in Amazon’s purchasing strategy may result in fewer or no purchase orders for specific products.

Steps to Address the Issue

  1. Review Availability Signals: Ensure product availability signals are accurate and up-to-date in Amazon Vendor Central.
  2. Improve Performance Metrics: Improve key performance metrics such as on-time delivery rates and reducing defect rates.
  3. Communicate with Amazon: Contact Amazon Vendor Central support to understand the reasons for the lack of purchase orders and seek guidance on corrective actions. By understanding the potential reasons and taking proactive steps, vendors can address the issue of no purchase orders in Amazon Vendor Central and work towards restoring regular order placements.

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