NETSTOCK | Overview of the menus | Enquiry / Inquiry

Stock enquiry / inquiry

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The stock enquiry is the lowest level of information in the App, at product/location level. It is also the most important, because all inventory calculations are performed here.

Use Enquiry to:

  • Validate that the inventory inputs are correct, things such as lead times, average cost, stock on hand, preferred supplier, sales history, outstanding purchase orders

  • Review and add market knowledge to forecasts by making manual forecast adjustments, if required

  • View the dynamic inventory levels for the product in this location

  • See both ideal and constrained order recommendations

  • Explore a projection into the future of what is likely to happen to your stock holding on this product

  • Investigate stock-outs, potential stock-outs, surplus orders and excess and decide on the best course of action to rectify

  • Examine the risk to availability for this product in this location; including the supplier’s ability to deliver in full and on time, as well as our ability to predict the forecast demand

  • Record comments against the product so that these are visible to everyone with access to the App, rather than write a sticky note that only you can see

  • View the dependent demand from sub-locations (if this location is a central warehouse that supplies other sub-locations) and any bill of materials offtake (if this product is a raw material in the manufacture of one or more finished goods)

 

The title bar options

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  • You can search for a different product(s) directly from the title bar by clicking the Search button (top left)

  • You can see the stock status of the current product in other locations by clicking the warehouse location (top right)

 

Searching for products:

Once you click the Search button, you can search by:

 
  • Product code

  • Product description

  • Groups; these are dimensions in your data that have been configured in the App

  • And you can specify the location to search in

 

Viewing available stock in other locations:

Clicking the Location name displays the stock position and status in each location.

 

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From the stock status in other locations, decisions can be made to transfer stock from nearby locations in lieu of buying from the supplier.

For example: this might be possible should one location be a potential stock-out (or stock-out) while a nearby location is in excess.

The information displayed includes, for each location:

  • Available stock; stock on hand subtract allocated stock and back orders

  • On order; the units of this product that are currently on order

  • Status; new, stock-out, potential stock-out, surplus orders, excess or OK

  • Status Qty and Value; the units and value of the stock in that status

  • The sales and forecast demand mini chart

 

The enquiry / inquiry

The Enquiry contains a mixture of:

  • Data from your ERP; such as:

    • average cost, lead time, preferred supplier, stock on hand, allocated stock, dimensions in your data

    • outstanding purchase orders, customer orders and transfers for this item

    • any bills of materials containing this item as a finished good, sub-assembly or raw material

  • Inventory policy settings; such as the target fill rate and replenishment cycle set via the matrix, the risk limits and defaults,

  • Calculated data; such as the forecast, supplier performance and measured LT data

  • Simulation data; a projection of the future stock position, orders and receipts on this item

  • Input data; the ability to amend the forecast or add comments on the item

The key outputs are ideal order recommendations and the status of the item. The screen is structured into panels and tabs.

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The panels show the following information:

  • Details; displays primarily data from your ERP, including key inventory information such as the preferred supplier, average cost and stock on hand.

  • Demand; displays the sales history, sales in the current period, the future forecast, along with sales and forecast averages, and the age of the item.

  • Safety Stock; displays the parameters, policy settings and inputs into the safety stock calculation.

  • Policy; the top half of the panel displays the ideal inventory levels in days and units. The bottom half of the panel compares these ideal levels with your stock on hand + on order to determine whether:

    • the item should be ordered

    • the status of the item

  • Fill Performance; displays the last 30 days of in stock and out of stock information, along with the target service level and actual service level achieved.

The tabs show the following information:

  • Forecast; sales to date and future demand forecast

  • Forecast shots; an historical view of how well we have been forecasting compared with historical sales

  • Purchase Orders; outstanding purchase orders

  • Supplier Performance; delivery measurement against stated lead time

  • Measured LT; the measured LT used in the absence of any other lead time information

  • Customer Orders; outstanding customer orders

  • BOM: the bill of materials structures that this product is either a raw material, semi finished good, or finished good in

  • CW; any independent demand from sub-locations that this location needs to factor into its order recommendations

  • Projection; a projection of the future stock position, orders and receipts on this item

  • Comments; all comments captured against this item

 

Details panel

The Details panel shows descriptive information about the item

Details from the ERP include:

  • Costing information such as average cost and selling price

  • Current physical stock on hand, in units and valued at cost

  • The preferred supplier

  • Group information, specific to your ERP such as category, sub-category, brand

Details computed by NETSTOCK Basics:

  • The model level; the average optimal stock holding for this item

  • Classification; by both value (A) and velocity (H), or non-stocked/obsolete

 

Demand panel

The demand panel shows details of historical sales and future forecasts

It contains:

  • a mini-chart displaying the item’s sales history and future forecast

  • the monthly sales and forecast averages (over a 12 month period)

  • the period to date sales

  • the age of the item (or the number of months of sales history that we have in NETSTOCK)

  • the forecast algorithm selected by the forecast engine for this month based on a “best-fit” calculation

Note: The red snowflake indicates that there are forecasts that have been manually entered and “frozen”. This means that these forecasts will not be overwritten by the forecast engine the next time a forecast is generated.

 

Note: the current month is highlighted in red

Hovering over the mini-chart displays a table showing the actual numbers.

This image shows the mini-chart and table when all demand streams are present:

  • Sales history; the last 12 months of sales history

  • Sales forecast; the next 12 months forecast sales

  • BOM forecast; the next 12 months predicted BOM offtake

  • Distribution forecast; the next 12 months dependent demand from sub-locations

  • Total forecast; the sum of the sales forecast, BOM forecast and distribution forecast

 

Hovering over the Avg FC label or value, a popup will display the forecast risk and offset days.

 

Hovering over period to date (PTD) sales displays sales as a percentage of the month’s forecast, then compares that to how far through the period we are.

  • If the bars are close: sales are tracking forecast

  • If the sales/forecast bar is bigger than the period bar: we are selling quicker than we forecast and should potentially increase the forecast

  • If the period bar is bigger than the sales/forecast bar: we are selling slower than the forecast and should potentially decrease the forecast

In this example, the sales are tracking the forecast quite closely as the two bars are aligned.

 

Safety stock panel

The safety stock panel shows the key inputs to the computation of the safety stock days for the item.

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The safety stock panel contains:

  • Target fill; the level of product availability that we are targeting for this product.

  • Effective RC; the maximum of either the replenishment cycle (RC) or the minimum order quantity (MOQ). For example: if you had an RC = 45 days and the MOQ forced you to buy 65 days worth, then the effective RC would be 65 days.

  • Lead time; the lead time from the supplier including placing the order, the supplier shipping, receipt into the warehouse, to the product being available for sale.

  • Supply risk; a measure of how well the supplier delivers to the agreed lead time. Late deliveries and/or short quantities lead to higher risk.

  • Forecast risk; a measure of how well we can forecast the demand for this product. Under-forecasting (forecasting lower than actual sales) leads to a higher risk.

  • = Safety stock; the number of days of safety stock that this product requires in this location to achieve the target fill rate considering the inputs, constraints and policy.

For both Supply risk and Forecast risk there are two components:

  • Risk %: an indication of the variability; the higher the variability the bigger the risk %, the more consistent the lower the risk %

  • Offset days; an indication of the bias of the measurement versus either the stated lead time (supply risk) or the actual sales history (forecast risk), where:

    • A bias towards late deliveries/short quantities or under-forecasting results in a positive offset days, which adds days to safety stock

    • A bias towards early deliveries or over-forecasting results in a negative offset days, which subtracts days from safety stock

 

Policy panel

The top part of the Policy panel shows the calculation of the ideal inventory levels; the middle part compares those ideal levels with your current inventory position to determine what to order, when to order and how much to order; and the bottom part shows the Status of the item.

Ideal inventory levels:

  • Key policy information is determined in days and is converted to units using the forecast

    • As the forecast converts the levels into units, the levels will always take seasonality / trends into account

  • The ideal levels are dynamic and are converted to units using the forecast:

    • Lead time; from order placement to receipt of stock

    • Safety stock; to factor in late or under delivery and forecast error/bias

    • Reorder Point; a trigger point to determine when to order. The formula is lead time + safety stock.

    • Replenishment cycle; the preferred cycle of replenishment, which will determine how often you reorder

    • Order up to; denotes the “how much” to order and is formulated by adding the replenishment cycle to the reorder point

    • Comparison of ideal levels to current inventory position:

  • Compute Available stock = stock on hand – backorders (overdue customer orders) – any allocated stock

  • Compute Net stock = Available stock + On order

  • If Net stock < Reorder point, the item will be recommended for order

  • The order quantity = Order up to – Net stock

  • The order quantity factors in supplier constraints such as MOQ or order multiple

The status is determined by comparing the Net stock in units with the Reorder point and Order up to levels. A description of the status values can be found on the dashboard page.

 

Fill performance panel

The Fill Performance panel shows, for the last 30 daily imports (from your host ERP system), whether you were in or out of stock. Each vertical bar represents a date of import and not how many imports were done.

The height of the bar indicates the level of stock on hand.

  • The vertical blue bars indicate that the item was in stock on the day and the level of stock that was available

  • The red bars indicate that the item was out of stock on the day

  • The horizontal bar shows a comparison of out-of-stock days to in-stock days

  • Actual availability is calculated by dividing the number of in-stock days by 30

  • The target availability set for this item is also shown

 
 

Stock enquiry tabs

Forecast tab

The Forecast tab shows an item’s sales history and the sales forecast for the next 12 months, in tabular and graphical form. The forecast is a critical input to calculating the ideal inventory levels, and in determining what to order, when to order and how much to order.

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The table and graphic shows:

  • As much sales history as is in the App (or has been configured to display)

  • The current month on the bottom left, with the month column heading highlighted in red

  • The forecast for the next 12 months (in the bottom row)

  • Row totals and mini-charts, enabling a quick assessment of year-on-year growth/decline and seasonality

  • High (green) and low (red) markers identify the highest and lowest months in each row (12 month period)

  • A red snowflake means that the final forecast in that cell has been manually amended

 

Hovering over the current period displays period to date (PTD) sales as a percentage of the month’s forecast, then compares that to how far through the period we are.

  • If the blue bars are close: sales are tracking forecast

  • If the sales/forecast bar is bigger than the period bar: we are selling quicker than we forecast and should potentially increase the forecast

  • If the period bar is bigger than the sales/forecast bar: we are selling slower than the forecast and should potentially decrease the forecast

 

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When reviewing the forecast for an item, historical sales are an important input. However, sometimes those historical sales figures are low because you ran out of stock - if you had more stock, you could potentially have made more sales.

The small bars under the historical sales figures show any stock-outs in that month. The bars fill up red, to indicate the number of days in that month the item has been out of stock. Longer red bars mean that the item was out of stock more often that month.

Hovering over the line below the sales quantity, displays the number of days that this item was stocked out in the month.

 

Amending the forecast

Initial forecasts for every item are computer-generated. However, in some circumstances the user will know something about an item that will add value to the forecast.

For example: you may just have won a new customer, or lost a customer. Or you might have a big promotion coming up.

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Click the amend forecast button to make any adjustments to the forecast based on information or events that the App would have no knowledge of.

 

Forecast shots tab

The Forecast shots tab displays the history of the sales forecasts, with each month end rolling a new forecast into history. Forecast history is just as important as future forecasts in that it tells us how well the forecasts are tracking the sales.

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The forecast shots graphic contains:

  • Rows and columns that represent months of the year, including the current month (far right column) and the 12 months prior

  • Each row represents the 12 month sales forecast for at that time

  • Each column represents up to 12 month’s forecast for a month, that is the number of “shots” at that month’s forecast

  • The Forecast row is the average forecast for the forecasts above it in the same column, over the cover forward period (see below)

  • The Sales row is the actual sales that took place in each month

  • The Variance is the difference between the Forecast row and the Sales row, in both units and percentage

    • Cells with red shading represent months where we sold more than we forecast (under forecasting) for the month

  • The Cover forward period is the number of months represented by SS days + LT days + RC days, highlighted in light blue above it in the same column

    • It is relevant to determine the variance using the average of the forecasts in the cover forward period as these forecasts would be used for replenishment

 

Purchase orders tab

The Purchase orders tab displays all open and outstanding purchase orders, and the data is refreshed with every data import.

Any purchase order where the Expected Arrival Date (EAD) date is older than or before the last import date, is regarded as late and the EAD will be shown in red.

If the EAD date is equal to or after the last import date, the EAD will display in green.

The total number of units outstanding on purchase orders is shown in the red dot on the tab heading, indicating that there are open purchase orders to view.

 

Supplier performance tab

Every delivery from your suppliers is monitored from a time and quantity perspective, to determine the reliability of the supply of this item to this location. The average LT calculation takes into account the delivery quantity and the bias towards late deliveries i.e. the risk to your fill rate or product availability.

Lead-time performance:

  • Tracks how the actual delivery lead-times compare with the stated lead-time

  • Bars to the left of the center are early deliveries

  • Bars to the right of the center are late deliveries

Supply (quantity) performance:

  • Tracks how the actual quantities delivered compare with the order quantity

  • Bars to the left of the center are short deliveries

  • Bars to the right of the center are deliveries in excess of what was ordered

Note: to view details of every delivery, click on the Table option. To extract the delivery information to a file, simply click the CSV download button.

 

Measured lead time tab

The measured LT is purely an average of all deliveries for an item that meets the criteria for inclusion.

The graphic shows a separate dot for each historical delivery, where green dots are included in the calculation and grey dots are excluded.

Hovering over a grey dot will display the reason for its exclusion:

  • The delivery is not for the primary supplier

  • The delivery is part of a blanket order

  • The delivery lead time falls outside 3 STD deviations (highlighted by the grey shading behind the chart)

 

The calculated measured LT and the Stated LT for this item (along with the source of the Stated LT) is shown.

 

Tabular data can be viewed by clicking the Table button.

If the source for lead times in the App is set to Measured by historical deliveries, then the measured LT is used as the stated LT for this item. The stated LT is used for planning and replenishment calculations.

It is important to note that 3 or more usable deliveries for this item in this location from the primary supplier, are required in order to use the measured LT for the stated (planning) LT. If there are not enough usable deliveries, the calculation is extended to use the deliveries for this supplier to THIS location, and then to this supplier to ALL locations. Finally, if this does not produce the requisite 3 usable deliveries, the measured LT is calculated as the average of all historical deliveries.

 

Customer orders tab

The Customer orders tab displays all open and outstanding customer orders, and the data is refreshed with every data import.

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Any customer order where the requested date is older than or before the last import date, is regarded as late or overdue.

The total number of units outstanding on customer orders is shown in the red dot on the tab heading, indicating that there are open customer orders.

 

Bill of materials tab

The Bill of materials (BOM) tab displays the BOM structure for any BOM where this item is either a raw material, semi finished good or finished good.

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The BOM structure shows:

  • Pure finished goods (the top row of the diagram)

  • Semi-finished goods in any middle rows

  • Pure raw materials (the bottom row of the diagram)

  • The ratio of a raw material (or semi-finished good) that goes into making 1 unit of the finished good (or semi-finished good), by hovering on the line between any two products

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Clicking on another product:

  • Shows the Enquiry for that product

  • Highlights the product in the BOM structure

  • Displays the direct descendants and direct ascendants of that product

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Click on the Table button to see a summary of the demand for this raw material/semi-finished from all finished goods/semi-finished goods above it in the BOM structure.

The summary contains:

  • The product(s) with the demand on this item

  • The quantity required, summarised by month

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Clicking on a demand quantity in a particular month will display the actual requirements, including:

  • The required date

  • The demand from the finished good

  • The ratio between this product and the finished good

  • The required quantity of this product

Note: Clicking on the finished good product link (FG200), will open the enquiry for FG200.

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Hovering over a product in the BOM structure displays some key information regarding the product, including:

  • The product’s description

  • Average cost and sell price

  • Outstanding orders, both purchase orders and customer orders

  • The average forecast and net stock position

  • The status of the product

 

There are different options to select to enable you to traverse the BOM structure(s):

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Direct

Shows the item you are viewing in the enquiry, as well as one level of direct ascendants and one level of direct descendants. This is the simplest view of the BOM.

i.e. ONLY 1 level up and 1 level down

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Line

A similar view to Direct except the graphic extends up to all direct ascendant pure finished goods and down to all direct descendant pure raw materials.

i.e. right up to the top and right down to the bottom

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Full

A similar view to Line except the full BOM for each pure finished good is shown. This is the most complex view of the BOM.

 

Central warehouse tab

Any order recommendations at sub-locations that the central warehouse supplies, roll up as dependent demand on the central warehouse.

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The table displays:

  • All locations supplied by the central warehouse (the first column)

  • The order recommendations for the product in each sub-location, summarised by month

  • The total requirement from sub-locations to be factored in to replenishment planning at the central warehouse / distribution centre

 

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Clicking on an order quantity in the table, displays details of the actual expected arrival dates and quantities.

In this example: the 6 units required by Branch Sa20 is actually two requirements for 3 units within the month.

Clicking on the Branch Sa20 link will open up the enquiry for this product in Branch Sa20.

 

Projection tab

The Projection tab displays a projection of the future stock position, orders and receipts on this product.

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  • The projection starts at today (left side of the chart) and projects forward

  • The green dotted line is where the lead time extends to - this would be the earliest we could receipt an order if it were placed today

  • The current stock on hand is plotted on the blue line, and diminishes over time in line with the forecast sales

  • Purple vertical lines are receipts of actual purchases orders already in the pipeline, positioned where they are due to arrive - they increase the stock on hand by the quantity ordered

  • Red vertical lines are receipts of recommended orders over-and-above what we may already have on order

  • The grey area is the space between minimum and maximum levels of stock for this product, ideally the stock on hand of this product should oscillate between the minimum and maximum levels

 

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By clicking the labels in the legend, you can turn ON/OFF that element.

For example: by clicking the word Orders, the graphic now displays when the recommended orders need to be placed. Each order (yellow vertical lines) marries up with the arrival of the order (red vertical lines).

 

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The Table button displays the data that is used to generate the above graphic.

  • Each row represents 1 day, and contains the date

  • The demand streams are shown, including forecast (FC), bill of materials (BOM), central warehouse (CW) and customer orders (CO)

  • The dynamic inventory levels indicate how the levels change over time, depending on the demand

  • The projection starts with the opening available stock (stock on hand less allocations less overdue customer orders) on day 1 (Open)

  • The back order columns contain any demand we retain during periods of stock-out

  • Any firm receipts (purchase orders or transfers) in the pipeline are placed where the stock is expected to be received, and overdue purchase orders are shown as firm receipts on day 1

  • Receipt and Order columns contain order recommendations over and above what is currently on order, and when those orders are due to be receipted

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As you scroll down through the table data, each day is highlighted if it falls within the lead time (LT), safety stock (SS) or replenishment cycle (RC).

  • All days within the lead time are highlighted in green, and the total demand over LT is presented

  • After the lead time days, the safety stock days are highlighted in brown and demand over SS is totalled

  • After the safety stock days, the replenishment cycle days are highlighted in purple, and demand over RC is totalled

  • The combined period over the lead time, safety stock and replenishment cycle represents the cover forward period

Note: the image has been abbreviated to show LT, SS and RC days in one graphic.

 

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The Orders button displays the list of recommended orders, showing:

  • The date that the order should be placed

  • The quantity to be ordered

  • The expected arrival date based on the order date + the lead time

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The information contained in the projection (table and orders) can be downloaded to a csv file by clicking on the CSV Download button.

 

Comments tab

The Comments tab is where notes can be entered against an item, alerting other users to important information regarding this product.

To add a new comment:

  • Type the comment text in the space provided (top right)

  • Pick an appropriate emoticon

  • Check whether you want the comment added against this item in all locations, or leave unchecked for the comment to only apply in the current location

  • Click the Add comment button

Note: the comments tab on the enquiry shows all comments that have been made against this item over time. Comments may only be deleted by the user that added the comment.

 

A speech bubble next to the product code in any listings within the App, indicates that at least one comment exists for this product.

Clicking on the speech bubble will display the last three comments.