Forecasting and Replenishment are the core features of Inventory Planner. The forecast describes predicted future sales, which are used in combination with user-inputted settings (lead time, days of stock, and optional stock rules) to generate replenishment recommendations. These can be used to create purchase orders to a vendor, or transfer orders between locations.
There are multiple forecast methods that incorporate seasonality, trends, and past stockout information differently. Forecast methods can be set account-wide, or they can be customized by Variant.
To get the most from Inventory Planner's replenishment recommendations and purchase order functionality, it is important to configure Forecast Settings correctly.
Lead Time and Days of Stock determine the "planning period"; this is the period in which forecasted needs will be evaluated against current stock + units on order (or in transfer) to a location.
In this example, the lead time means that it will take 14 days (Dec 6 - 20) from the time a PO is created to when a PO will be received at the FBA US location. Once the order is received and stock is up-to-date, the days of stock is configured to cover 30 days (Dec 20 - Jan 19) worth of the forecasted needs.
Inventory Planner calculates Replenishment based on the forecasted needs during the planning period, and Min/Max Stock settings (if applicable), and any additional stock needed for Bundles or Assemblies (if applicable).
Please Note: Vendor rules such as Units of Measurement (UOM) and Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) are not considered in the Replenishment metric. To see Replenishment adjusted based on vendor rules, you can add the "To Order" metric as a column using the gear icon in the top right..
In the same example, Replenishment of 1,753 means that this many units are needed (above and beyond the units in stock + on order + in transfer) to cover forecasted needs through the end of the planning period, so that stock will reach the minimum quantity (200) by January 19th.
By selecting the checkbox for this item, an option appears in the bottom left of the Replenishment screen to create a Purchase Order for the recommended units. Multiple items can be added to a PO at any given time. Some stock rules are considered directly in the value displayed for Replenishment, whereas other rules (eg. UOM, MOQ) trigger an alert after an item is added to a PO.
Replenishment & Forecast Details
Forecast and Replenishment details can be viewed at any level by selecting the "i" icon under the Details column for any item in Replenishment, Edit Forecast, and Reporting.
Forecast details can be seen by clicking the "i" icon under the Details column in Replenishment or Reporting.
RED: This screen displays details about how the forecast and replenishment is being calculated by displaying the selected Forecast Method (customize under the "Forecast Settings" tab), Sales Period for Reference, Sales Velocity during the period, and Forecast Sales during the Lead Time and Days of Stock Periods.
BLUE: This table shows the Past Sales (last 12 months) and Forecasted Sales (next 12 months). The data correlates to the Forecast Sales chart. Overrides to the forecast can be inputted here directly in units, or by percent.
ORANGE: These charts provide information on the Past Sales and Forecasted Sales (last/next 12 months), Forecasted Stock and Lost Revenue (due to Stockouts), and Purchase Order recommendations.