Struggling with Improvement on Quotation Approval Flow; Quotation PDF Auto-generation

"Double effort" problem has been solved! Furthermore, mistakes are reduced!

Hi, there!


One sales manager (that’s me) is currently struggling to improve “Quotation approval flow”!


Even though I introduced a mechanism to automatically judge whether approval on Quotation approval flow was required or not, “Double effort” problem occurred. I was intending to improve the business, but it ended up raising the burden of sales persons, instead.


In order to solve this “Double effort” problem, I have created a mechanism to automatically generate a PDF file of Quotation, so I will show how it is done.


Utilizing Questetra BPM Suite, a cloud-based Workflow


In “Struggling with Improvement of Quotation Approval Flow”, I will proceed with the premise of using the cloud based workflow “Questetra BPM Suite” to improve the business flow. In addition, I may use other cloud services as necessary.


As I will arrange it to be possible to download the Apps that can be used on “Questetra BPM Suite”, so if you would like to use it actually, please apply for Questetra BPM Suite Free Edition.


Arrange a Step for automatically generating PDF files


The Quotation approval flow created in “Struggling with Improvement of Quotation Approval Flow – Automatic determination on necessity of approval –” was as shown in the following figure.



At the “1. Register estimate”, attaching the estimate file and enter the customer name and amount. Since the sales person had entered the customer name and amount in Spreadsheet at the stage of making the estimate file, so it was a repetition of the same work, which raised the burden of sales persons.


Therefore, I decided to create a system in which to input all information necessary for making the Quotation including the order details in the “1. Register quotation” Step, and automatically generates a Quotation PDF file once it is approved.


First, as shown in the following figure, add a Step referred to as “Service Task (PDF generation)” onto the flow chart above.



Preparation for PDF file generation


It would be easy if it could have been done simply by placing “Service Task (PDF generation)” to generate a Quotation file, but it is not that easy. There are several steps in preparation for PDF file generation as the following.


  1. Make it possible to input data to be output to a PDF file
  2. Prepare a “Template PDF”
  3. Configure Service Task (PDF generation)


There are such procedures, so let’s proceed them in order.


1. Make it possible to input data to be output to a PDF file


In order to generate the PDF file of the Quotation, it is necessary to be able to input all the information that constitutes the Quotation, such as the order details at the Step of “1. Register estimate”. Specifically, make it to be as the figure shown in the following.



In this case, I added Data Items as the following to make them possible to enter at “1. Register quotation” screen.

  • Name of submittee (String type)
  • Name of person to submit (String type)
  • Message (String type)
  • Sales representative (User type)
  • Issued date (Date type;Y,M,D)
  • Valid until (Date type;Y,M,D)
  • Order details (Table type)
  • Sub total (Numeric type)
  • Tax (Numeric type)
  • Total amount (Numeric type)
  • Special notes (String type)


Also, though it is not important for this registering screen, I added two more Items which will be required for the settings we are going to make later.

  • Quotation PDF (File type) *A Data Item to store generated PDF file
  • Label for PDF file (String type, with initial value; quote.pdf) *to be the filename when a PDF file is generated


2. Prepare a “Template PDF”


The data entered in the Step of “1. Register quotation” will be output to “Template PDF” in a font and to the position that has been fixed, thus a new PDF file is generated. We will create what is referred as Template PDF.


We will create “Template PDF” using a tool for creating and editing PDF files (such as Adobe Acrobat). As shown in the following figure, we will setin details such as which item to place where, which type of font to display, etc.



Register the created “Template PDF” as an Add-on to the App. (Please refer to “Auto Generating PDF File with Business data Inserted” for concrete registration method.)


3. Configure Service Task (PDF generation)


Double-click on the Service Task (PDF generation) icon which you have placed in the flow chart to open the property screen, and make the final setting here.


If you have finished registering “Template PDF”, checking on Add-on so you can select “Template PDF” by its name.


For “File type data item to saves the PDF file”, and “String type data item to specify the saving file name”, specify “Quotation PDF file” and “Quotation PDF file name” respectively.


Significance of automatic generation of Quotation PDF


When you actually run the App with the settings so far, you will confirm that the Quotation PDF file with the data entered in “1. Register Quotation” to be automatically generated.



This solved the “Double effort” problem, which was a dissatisfaction of salespersons. I hope they will be working in a good mood with this.


There is even better thing with this improvement. That is, mistakes are reduced.


The more times you enter data, the more risk of commingling mistake you get. The probability of mistakes decreases since the number of data inputs can be counted only once.


Automation in the work flow brings not just saving labor but also improving the quality of work.


We are preparing a file which you can confirm the operation of Quotation approval flow that we improved so far in this article on Questetra BPM Suite, so please download it and try it by all means. Sample Template PDF is also included.


That’s it, for today!



About YAHAGI Hajime

幸せを生み出すITを追求するクエステトラの一味です。 国産の BPM ソフト Questetra BPM Suite で日本・世界を幸せにしたい。
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