What is purchase order OCR?

Purchase order OCR is the application of optical character recognition (OCR) technology for processing and extracting data from purchase orders, such as vendor and customer information, product names, quantity, and price. OCR converts different types of documents, such as scanned paper documents or digital images, into machine-readable data that you can edit and search. 

By applying OCR to purchase orders, businesses can automate a time-consuming part of their procurement process and supply chain. One of the most impactful benefits of purchase order OCR is its ability to eliminate manual data entry, which saves time and reduces errors. 

How Purchase Order OCR Works

  1. Upload Purchase Orders

When you have your purchase orders, either in the form of physical documents or digital files, they’ll need to be uploaded to the OCR tool. For paper documents, you’ll need to first scan them in order to convert them into a digital file that can be uploaded. The best OCR solutions accept a wide range of file types, including PDFs, images such as JPGs and PNGs, Word documents, and even emails. 

  1. Text Detection and Data Extraction

The OCR tool identifies the areas of the document that contain text. It recognizes letters, numbers, and special characters and extracts the relevant purchase order data. Once the information is extracted, it’s converted into structured data. 

  1. Data Validation

Some OCR tools can validate the extracted data against predefined rules and formats to further increase accuracy. Discrepancies and errors are flagged for human review so that they can be checked and corrected before the data is passed to its final destination.

  1. Data Export and Workflow Integration

The final step involves integrating the extracted and validated data into your workflow. Depending on the OCR tool you use, you might be able to copy and paste the extracted data or export it in various formats. Some tools also integrate with third-party systems, enabling you to update inventory systems, match purchase orders with invoices, and approve orders more efficiently. 

Benefits of Purchase Order OCR


Purchase order processing and management typically takes a lot of time because of the manual data entry required. OCR speeds up this work by automating data extraction. Instead of having multiple employees type purchase order information into your systems, OCR can do the same within minutes and easily process large volumes of purchase orders. This acceleration in processing times results in faster turnaround times, order fulfillment, and payment processing. 


Manual data entry is susceptible to errors, which leads to discrepancies that can have far-reaching and costly consequences. OCR’s accurate data capture and extraction significantly reduces the risk of human errors.

Cost Savings

OCR introduces automation into your workflows, reducing the need for manual labor. This not only saves time but also results in significant cost savings. With decreased labor costs and fewer errors that can be expensive to fix, purchase order OCR helps you run a more cost-efficient supply chain.  


As your business grows, you’ll need to be able to efficiently handle a growing number of purchase orders. Hiring more employees is slow and expensive. OCR technology is a better solution since it’s capable of handling increasingly large amounts of data and documents. Whether your business handles a small volume of purchase orders or deals with a large-scale procurement operation, OCR can seamlessly scale to meet demand.