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Product Substitution Options: Pros and Cons

Product substitution is daily bread for the procurement team. Especially flower substitution because variety shortages occur due to a million reasons – all the way from unexpected weather to a cow stepping on a whole batch. And shortages are not the only reason why someone might want to substitute a product. It can also be due to severe price fluctuations, quality concerns, etc. In Komet’s platform you have two ways of marking product substitution within the platform and here we will analyze the pros and cons of using each way so you can make a decision using the tool that best suits your company’s needs.

Flower Substitution – DYI Option

The first way to record all product subs is by manually inputting the information into the system. Usually in this case, the vendor would call you up directly and let you know of inconveniences with the item requested.  Procurement would manually go ahead and substitute a product in the Bulk Purchasing Mode and the line substituted is marked with Sub. Here’s a niffty video to show you the process.

Pro: Obviously, you have more control. Every change needs to be informed to someone to be able to reflect the substitution within Komet.

Con: It’s all manual! You literally have to receive the info, go into the system, look for the specific product that is not available and sub it for the specific item that the vendor is offering.

Flower Substitution – Vendor Option

This way of doing things has to do with giving your vendor(s) more permissions to changing requests. The default for companies is usually the first option so to give your vendor more access you do have to activate a setting and it is set by vendor which means that you get to pick and choose which one of your providers can use product subs and which can’t. When this setting is turned on, your vendor will have the option to substitute the requested products before shipping without having to ask for permission. A notification email is sent to procurement managers and the user who created the Prebook informing the change.

Pro: Everything’s faster! Your vendor receives the request, they process it within the same timeframe they would a regular PO and still everyone would be informed about the change.

Con: You’ve got a free-range vendor. You pretty much lose control of anything that has to do with product substitution, your vendor can make as many changes as (s)he wants without any restrictions.

As we mentioned earlier, whether you activate this last option or not depends almost exclusively on your internal operations but we thought we would draw up some general conclusions to help you decide what’s best for you.

Conclusion #1

Don’t use the Product Sub by Vendor unless you really trust that provider. This seems very intuitive but you might want to consider analyzing whether your vendor meets your quality standards over 90% of the time, if there are ever any delays on shipments and if that vendor has an open and thorough communication with your procurement team.

Conclusion #2

If you do use the DIY option, be sure to have a system. It’s easy to forget! Especially when it’s not part of your daily tasks. So, if you do decide this is the best way for you, maybe it’s best to always request an email confirmation from your vendor of the change and have a way to track them daily. That way, you’ll have a better idea whether the product was substituted in Komet or not.

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