Purchase Order explained: Definition and a simple guide

Learn about the various types of purchase orders, how to create them, and their importance in business operations for effective management and supplier relations.

Whether you’re a recent hire at the operations team or a C-level executive, understanding purchase orders (POs) is essential for the smooth functioning of any manufacturing company. This guide covers what purchase orders are, their types, how to create them, and their benefits in business operations.

What is a Purchase Order?

A purchase order is a formal document sent by a buyer to a supplier with a request to purchase products or services. It details the items the buyer agrees to purchase at a specified price and terms. The purchase order serves as a legally binding contract once the supplier accepts it.

Types of Purchase Orders

Understanding different types of purchase orders can help you choose the right one for your business needs:

  • Standard Purchase Orders: The most common type, used for a one-time buy when the details about the quantity, price, and delivery schedule are known.
  • Planned Purchase Orders: These include detailed information about the items and quantities needed but the delivery schedules are not defined.
  • Blanket Purchase Orders: Used for ongoing purchases over a set period, detailing the items and prices but often not the quantities or times.
  • Contract Purchase Orders: Establish the terms of agreement between a buyer and a supplier, without specifying the goods or services and their quantities.

Creating and Using Purchase Orders

Creating a purchase order is a strategic process that involves:

  1. Identifying Needs: Clearly define what products or services are needed.
  2. Selecting Suppliers: Choose suppliers that meet your quality and delivery requirements.
  3. Specifying Details: Include detailed descriptions, quantities, prices, and delivery dates.
  4. Approval Process: Ensure all POs are reviewed and approved according to company policy.

You can create purchase orders easily with vinr’s Supply Chain management module.

Effective use of purchase orders offers several benefits:

  • Budget Control: POs help manage spending and track budget compliance.
  • Clear Communication: They serve as a clear communication mechanism, reducing the risk of order errors.
  • Legal Protection: In case of disputes, a PO serves as a legal document.

Templates and Resources

To create a purchase order, you can start with a template that includes necessary fields like:

  • Supplier information
  • Buyer’s contact information
  • Description of goods or services
  • Quantity and price
  • Terms and conditions

Many business management software solutions offer built-in PO creation tools which can streamline the process and ensure accuracy.


Understanding and effectively managing purchase orders is crucial for operational efficiency and supplier relationship management in any business. By mastering the creation and use of different types of purchase orders, companies can better control spending, manage procurement processes, and ensure smooth operational flow.