Basic workflow for printing Document revisions → purchase orders

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6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

I use airtable mostly as a product database + putting purchase orders to my vendor overseas. Each vendor uses their own weird excel cataloging system (Everyone in China does this), so I use airtable instead to send my own unique database of products in PDF format

I don’t want to bother letting them know what my airtable system is and want to keep things simple

This is how I control document workflows for letting my vendor overseas changes on my end:

  1. Make the relational database schema with all the items in there
  2. Add quantities to those items
  3. Create a specific view for those product items (Product SKU, Description, Image, and Quantity)
  4. Print it out using CutePDF printer (makes the adobe PDF) run OCR recognition on the PDF too
  5. Modify in AdobeAcrobat if needed
  6. Send file to vendor

Whenever I have to revise the PO to resend back out to the vendor (e.g. quantity numbers change, or I have to revise my order to reflect the current container number I am putting my products through)

I do the following:

2: Remodify quantities / pricing to items to reflect vendors database (vendor sends excel file back)
3: Rename the specific view to reflect the current version (so if I’m working on container 5 products, and this is the 2nd PDF I send out for revisions, the docview name is Container5version2)
4: Reprint it out in CutePDF printer run OCR recognition on the PDF too
5: Use adobe Acrobat Pros’ highlighting function to annotate any changes from previous document
6: Resend file to vendor

I use this when placing purchase orders for 1000+ items in a 40’ container at a time. This is an extremely effective workflow for me, from a distribution standpoint while still being easy to enter and send out data as well

Version control of documents from the vendors perspective is just using simple annotated / printed PDFs using CutePDF plugin


I use airtable to manage large-scale purchase orders of 1000+ items in 40’ containers

Vendor always has their own unique cataloging system so I’ll just send out all my files in simple PDF format and let them fill in the blanks based on item number

Subsequently, I could negotiate prices and what not here as well

When they send back data I make my database match theirs

Process goes back and forward as many times as needed

Essentially I am using airtable as my personal collaboration tool without the other side being aware of it (asides the fact that the document says airtable at bottom, but still). By simplying using airtable to make annotated PDF’s and updating PDF revisions when sending it by email. This way nobody has to learn anything more than they have too

I hope this makes sense

I also use airtable as well to stage my ecommerce product database as well too, in the same base

Down the road I’m just going to write a autohotkey macro script to create / print the PDF and run OCR recognition, and possibly send excel files instead so I can get my data filled in from vendor, then reimport in

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