To begin, access the Open-to-Buy planner on the left-hand navigation bar and select “+ New Plan” at the bottom of the page.
A modal window will appear, asking you to:
name the plan
select what you’re planning in (what goals you are using):
select the grouping method to use for your planning:
select the period type:
Retail week (4-5-4)
Retail week (4-4-5)
(optional) select a warehouse
If you do not select a warehouse at this stage, you will be able to change the warehouse on the report at any time when viewing it.
Retail, cost and units
It is important to understand the differences between the three kinds of plans.
Planning in Retail allows you to enter planned revenue goals. You may want to use this plan to support your forecast. The OTB recommendation will be given in retail dollars.
Planning in Cost allows you to enter your planned costs. You may want to use this kind of plan in conjunction with your budget. The OTB recommendation will be given in terms of cost.
Planning in Units allows you to enter your planned sales in units. You may want to use this kind of plan if you have constraints on how many units can be stored (?). The OTB recommendation will be given in terms of number of units.
Regardless of what you’re planning in, you will be able to perform calculations using the margin and average cost or selling price to convert a recommendation from one format to another.
Your OTB plan can be broken down into three kinds of period.
Selecting Month means each column on the report is an individual month, e.g. January, February, March.
Selecting Retail Week (4-5-4) means the period is broken down further. Each month is broken down into weeks, with the first month broken down into four weeks, the second one broken down into five, and the third broken down into four, which is then repeated.
Selecting Retail Week (4-4-5) means the first and second months are broken down into four weeks, then the third month is broken down into five weeks, which is then repeated.
Configuring the OTB plan
When configuring your OTB plan, you should consider how to enter your revenue and stock goals. There are two options:
You can choose the method you want to use at the top of the OTB plan.
Top-down planning allows you to enter your goals at a total level. Inventory Planner then attempts to set the same goals for every category, brand or vendor. (Note that revenue for each category, brand, vendor/supplier or IP tag will be based on the last two months’ sales distribution.)
Bottom-up planning allows you to enter your goals for each category, brand, vendor or IP tag individually. Inventory Planner will then calculate the total goal based on the individual figures you have entered.
Once you have decided the method of planning to use, you can set your goals. There are two kinds of goals to enter:
Planned revenue, cost or sales in units
Forward stock cover
Setting planned revenue, cost or units
When setting your goals, adjust the date range for your report on the top right-hand side of the report, then begin inputting your planned goals month by month (or week by week).
Planned revenue is the target revenue you would like to achieve in a period.
When setting the planned revenue, adjust the date range for your report on the top right-hand side of the report, then begin inputting your planned revenue goals month by month.
You can use the “Action” button at the bottom of the page to configure planned revenue goals based on either the prior year’s sales (“Seed from Prior Year”) or your current forecast (“Seed from Sales Forecasting”). Learn more about how Forecasting and Replenishment is calculated here.
Your planned cost is the maximum amount you would like to spend in a period.
You can use the “Action” button at the bottom of the page to configure your planned cost based on the prior year’s cost.
Your planned units are the target sales you would like to achieve in terms of units in a period. Like planned retail, you can use the “Action” button to configure your sales in units goals based on the prior year’s sales or your current forecast.
For this example, we will calculate planned revenue goals automatically based on a +10% adjustment compared to last year’s actual revenue.
On the OTB report, click Action > Seed from Prior Year to open the modal window. Enter “10” into the percentage adjustment field, then click “Apply”.
This will fill in the relevant planned revenue fields.
Setting forward stock cover
Once your revenue goals have been entered, you can move on to your stock goals.
For each month, enter the Forward Cover for the next month, where forward cover is defined as the number of months you would like to cover as of the beginning of that month.
Inventory Planner will then use the forward cover entered to calculate your Open-to-Buy at Retail for the previous month. Open-to-Buy at Retail is the additional stock that should be received during a month to ensure that planned stock goals for the following month are achieved by the end of the current month.
For example, if the forward cover in May is set as “3”, Inventory Planner will generate the plan for April to ensure that enough stock is received by May 1st to cover planned revenue between May and July.
(Note that the following screenshot is of the report before April's Closing Stock is recalculated based on OTB recommendations.)
While your plan must be based in either retail, cost or units, you can convert your result into any of the other two kinds. The conversion will be calculated using either your margin, average selling price or average cost price.
The table below explains how the conversion works for each:
Average selling price
Average cost price
Average selling price
Average cost price
For example, if you start with a Retail plan:
Input the Margin to calculate Open-to-Buy at Cost.
Input Average Selling Price to calculate Open-to-Buy at Units.
There are a few additional things to keep in mind when setting up your plan.
Spot Cover: Also known as “Flat Cover”, spot cover is calculated automatically as Opening Stock divided by Planned Revenue within the current month. Spot cover will be calculated automatically (grey arrow) once forward cover is entered.
Stock Orders: Existing stock orders and PO receipts are captured in OTB automatically and will be reflected at Retail value (black arrow). Note that planning must happen in retail dollars for an apples-to-apples comparison. Cost is only converted at the end by inputting a margin, as explained above. Learn more about how purchase orders affect OTB here.
Markdown: The markdown represents the difference in revenue that is expected between selling goods at their regular price vs. their actual price. To add markdowns in the OTB table you can select the gear icon in the top right of the screen. Note that they must be entered in Retail dollars (red arrow).
Markdown = (Gross regular revenue - Gross revenue) * Quantity
Additional filtering and customization
The OTB report is highly configurable. Some additional useful customization is highlighted below:
Compare metrics from previous years
Select rows using the gear icon in the top right to compare metrics against Last Year (LY) or Two Years Prior (LLY). Select “Reset” any time to restore the default rows.
If you are grouping your OTB plan by category, you can remove any unnecessary categories from the OTB plan by selecting Actions > Category Organizer.