Automate Purchase Order Processing with Google Forms and zenphi

Finance Use Cases , zenphi Use Cases

Purchase order management is a critical aspect of efficient procurement. In this hands-on guide, we’ll demonstrate how you can expedite and automate purchase order processing using Google Workspace tools like Forms, Sheets, Docs, and zenphi—a no-code business process automation platform designed for Google Workspace users.

Automate Purchase Order Scenario

Imagine a scenario where Company A needs a streamlined way for employees to request office supplies whenever they are running low. Instead of relying on manual email requests, the company sets up a Google Form to facilitate swift submission and automated purchase order creation.

Automate Purchase Order Steps Overview

– Employee submits a purchase request through the Google Form.

– Zenphi Flow retrieves item information from the zenphi Table.

– If the item is in stock, an immediate confirmation email is sent to the employee.

– If the item is not in stock, the system calculates the total purchase cost.

– The manager’s information is fetched from Google Sheets.

– A Purchase Order is generated using a Google Docs template.

– If the purchase amount exceeds $5,000, manual approval is required; otherwise, the Purchase Order is generated and sent to the vendor.

This is just a simplified example, and you are free to customize it to meet your specific needs.

Prerequisites and Tools Used

1. Google Form

We recommend using a simple two-question form to capture employee emails.

You can access a sample Google Form here.

2. Google Sheets

For seamless approval workflows, maintain an employee database, such as Google Sheets, to store employee and manager information.

3. Google Docs

Create a template in Google Docs with your desired Purchase Order PDF design.

You can access a template we’ll use for this tutorial here.

Include placeholders in the template using the format {{value}} to represent form response values.

4. Zenphi Account

Sign in to your zenphi account or register for free.

4.1 Zenphi Flow

Create a workspace for your process and select “Create a new Flow.” A Flow is an automated workflow comprising a Trigger and subsequent Actions or Steps.

Choose a Google Form trigger and name your Flow.

4.2 Zenphi Table

Establish a zenphi Table containing item data. Tables serve as robust databases, allowing you to automatically capture, store, and organize essential information from your processes. Create a new Table within the same Space and define columns for your item data.

Here’s a guide on how to create a Table.

You can set up automated data retrieval for this Table from various sources we integrate with (see list of Integrations).

In our Table, we store the following data:

  • Item name
  • Current stock
  • Vendor contact
  • Vendor contact email
  • Vendor name
  • Price per unit
  • Delivery time
  • Minimum order quantity
  • Additional notes

Automate Purchase Order Flow: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Configure the Trigger

1. Click on the Google Form trigger within the Flow Designer to access settings.

2. Establish a Connection with your Google Form account by clicking on the ‘plus’ in the Connection field.

3. Select the desired Google Form, revealing available Form Controls for use in subsequent steps.

Once you connect a Google Form, you’ll see the Form Controls list – these are all the responses that will be available with each form submission for you to use further in the Flow steps.

Step 2: Add a “Lookup Record” in zenphi Table Action

Utilize the Lookup record to match Google Form submission data with zenphi Table data using dynamic tokens.

Tokens contain data from previous workflow steps, such as the Item Name.

As an output data of the Lookup record action, you’ll have all the information about the Item name needed further in the workflow; specifically, we get the Current stock amount to use in the next step.

Step 3: Create an “If Condition” Branch

Utilize the If Condition action to create two branches based on stock availability and non-availability. In the Condition settings, use the Current Stock data from the Lookup record and compare it with the requested amount from the Google Form using the “Greater or equal” operator.

Step 4: Set up an “In-stock” Scenario using Send email action

In the True branch, send a confirmation email to the employee regarding item availability and instructions. Utilize the Google Form initiator’s email as the recipient, and customize the sender’s name, subject, body, and attachments as needed.

Step 5: Set up a “Non In-stock” Scenario

For items not in stock, follow these sub-steps:

5.1 Use the “Math operations” action to calculate the total order amount by multiplying the quantity specified in the Google Form by the price per unit from the zenphi Table.

5.2 Incorporate the Lookup Row in Google Sheets action to find the employee’s manager for approval. Match the Google Form initiator’s email with the email column in Google Sheets to retrieve the manager’s email.

5.3 Generate a Purchase Order document using the “Generate document using template” action from Google Docs. Configure the action by selecting the template, specifying the destination Google Drive folder, customizing the document name using the Token picker, and enabling the “Generate PDF” option.

Map dynamic values in the document using the Token picker.

5.4 Create an approval workflow:

– Use the same “If Condition” action to check if the Purchase Order exceeds a specified amount (e.g., $5,000)

– If the amount is less, send the Purchase Order to the vendor via the Send email action, attaching the generated document.

– If the amount is greater, use the Assign Task action to send an approval task to the manager, allowing them to approve or reject the order via email. Upon approval, attach the Purchase Order to an email sent to the vendor.

Step 6: Test the “Automate Purchase Order” Flow

– Save and publish the Flow using the top panel controls.

– Submit a new response through the Google Form to trigger the Flow.

– Monitor the live status of each step in the Flow Runs tab.

– Two new documents will appear in the designated Google Drive folder: one in Google Doc format and one in PDF format, both containing Purchase Orders generated from the Google Form responses.

Configure Additional Actions to Automate Purchase Order Processing (Optional)

Depending on your needs, consider adding additional actions to enhance automation even further:

Google Directory actions

You can use the employee data pulled out directly from the Google Directory using the rich set of Google Workspace actions.

If you’re interested in learning more about automating user management in Google Workspace check out one of our on-demand webinars.

Send the Purchase Order to be signed

Send the Purchase Order for signing with electronic signature automation: Incorporate eSign tools like DocuSign, Adobe eSign, and Annature for automated signing.

Use your task managers

If you want to assign approval tasks using your custom task managers you are free to do so. Here are the tools you can connect to in no time:

Learn more about task management automation:

Jira automation for Google Workspace users: Complete Guide

5 Ways to Automate Asana: Unleash Team Productivity


We hope this article has given you a clear understanding of how to automate purchase order processing. By following the steps outlined here, you can streamline your procurement operations and reduce manual effort, freeing up your time and resources to focus on more critical tasks.

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