Receiving Overview

Here we offer a general overview of the “product receiving” features provided by Rattail.


The details of the receiving process can vary quite a bit for each organization, but some patterns emerge and Rattail tries to offer tools around these patterns.

Regardless of where your true authority lives for purchase data, Rattail should be able to e.g. read PO data from it, and (ideally) write PO data to it as well. (The latter especially can depend on a lot of factors of course.)

So, even if you don’t use Rattail to track your purchase history “proper” the goal for Rattail is still to provide useful workflow tools. Of course, if you have no other system for POs then Rattail can provide a basic home for that.

Why would you even bother with this? Especially if the system where PO data lives already has a receiving workflow/UI, that’s a good question. Short answer is, you may not want to. But then again it is possible that Rattail can be leveraged to obtain a more efficient and/or flexible workflow. This can sometimes make a big difference on labor costs as well as morale.


Short version:

  1. inventory

  2. credits

  3. costing

The #1 objective for the receiving process - at least from Rattail’s perspective - is to accurately adjust inventory levels. Typically this means incrementing inventory for all product being received, although of course that can vary. But the key here is accuracy; the Rattail workflows are meant to help avoid e.g. blindly “receiving” all product from a PO, regardless of whether or not it was in fact physically received.

Depending on the nature of your business, sometimes product may arrive damaged, or expired, etc. Sometimes it doesn’t arrive at all even though you were invoiced for it, or you received the wrong product instead. So the #2 objective, is to provide a way to deal with these exceptions, since presumably the inventory levels should not be adjusted for them, but you may still want to track them as “credits” with the vendor.

That sort of leads into #3 objective, which is named “costing” but is perhaps aka. “accounting” - this is simply the recording of true unit costs etc. for each product being received, for sake of history (reporting) and/or to drive further business logic. For instance the receiving cost might be compared to “expected” cost (per product master) and action taken if it’s higher. But again the point here is accuracy; cost history is great but only if “true”.


The general feature is meant to allow a user to “receive” product into a unique batch. Population of the batch data can happen over time, e.g. by scanning in product. When the batch is “complete” then it is “executed” - at which point the inventory and/or cost data it contains is “committed” to some DB(s).

That is a simplification of the process; see Receiving Workflows for more info.