Overview

Launching Inventory Planner

The Inventory Planner Launch Guide walks through setting up a new account, account settings, catalog maintenance, forecasting and replenishment, and other key details to help with gaining success with Inventory Planner.

This guide is more specialized, as it explains how Inventory Planner can be configured when connecting directly through an Inventory Management System. Both guides will be a useful reference throughout your Inventory Planner experience.

What I have multiple connections?

This guide is focused on configuring Inventory Planner with an Inventory Management System. If/When you have multiple connections with Inventory Planner beyond an IMS, you can refer to the following specialized guides:

Configure Connection(s) and Warehouses

Connecting an Inventory Management System or (Warehouse Management System) is typically sufficient to sync products, stock, sales, and purchase order information. Connecting stores and/or marketplaces directly is only recommended if it is not possible to connect using an IMS or WMS. You can see a full list of platforms that integrate with Inventory Planner along with the details we pull from each system here: https://www.inventory-planner.com/integrations

Note: you can always import additional sales history directly into Inventory Planner without connecting stores.

When you connect an Inventory Management System with Inventory Planner, the warehouses appear as options you can enable/disable in Account > Settings > Connections & Warehouses. Only enable locations/warehouses that you need to evaluate independently for forecasting and replenishment planning purposes.

You can create a Combined Warehouse to aggregate sales (and/or stock) information from multiple warehouses into a single view - to generate forecasted needs and replenishment recommendations based on totaled data.

Note: you do not need to enable individual warehouses if it's sufficient to include them the combined warehouse configuration.

In this example, the stock and sales are combined from the "Main Branch" warehouse, along with sales only (ignoring stock) from "Second Warehouse". With this configuration, sales orders are captured in the 'combined warehouse' view for forecasting and replenishment planning purposes, but the stock in "Second Warehouse" is irrelevant in this case since the sales are fulfilled from the "Main Branch" warehouse.

Note: if you have multiple connections and/or duplicative listings of the same Variant/SKU connected to Inventory Planner, it is important to combine Listings first in order to maintain accurate reports using a combined warehouse.

Forecasting, Replenishment, and Reporting

Here are some videos and resources that Amazon users can reference related to forecasting, replenishment, purchase orders, and reports in Inventory Planner.

Replenishment and Edit Forecast are the key areas of Inventory Planner to generate your forecast and replenishment recommendations. Use the Replenishment Report for Variant/SKU level forecasting and replenishment analysis, and to create Purchase Orders using replenishment recommendations. Replenishment is an output of your Forecast Method & Settings, Forecast Edits, and your planning period (lead time + days of stock).

The Edit Forecast section shows a monthly breakdown of forecasted sales. Select the date range in the top right for your Report, then click on Columns (using the gear icon in the top right) and Filters to see the information you need. Metrics are calculated at the Variant (SKU) level. Use the top left dropdown to aggregate reports and/or override forecasts in different dimensions (eg. by category, by vendor, etc).

How is the forecast and replenishment calculated?

Purchase Orders and Transfer Orders

In many cases, Purchase Orders (to Vendors) and Transfer Orders (between Warehouses) can be synced to/from an Inventory Management System using a direct integration. Check the Integrations Page to see if these features are supported for your integration.

When Purchase Orders or Transfers are successfully synced, they will be represented with a green label in the Purchase Orders section. These orders cannot be managed within Inventory Planner, since Inventory Planner does not control the stock. These orders should be managed and received directly in the IMS, and the details will sync back to Inventory Planner automatically. Any changes to the orders should also be made directly in the IMS, any they will be reflected following the next automatic sync (or anytime a manual sync is triggered in the bottom left of the interface).

Purchase Order Integration with Inventory Management Systems

Planning for Bundles and Assemblies (Pre-Kitted Goods) using an Inventory Management System

A Bundle can also be referred to as a kit, a virtual bundle, or a gift set. Bundles are simply different ways of selling the Variants - eg. 10 total shirts = (1) 10PK or (2) 5PK or (10) 1PK. In this case, all of the stock is tied together - and goods are bundled after the sale occurs when the customer order is fulfilled.

Inventory Planner considers the sales from Bundles in directly with the sales of components/variants when producing a forecast and replenishment recommendation at the Variant level.

Bundle/Variant relationships are synced to Inventory Planner automatically when possible. For some integrations, the classification (Bundle or Assembly) can also be synced automatically. For others, the relationships can be synced - but classifications need to be managed directly within Inventory Planner. Check the Integrations Page to see if these features are supported for your integration.

An Assembly must be produced from components (variants) before it can be placed into stock and available for sale. These goods are pre-assembled before the sale and fulfillment of an item.

Assemblies include any produced goods with a bill-of-materials (BOM), and bundles/kits that must be produced before sending to Amazon (or a different fulfillment warehouse).

Planning for Assemblies should only take place in warehouses where there are forecasted sales and accurate stock levels. If components are stocked and/or assembled in a different facility from where customer orders are fulfilled, configuring a combined warehouse allows you to aggregate the stock and/or sales information from multiple warehouses into a single warehouse for Assemblies Replenishment planning.

Whether you create a new Purchase Order, Assembly Order, or Transfer Order using recommendations from a combined warehouse or an individual warehouse view, you can select the 'true' Destination Warehouse once the new order is created.

Replenishment for Assemblies

´╗┐Understanding forecasting and How Replenishment is Calculated for any item is key to understanding replenishment recommendations for Assemblies & Variants (components). The Bundle and Assemblies article goes in depth in the "Forecasting & Replenishment for Assemblies" section.

In order to calculate Replenishment for Assemblies and generate a schedule, the planning period and cycle details must be defined:

  • Select "Assemblies" in the top left of Replenishment, then configure your Forecast Method, Forecast Edits (if applicable), Assembly Time, and Assembly Cycle.

  • Select "Variants" in the top left of Replenishment, then configure your Lead Time and Days of Stock for component Variants. Note: if components are sold separately on their own, configure forecast method and/or forecast edits at the Variant level as well.

Recommended Workflow for Inventory Management Integrations:

  1. Create Assembly Orders (production orders) to create new assemblies from component stock. If the "Assembly Orders (Push)" functionality is available for your IMS integration, save the AO to your IMS.

  2. If the AO is saved to your IMS, receive the AO there. Your IMS will decrease the stock of components and increase stock of assemblies respectively.
    If the AO is not saved your IMS, receive the AO in Inventory Planner to close the "On Assembly" quantity once stock levels have been adjusted in your IMS.

  3. Create Purchase Orders (POs) to purchase component Variants from Vendors. If the "Purchase Orders (Push)" functionality is available for your IMS integration, save the PO to your IMS.

  4. If the PO is saved to your IMS, receive the PO there. Your IMS will increase stock of component Variants respectively.
    If the PO is not saved your IMS, receive the PO in Inventory Planner to close the "On Order" quantity once stock levels have been adjusted in your IMS.

Learn more about Bundles and Assemblies

Vendors and Vendor Attributes

Vendors and Vendor Attributes (eg. Cost Price, Vendor Reference) are often synced to Inventory Planner automatically from an Inventory Management System. Attributes synced from each system vary, and when they are not synced - they can be inputted (or uploaded directly) into Inventory Planner. Check the Integrations Page to see which features are supported for your integration.

Additional Resources for Inventory Management System Integrations

  • Combined Warehouse: to aggregate sales (and/or stock) information from multiple warehouses into a single view - to generate forecasted needs and replenishment recommendations based on totaled data.

  • Listings: connect multiple listings of the same exact Variant/SKU (if you have multiple connections, or duplicative listings within a single connection).

  • Compare Warehouse Report: compare metrics across multiple warehouses, and optionally generate warehouse transfer recommendations.

Explanations of metrics, columns/filters, or other features:

Visit the Integrations Page for a full list of details Inventory Planner syncs from every integration, or experiment with features anytime in the Inventory Planner Demo Store.

Feel free to contact Inventory Planner directly at contact@inventory-planner.intercom-mail.com or to schedule a call to review any other questions.

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