Ensuring stock is available to meet customer demand is key to maximising sales and retaining loyal customers. Although you will often hear people say that you can only sell it once, losing out on a sale due to stock shortfalls is always frustrating. What’s more this can result in existing customers finding alternative suppliers, opportunities to gain new customers being missed or even contract obligations being broken. With so much potentially at stake it’s not surprising many companies err on the side of caution and end up over stocking which brings a whole new set of problems and potential financial pitfalls.
Exception stock level control as standard
OrderWise provides outstanding stock management functionality as standard to ensure stock levels are optimised, allowing a variety of forecasting methods to be set against individual stock items to ensure minimum and maximum stock levels are accurately maintained. These powerful stock control tools ensure under stocking and over stocking is minimised and can account for seasonal demand variations, historic usage, expected growth or decline and much more.
However there are businesses needing to account for future stock requirements that have no correlation to previous demand or historic usage. Many businesses will have contracts with customers to supply products over a fixed period of time or gain new accounts that will lead to increased demand on a range of stock items, in these scenarios there is no historic demand to base requirements on. Also a company may not want contract supply stock usage to be accounted for once the contract has ended.
It is in these situations that a company needs to manage the expected future demand, which products will be needed in what quantities, where and when to ensure stock is available at the right time.
Complex forecasting with simple control
In the 2013 v8.10 release a brand new licenced feature has been introduced to provide in depth stock forecasting control called Forward Demand Forecasting. This new feature allows companies to specify forecasted demand against an individual stock item and an individual customer.
When using this new feature a tab is available in both the customer and variant record called Forecasting. The forecasting tab within the variant record allows a user to add a company and then specify the forecasted quantity for each period based on a chosen date along with the relevant stock location. This can be repeated for each company that a user wishes to forecast demand for against the variant. Alternatively the Forecasting tab within the Customer record can be used in a similar way but instead it is the variants that are chosen to forecast demand against the customer. Whichever way round forecasted demand is added it will automatically show in the corresponding Variant or Customer Forecasting tab. The usage period configured within System Settings>Stock>Variants in OrderWise will dictate whether forecasted demand is displayed as daily, weekly, 4 weekly or monthly within the grid in the Forecasting tabs.
Buy the right stock at the right time
When the To Purchase report is run, if forecasted demand falls within the usage period/s for the date range chosen (accounting for any additional factors such as supplier lead times, buffer times etc) it will be picked up by the report and included in the list of stock to be purchased. A description that identifies the quantity is required for forward forecasted demand along with the usage period it relates to will be shown.
Automatically account for forecasted sales
When a sales order is raised containing a variant that has been included in forecasted demand for the customer, OrderWise will look at the promised date against the sales order and if there is a forecasted demand quantity for the same usage period it will automatically account for the quantity ordered when the To Purchase report is run, reducing the forward forecasted demand quantity accordingly. From within the Customer or Variant Forecasting tab users are able to see accumulated sales order quantities per usage period for Customer and Variant and also display any outstanding balance between the forecasted demand quantity and the total sales order quantity for each usage period.
An additional setting against the Customer Forecasting tab can be active to ensure that this additional forecasted demand is not counted as usage to eliminate conflicts with standard OrderWise forecasting.
This incredibly powerful new module provides a level of stock forecasting control and flexibility to meet even the most complex of requirements. This will not only ensure you have the right stock at the right time in the right quantities to meet your customers requirements but will provide valuable information to analyse previous forecasting accuracy and further optimise future forecasting tasks.
For more information on Forward Demand Forecasting or the full range of stock control functionality available within OrderWise contact us today on 01522 704083