Sage Inventory Advisor

Stock inquiry

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

Other views in the App, such as the dashboard, summarise data from all items in a location.

 

You can navigate to the Inquiry page by:

  • Clicking on the Inquiry menu (green underline), which will display the stock lookup
 

Stock lookup

Click the Search button to search for stock items by either product code or description.

To filter the list of results:

  • Type in partial details (code or description)
  • Select the required Group
  • Select the required Location

Note: as for all listings in Sage Inventory Advisor Basics, clicking on the column heading (Product code or Description) of the results, will sort the listing in ascending/descending order.

 
Where the results exceed one page, additional pages may be chosen by clicking Next or clicking the number of the page. Alternatively, refine your search criteria to reduce the number of items in the list.
 
 

The inquiry

The stock inquiry is the lowest level of information in the App, at item/location level.

At a high level, the stock inquiry may be broken up as:

  • The header; the item’s product code, description and location
  • The Details panel; descriptive information
  • The Demand panel; sales and forecast mini-chart, averages, age and period to date sales
  • The Policy panel; optimal levels and re-ordering
  • The Fill Performance panel; actual fill rate for the last 30 days
  • The tabs containing additional related information, namely:
    • Forecast; sales and forecasts
    • Purchase Orders; outstanding purchase orders
    • Supplier Performance; delivery measurement against stated lead time
    • Customer Orders; outstanding customer orders
    • 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 Sage Inventory Advisor 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 forecast.

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 Sage Inventory Advisor Basics)
  • the forecast algorithm selected

Note: The red snowflake indicates that there are forecasts that have been manually overridden.

 

Hovering over the mini-chart displays a table showing the actual numbers, with a row for historical sales (S) and a row for future forecasts (F).

 

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
 

Fill Performance panel

The Fill Performance panel shows, for the last 30 daily imports, whether you were in or out of stock. Each vertical bar represents a date of import and not how many imports were done. This means that the system can run multiple times on the same date and the snapshot view of the stock for that day will represent the data as at the last import on that day.

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

  • The blue bars indicate that the item was in stock on the day
  • 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 availability we are targeting is also shown
 

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 levels:

  • Key policy information is in days and is converted to units using the forecast
  • This caters well for seasonal items, where 30 days going into the season results in larger units than 30 days going out of the season
  • 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; lead time + safety stock
    • Replenishment cycle; the order cycle, how often you reorder
    • Order up to; reorder point + replenishment cycle

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.

 

Stock inquiry tabs

Forecast tab

The Forecast tab shows an item’s sales history (as much has been downloaded into the App) and the 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.

The table and graphic shows:

  • As much sales history as is in the App
  • The forecast for the next 12 months (in the bottom row)
  • The current month on the bottom left, with the month highlighted in green
  • Row totals, enabling a quick assessment of year-on-year growth/decline
  • High (green) and low (red) markers identify the highest and lowest months in each row
 

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
 

Options to amend a 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 promo coming up.

Click the Amend forecast button to manually override the forecast. The page shows:

  • Historical sales (blue box); as many years as are in the App
  • The computer forecast (gold box); so you can always go back to it
  • The manual forecast (red box); where you can put in your forecast overrides
  • The final forecast (green box); which shows the forecast that will be used
 

You can override a single month’s forecast or multiple month’s forecasts manually.

To override months manually:

  • Type the forecast override number into the space provided
  • Click somewhere else in the same cell and the check box will automatically be set to checked

The checked box indicates that that month has been frozen. A frozen month means that the number will not be overwritten by the forecast algorithm. If, however, you agree with the computer forecast number but want to ensure that the number does not change next time the computer generates a forecast, you can just check the box to freeze the period.

To unfreeze the period simply click the box until the check mark disappears.

 

There are some additional features for amending forecasts which become available when multiple months are selected.

To display the additional forecast override features:

  • For Windows: Click in the first month (green box), then ctrl-click in the last month (red box)
  • For Mac: Click in the first month (green box), then cmd-click in the last month (red box)

The additional forecast override features will display below the final forecast (orange box).

 

You can modify the selected months forecasts to reflect winning a new customer, losing a customer or to just set all months to the specified number.

  • If you win a new customer who you believe will bring an extra 50 units of sales per month (on top of the existing computer forecast) in the selected months, click the “+” option, type in 50 and press adjust
  • If you lose a customer and you believe that you will sell 50 units per month less in the selected months, click the “-” option, type in 50 and press adjust
  • To set the forecast to 50 for all months selected, click the “=” option, type in 50 and press adjust
 

If you like the seasonality in the current forecast but think it is either too low or too high, you can use the slider to adjust the forecast for the selected months.

  • Simply drag the slider left or right to increase or decrease the forecast by a percentage
 
 
  • To apply any forecast overrides that you have made, simply click the Apply new forecast button.
  • The new forecasts will now be factored into order recommendations immediately.
 
 
  • You can use the Defrost button to unfreeze (or remove) any manual forecast overrides from the selected months.
 

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.

 

Supplier performance tab

Every delivery from your suppliers is monitored from a time and quantity perspective, to determine how reliable the supply of this item from this supplier to this location is.

Lead-time performance:

  • Tracks how the actual delivery lead-times compare with the current 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.

 

Customer orders tab

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

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.

 

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 inquiry shows all comments that have been made against this item over time. Comments may only be deleted by the user that added the comment.

 
 

Wherever you see a speech bubble in any listings within the App, this indicates that comments exists against this item.

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