Welcome to the first stop on Vendor Onboarding Learning Line. This tutorial is part of a larger "Vendor Management" case study that encompasses Vendor Onboarding, Satisfaction Surveys, and Certification Renewals. But they all start here!
At this station, we will create the initial version of the digital work stream that will be used to bring a vendor on board.
In this case study, your company (Acme) is a food producer who wants to ensure regulatory compliance as vendors are brought on board. To do that, we need to ensure that all necessary data has been received, that it has been reviewed and approved by the appropriate parties, and that all regulatory certificates are current and valid.
Learning Concepts at This Station:
Creating a basic work stream
About the working version
Defining basic data fields
Defining formatted data fields
Defining additional fields (file attachments, date field, signature field)
Creating a Basic Work Stream
To bring a vendor on board, Acme needs a completed vendor registration form, a signed W9 form for the IRS, a Health and Safety Inspection certificate, and an environmental compliance certificate.
The stream will ensure that the required information is provided, and that the certificates are reviewed by the appropriate personnel or departments.
Once the vendor is brought on board, Acme wants to send a satisfaction survey to ensure the process went smoothly. After that, vendors will be notified 30 days before a certificate is set to expire, so they can get it renewed.
The first step is to set up a work stream -- the sequence of activities your people perform to carry out the business process. As you do that, you'll be defining the data record that tracks information pertaining to an individual vendor.
The stream is an abstract series of steps that applies to all vendors. The data for a particular vendor, along with any status information that records their progress in the stream, is what makes the stream unique for each vendor.
To begin developing the stream, start by clicking the gear icon at top right, next to the area where your profile image appears. From the pull-down menu, choose "Streams Management".
The "Your Streams" window appears. At top left of that window, click "Create a new stream."
The "New Stream" window appears. Enter the following information:
- Give a title... - Vendor Onboarding
- Description - This stream is used to bring a vendor on board.
- Create Using Wizard - This is the default choice, and the easiest way to create a new stream from scratch.
- Give a name to this information... - OnboardData
- Note that no spaces are allowed. This is an internal name for the data record that will store vendor information.
At this point in the development process, define a single data field, just to get things started. To do that, fill out the first row under "Add fields...":
- Title - Vendor Name
- Name - This field is filled in automatically, to "Vendor_Name". Use that.
- Type - Text Field (Choose "Text Field" from the drop down menu.)
At the bottom of the screen, click Done. The initial version of the stream is created and you see the status screen for it.
You are now at the streams's Summary page. At the moment, there is one version of the stream -- the Working Version. We'll learn a little more about that in the next section.
About the Working Version
Note that right from the outset, Pulpstream has the ability to maintain multiple versions of a stream. At the moment, you're looking at your Working Version -- the development version of the stream you're creating.
Once you finish development and testing, you'll Publish the working version. From then on, that version will be in production. The rest of your company will use that -- the Published Version -- while you enhance the working version of the stream with additional functionality.
When you finish testing your new version, you'll put it into production as easily as clicking the button to Publish it. (But if it doesn't work out for some unforeseen reason, you'll always be able to revert to an earlier version.)
Pulpstream gives you ways to prevent conflicts, too, in case there are multiple people who can modify a stream. And it gives you a way to fix minor oversights in a published stream, without having to go through the whole development cycle. You'll find out more about those capabilities as we go along.
For now, just know that your stream has been created. As part of the stream, Pulpstream created the an initial form that can be used to collect data. Pulpstream also created an initial version of the onboarding process your users will follow, in the "Stream Definition" tab. (Both are minimal, at this point. You'll be extending them as we go along.)
Creating Basic Data Fields
The next step is to add some fields to collect basic information.
If you're currently in the "Stream Definition" tab, go back to the "Summary" tab for a moment.
In the "Summary" tab, click "Version 1". You're now viewing the Stream Definition Canvas for Version 1 of the stream. (You were just there, of course. But now you know how to get there for a specific version of the stream.)
To the right of the initial stream flow that Pulpstream created, you'll see a listing of additional components that make up the stream. Here, you can see how the name you created in the last step (OnboardData) has been used as the name for stream's initial data component and the data form.
For a complex stream, you will add additional data components and forms. And a stream has other components, as well. But what we have is plenty to get started with.
Let's start by adding the fields we need to identify the vendor. To do that, under "Data Components", hover the mouse over "OnboardData" and click "Edit".
The "Edit Data Component" tab appears. You're currently in the "General" tab, which displays the component's display-title (editable) and internal name (not editable) . It also displays a description field you can use to explain why that particular data component exists, and how it is used. That's useful information, when you have many of them.)
To start adding fields, go to the "Fields" tab. There, you see the Vendor Name field you defined when you created the stream.
At top left of the Edit Data Component pane, click "New Field". Add the first field:
- Title - Street Address
- Name - (use the default that is filled in for you: "Street_Address")
- Type - Text Field
Note that you can specify that a field is required, which means a record can't be created unless a value is provided. You can also specify a data input format for fields like zip codes and Social Security Numbers.
In addition, you can specify whether the data in the field is stored as an encrypted value, which you might well do for sensitive data like a Social Security Number.
You'll work with those features later. For now, click the "Save Field" button at bottom right to save the field you defined. The Street Address field now appears in the list of fields at the left of the screen.
Repeat that process for the following fields:
|Field Name||Field Type|
|Primary Contact Name||Text Field|
|Primary Contact Email|
|Primary Contact Phone||Phone|
Note that the last two fields have a different type. Those field types automatically check the format of input data, to be sure it is in the correct form.
At this point, you have done enough that it's time to save your work. Although you've been clicking "Save Field" regularly, the fields are defined only in the current window. To make them part of the stream, go to the upper right of the pane and click "Save Changes".
When you have done that, your changes are saved and you are back at the Stream Definition Canvas.
Defining Formatted Data Fields
Next, we'll work with a couple of fields that have a specific input format. In the Stream Definition Canvas, start by clicking the "OnboardData" data component. Then click the "Fields" tab.
Click on the "State" field you defined earlier. The goal now is to ensure that value is entered as a two-character state code. To do that, go to the "Input Format" section at the bottom of the canvas.
Click the help icon (a circle with a question mark in it. A popup appears to show you how input format definitions work. When you're done reading, click the icon again to close the popup.
Next, click in the "Input Format" box, and type ##. Those two characters tell Pulpstream that valid input data consists of exactly two characters -- no more, and no less.
Click "Save Field" to save those changes in this edit session. (The screen blinks to let you know it happened.)
Next, add a field called Entity Type. For that field, you'll provide a list of specific choices. So for "Type," choose "Enumeration (Choices)". Then add 3 options for the user to select from. (Fill in the labels. The values will default to the same text.)
- Label - S Corp
- Label - C Corp
- Label - LLC
Click "Save Field"
Finally add another new field called Tax ID, of type Text Field. For the input format, 99-9999999. That format, with two digits followed by a hyphen and 7 more digits, is the Tax ID format for all registered organizations.
Click "Save Field", then click "Save Changes" at top right, to make the most recent field definitions part of the stream.
Defining Additional Fields (File Attachments, Date Fields, Signature Fields)
We’ll finish setting up the data record by introducing you to a few more field types.
(You’ll have noticed that there are quite a few in the drop down list! We’re only scratching the surface—but at the same time, you’re learning about the most common ones.)
To add the additional fields:
- In the Stream Definition Canvas, under "Data Components”, click “OnboardData”.
- In the Edit Data Component Canvas, click the “Fields” tab.
- Add the following new fields:
|W9||File Attachments||Used to score a PDF scan.|
|Environmental Compliance Certificate||File Attachments|
|Environmental Cert Issuer Name||Text Field|
|Environmental Cert Expiration Date||Date||Will be used to send an alert 30 days before expiration.|
|Health and Safety Certificate||File Attachments|
|Health Cert Issuer Name||Text Field|
|Health Cert Expiration Date||Date|
|Vendor Signature||Image Attachments||On a tablet device, a signature can be drawn in.|
When you’re done, click “Save Changes”.
To learn more about the kinds of fields you create in a record, and the various attributes you can specify, explore the Field Types pages in the help system.
Take the Next Step
Congrats! All the fields needed to bring a vendor on board are now in place. In the next station, you’ll work with the forms in which users enter data.