Not sure where to start with all the different functions of Inventory Planner? Here is a quick guide to get you started!
The lower right corner is the Chat function. You can start a conversation, chat with friendly IP staff, find all metrics, definitions and formulas, as well as the full Help Center.
You will also find drop-downs menus at the top of almost every page.
Catalog View Dropdown: Use this to view your product catalog at a variety of levels. Variants will be selected by default. Clicking the dropdown will display additional dimensions:
- Variants: Shows all your variations, such as colors, flavors, and sizes.
- Bundles: Multipacks (2 pack, 4 pack etc.) or combinations (bundles of flavors, colors, etc). See article on Bundles and Packs.
- Products: This is the parent of the variant. For example: "Floral Dress" is a Product, and the sizes S, M, and L are Variants.
- Vendor: These lists your Suppliers. Learn about configuring vendors here.
- Brand: The name a product is sold under and that you are advertising to the customer. For example, Nike or Underarmour.
- Categories: This displays Product Type.
- Total: Your totals storewide.
Filters: Use filters to narrow down the information you are viewing. You can save filters and set these as defaults.
Type a keyword or SKU directly into the search bar (to the right of the Filters button) and select ENTER to search. Tip: Search for multiple SKUs at once by typing them in and separating them with a comma!
Edit Columns: Use the Gear Icon on the right lets you pick and choose over 125 metrics to show in your report.
Explanation Metrics and Filters can be found in our Glossary of Terms.
Select any item; it will appear on the righthand side. Then you can drag and drop to arrange the report for customization. You can save it as is, or save the report as a default template. You can also set a default by hovering over the three little dots.
Sales Period for Forecast: This is the default sales period that Inventory Planner is referencing to generate forecasts based on the Recent Sales and Trend Forecast Method*. This date range also affects the Forecast and Replenishment metrics in other tabs as well (eg. Reporting, Overstock). The period is set in the top right of the Replenishment screen.
*Note: Seasonal and Top-Down Forecast Methods refer to the same months in prior years as the sales reference period. This is beneficial for holiday and seasonally driven items with 12+ months of history. Forecast Methods can be set account-wide or customized by item. Learn more about Forecast Methods here.
Details Screen + Replenishment & Forecast Tab
If you hover over the “i” icon under the Details columns, you get a quick look at what is happening on the screen. It can come in different colors and give you a warning at the top saying an item currently out of stock or tell you the time before you get an item back in stock.
Replenishment & Forecast Tab: Forecast details can be seen by clicking the icon, then clicking this tab.
RED: This screen displays details about how the forecast 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.
Additional Tabs within the Details screen include:
- On Order: This tab shows current purchase orders including this item.
- Wholesale Orders: if enabled, this will show you the details of current wholesale orders. These are customer orders that are separated & added to your regularly driven demand. Learn more about Wholesale Planning.
- Bundles: This tab displays relationships with Bundles and/or Components. Learn about setting up Bundles and Packs.
- Merged Variants: This tab displays Merged Variants and Linked Variants associated with the item.
Merging Variants: This function combines the sales and/or stock of separate items. When a product has an updated style or slightly changes sizes, it may be helpful to merge variants so that the new product has the sales history needed to generate a forecast.
Linking Variants: Variants from different connections (eg. Shopify, Amazon, etc) can be linked together to be displayed as one in a Combined Warehouse using this feature.
- Stock & Sales History: This tab visualized information on Sales, Revenue & Profit, Stock, and Stock Cost for the item.
Adjustments can be made in the Details view at the item level, or by utilizing Bulk Actions. This option appears at the bottom once you check on the boxes to the left of each line. Here is more information on adjustments that can be made, and articles with more information on each action:
- Set Lead Time and Days of Stock
- Set Min/Max Stock (Optional)
- Set Low Stock Alert (Optional)
- Increase or Clear Forecast by Percentage
- Clear Forecast Override
- Recompute Forecast
- Set Vendor or Brand
- Add IP Tags
Adjustments can also be made by importing CSV files. This option appears when no boxes are checked to the left of each line:
- Export: Allows you to export from any page in IP. You can export it as an Excel document.
- Import: Create a CSV with the required information in separate columns, and include a column title for each. Each column must have a name, otherwise the data in the first row will be ignored. Select your file and attach a spreadsheet.
Once attached, you will see drop-downs of all the column names in the spreadsheet. Match each field with the columns from your spreadsheet to the field in IP. For example, your Vendor column could be called “Suppliers”.
Example: Import > Vendor Catalog
From the left menu, click the top icon to view an overview of your account.
This includes stock value, a summary of pending purchase orders, items to replenish, variants that are overstocked and best sellers. Detail of all of this information can be found on individual pages.
Replenishment report shows which and how many products need to be purchased. For each product you will also find the estimation of potential lost revenue if you don’t purchase it on time.
You can edit the forecast in three ways:
- Directly on the Edit Forecast screen to change units forecast to be sold or change the forecast by a percentage
- Using Bulk Actions to increase the forecast by a percentage
- By importing a forecast override to change units forecast to be sold or change the forecast by a percentage
Maintaining accurate and up-to-date vendor information for products is important for accurate purchase orders and metrics. Inventory Planner downloads vendor information and variant vendor details when possible (from inventory management systems like Tradegecko or Ordoro). For an e-commerce system that does not have cost prices defined, there are several options:
- Import Vendor information to add new vendors to your account
- Upload vendor catalog for single vendor or for multiple vendors
- Create and edit vendors directly in Vendors
- When you create or edit a purchase order, you have an option to update cost price, vendor reference and other vendor data for variants and use it in subsequent purchase orders.
Purchase Orders & Transfers
Inventory Planner allows you to create purchase orders for your suppliers based on replenishment suggestions. If you use an inventory management solution (Tradegecko or Ordoro), Inventory Planner also synchronizes purchase orders with those platforms. Learn more about Purchase Orders & Transfers here.
If your business is a combination of wholesale and retail, you cannot forecast your sales based on the combined sales history. To make it more accurate, Inventory Planner allows you to plan wholesale orders separately from retail orders.
Note that this section does not show by default. You can enable it in Account > Settings > Forecast. Learn more here about Wholesale Order planning.
Overstock identifies where your store has more inventory than is needed to meet demand. Excess stock is a factor of the forecast to cover the lead time and days of stock you've set for each variant. Items forecasted to have excess units available after your planning period (the end of the lead time + days of stock) will be identified as overstock, provided that no purchase orders have been received for the item in the past two months.
In all types of businesses, it’s useful to measure performance against a set of predetermined criteria. An open-to-buy plan is an inventory management tool that helps you figure out how much inventory you need to buy on a monthly basis to make your sales projections.
Inventory KPIs Report
Inventory Planner’s KPIs report is a very useful tool that gives merchants a tremendous amount of flexibility in assessing their business’s performance from a variety of perspectives, ranging from quite broad to extremely granular.
The Aging Analysis shows the length of time since inventory has been received on a purchase order in Inventory Planner. The report assumes first in-first out inventory management.
In order to compute the age of a product we walk through the historical stock backwards subtracting intakes from the current stock until we reach zero. Each intake increases the value of new stock in the corresponding time window.
The aging report is computed based on the historical stock and it won't populate with information immediately after you connected your store to Inventory Planner.
Compare Warehouse Report
If you have enabled more than one warehouse, it can be helpful to see stock levels across locations. If you need to transfer stock, balance stock at various locations or compare inventory levels across warehouses, then the Compare Warehouse report can help.
The Assortment report can be used to see sales trends and performance metrics within groupings such as category, vendor, brand, etc.
For example, use the Assortment report to see how one vendor performs across all categories. First choose Categories at the top of the page to see all categories. Then click Filter > Vendor > select vendor name and Apply Filter to see results.