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AIM Basic Functions guide

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Creating a Product Forecast in AIM

  1. To open a Product Forecast click the AIM Icon next to the product of interest:
    Screenshot 2023-09-29 at 11.14.02.png

  2. You can find the product you want to forecast in the AIM Dashboard using the Product Search field, or in the Modelling page (if the product has a historic rate of demand)

    Screenshot 2023-09-29 at 11.17.28.png
    The AIM Product Forecast Interface

  3. Review the performance of the product. Check the Product Analysis panel on the left for details on the product, rate of demand, sales performance and existing stock controls. Click the radio button ‘Historic Charts’ to see how the product has performed over time.

  4. Select a date range for your data:
    Screenshot 2023-09-29 at 11.21.24.png
    Setting the history size will affect the average rate of demand per month

    By limiting the history size, you’ll affect the historic rate of demand. For example, if your product has surged in demand recently, then by limiting the history, you will see this surge reflected in a higher rate of demand. Set your forecast size to a logical value. For example, if you plan to set your stock limits to cater to peak season, you may only need to forecast 3-6 months at a time. AIM features a Review timer to help you update forecasts.

  5. Review the carousel charts:
    The Demand Analysis chart will show the actual demand that has occurred in the past, versus a linear trend and seasonally adjusted trend generated from your history. A blue line plots your forecast demand and you can drag each point up and down to quickly set your forecast for future demand.

    Screenshot 2023-09-29 at 11.26.39.png


    The New stock levels with Forecast & SOH chart will show a potential version of the future by taking the current stock on hand quantity, applying the forecast demand, and then simulating replenishments according to the stock limits and replenishment controls on the strategy panel to the right.

    Screenshot 2023-09-29 at 11.27.47.png


    The SOH & Purchases Required chart will plot your SOH into the future in the same way as the previous chart, but will also how where replenishments are generated and when they are receipted. Use this chart to see when you are expected to replenish stock in order to follow the forecast. Consider, do you want to purchase often, incurring more freight charges? Or do you want to replenish less often and invest more into stock on hand?

  6. Review the Table details. Toggling the chart carousel to the Table will show you the values of linear, seasonal and forecast of the past and future months. Compare these to the ‘actual’ values to see how accurate you have been. If the forecast is plotting replenishments to occur, review the ‘Required’ column to indicate your purchase or production forecast needed to supply the stock required to meet the forecast.

    Screenshot 2023-09-29 at 11.36.30.png

     

  7. Finalise your forecast demand. If you wish to use the linear or seasonal forecast, you can use the auto-fill drop down ‘Fill Forecast’ to copy these values. You can then make tweaks to the forecast manually as desired in the Table detail, or in the Demand Analysis chart by moving the blue forecast line.

    Screenshot 2023-09-29 at 11.51.55.png

  8. Set your stock holding strategy:
    1. A Just-In-Time strategy will lock in the stock needed to cover the lead days, you can then add an additional min buffer. Set the max buffer to the number of days of stock you wish to hold in between replenishment. The system will then calculate a min and max quantity of stock to hold.

    2. A Stock Days strategy allows you to simply set the min and max quantity of stock according to the number of days of stock you wish to hold. Note that you can potentially set the min days of stock to be less than the lead time, which will result in the a replenishment being triggered that will not arrive before a stock out in the forecast.

    3. A Manual strategy simply allows you to enter your own min and max quantity of stock.

  9. Set your replenishment controls: If you replenish the product as a low stock alert is generated in the Reorder Report, then set the ‘Purchase at' option to ‘Reorder Point.’ You will then see the replenishments created as the stock on hand reaches the min stock level. If you purchase according to a schedule, such as a weekly order, or according to a supplier contract, then set the ‘Purchase at’ option to 'Set Interval.’ You will then see that a replenishment occurs according to this schedule and the order size will top-up the SOH. Use this option if you plan to order more frequently and hold less stock on hand.

  10. Adjust your lead days. If you know how long it will take to replenish the product, enter this value in the Lead Days field. Alternatively, you can enable the ‘Use Actual’ value which will take the historic delivery time of the product. The lead days value is critical for the Just-In-Time strategy.

  11. Submit your transaction to send the information to your product record!

    Click submit, review the value of SOH changes that will result in your new stock limits.
    Name your transaction with a meaningful name, such as ‘SummerPeak23 FC’
    Set a review timer of when you want to come back and adjust your forecast.

    Screenshot 2023-09-29 at 12.01.23.png

    That’s it! You’ve created a forecast for your products' future demand and set stock holding limits and replenishment outline to suit.

Predict Upcoming Stockout

The Product Forecast charts incorporate open transactions to indicate a products' forecast stock-on-hand. 

If you have products that are on purchase order, made on assembly or consumed in assembly then you will see the stock on hand plotted accordingly.

Example: Create open assembly transactions to plan your production, open the forecast for this product to see how your component stock will cope with the demand. 

If you have open transactions, the date of the transaction will be used to add or subtract stock on hand. Use this to indicate a potential stockout risk and take action to avoid it:

NOTES:

  1. Transactions that do not have an expected completion date, such as warehouse transfers, will be plotted as transferring in 1 days time. 
  2. AIM will refresh transaction and stock on hand data approximately every hour, so the open transactions may not match your real-time account. 

Plan required replenishment of stock

Use the 'Simulate Purchase' option to control whether the Stock On Hand charts in Product Forecast will simulate future replenishments. Use this option to compare how your forecast demand and open transactions will affect your stock on hand, and enable it to see how your stock limits and replenishment method should cope with the demand: 

Above: with Simulate Purchases disabled, you can see when stock is depleted. 

Above: with Simulate Purchases enabled, you can see how the strategy will cope with demand. Use this as a guide to plan production assemblies or replenishments. 

The Product Forecast table displays columns to show the current allocated demand for transactions (Sales Orders, or components in Assemblies) and allocated to supply (Purchase Orders, or Assembled Products on Assemblies). The table also has a 'Required' column indicating the quantity that is being replenished in the forecast. This column will provide a forecast of the required supply you will need to provide if the forecast demand occurs. 

 

 

Navigate between related products in Production

The Product Analysis panel to the left of Product Forecast features a Production section that links from one product to another based on the Bill of Materials structure. After forecasting an assembled product, you can navigate to its components or vice-versa. 

 

 

Modelling Product Stock Limits based on historic demand

The AIM Modelling page allows you to quickly set stock limits on multiple products quickly according to each products historic rate of demand. In order to model a products stock limits:

Use the drop down menu to select a group of products in the AIM Insights Dashboard and click 'Model' or, go to the Modelling page and use the filters to select a group of products:

Screenshot 2023-09-29 at 12.08.32.png

Set your strategy parameters:

Screenshot 2023-09-29 at 12.10.47.png

A Just-In-Time strategy will lock in the stock needed to cover the lead days, you can then add an additional min buffer. Set the max buffer to the number of days of stock you wish to hold in between replenishment. The system will then calculate a min and max quantity of stock to hold.

A Stock Days strategy allows you to simply set the min and max quantity of stock according to the number of days of stock you wish to hold. Note that you can potentially set the min days of stock to be less than the lead time, which will result in the a replenishment being triggered that will not arrive before a stock out in the forecast.

A Manual strategy simply allows you to enter your own min and max quantity of stock.

Adjust your lead days. If you know how long it will take to replenish the product and all the products have the same value (if you are modelling products from the same supplier), enter this value in the Lead Days field and set the drop down to overwrite. Alternatively, you can enable the ‘Use Actual’ value to update all products, or only those that are missing a value. This will take the historic delivery time of the product and apply that value.
NOTE: The lead days value is critical for the Just-In-Time strategy, but is not used for Stock Days or Manual strategies. However, you should keep an accurate lead days value for products, as this will set the default delivery date of purchase orders.

Press Calculate to see the ‘new’ stock limit values applied and scroll down to review the list
Note that products that have an active forecast are excluded from Modelling, as they are controlled by the forecast instead. Click the AIM icon to open the forecast to change the stock limits.

 

Screenshot 2023-09-29 at 12.16.43.png
AIM Modelling. Note the green icon denotes an active forecast

Click the Summary expander to review the stock limit and value changes that will occur with the new stock limits.

Click Submit, give the transaction a meaningful name and set a review time limit. Once complete, this will send the new stock limit values to the product records.

 

 

How to manage stock in Unleashed in conjunction with AIM

AIM is designed to work in tandem with other functions in Unleashed, such as:

  • The Reorder Report. Run this report filtered to stock that is below min and also stock that is below max to see what needs to be replenished.
  • Review your stock position. Once you have calculated new stock limits. This is a great time to see how your stock on hand aligns with your min and max stock limits.
  • Review your stock balance. Look at your stock across multiple warehouses to consider which stock could be transferred to other warehouses that requires more stock.

 

 

How to adjust my stock limits to align with changes in demand

Once you have set a strategy in place you will need to recalculate your stock limits as the rate of demand changes.
For example, if you sell 1 unit per day, and you want to hold 14 days of stock as a minimum, if you are selling 2 units per day a month later, then your minimum stock limit is actually now only 7 days worth of stock.
In order to recalculate your stock limits you will need to:

  1. Open the Review tab of AIM
  2. Search for the transaction or product you are concerned with
  3. Select the ‘Review’ button
  4. If the transaction was created from the Modelling page, then you will see the submission summary, allowing you to set a review time and submit new limits based on the current calculations.
  5. If the transaction was created from the Product Forecast page, then you will see the forecast page load, and you can submit the forecast after reviewing your strategy and new limits.

 

 

How to ensure lead days are accurate

There are a few easy ways to update lead days for products and keep the values accurate.

  1. You can quickly set up lead days by supplier. Filter the modelling page by a supplier and a warehouse that you know the lead time for, then overwrite the lead days with this known value.
  2. You can update the lead days based on past performance by choosing to overwrite the lead days with the ‘Use Actuals’ option:

    Screenshot 2023-09-29 at 14.41.06.png
  3. Check the supplier performance chart to see how often orders from a supplier are considered late. You may consider changing the lead days value of products from suppliers that often deliver outside of the lead days window:

    Screenshot 2023-09-29 at 14.43.36.png

    The AIM Insights Dashboard Supplier Performance chart will outline how many deliveries are beyond the lead days

 

 

How to use historic data to gain insights into a product

Click on the AIM icon against a product to open its Product Forecast. On the left side ‘Product Analysis’ panel the Historic Charts will outline a lot of information regarding the historic performance. Note: you can click and drag to zoom in on the charts:

 

Screenshot 2023-09-29 at 14.45.37.png
Rate of Demand
Screenshot 2023-09-29 at 14.50.02.png
Sales, Purchases and Stock on Hand Quantity
Screenshot 2023-09-29 at 14.50.59.png
Revenue, Profit and Sales Quantity

 

The Product Analysis panel also has general information that will help you understand the product:

Screenshot 2023-09-29 at 14.52.07.png

 

You can also use the Product Forecast carousel charts and table to review actuals:

Screenshot 2023-09-29 at 14.55.04.png

 

 

How  to add missing stock limits and lead days

It is important to add these details to make best use of Unleashed tools, such as the Reorder Report and stock alerts. 

In order to add these details quickly:

  1. Select the set of products you want to update (Product Group, Warehouse and or Supplier)

  2. Selecting Just in Time strategy to use for the set,
    • Add new Lead Days, using the options available 

    • Min Buffer, Max Buffer parameters.

    • Click on Calculate to add Lead Days to the grid and calculate new Min and Max stock levels.

  3. Or Select Stock Days Strategy
    • Add Min days of stock (Reorder point)

    • Add Max days of stock (Safety stock)

    • Add new Lead Days, using the options available

    • Click on Calculate to add Lead Days to the grid and calculate new Min and Max stock levels.

  4. Or Select Manual strategy
    • Add Min stock quantity (Reorder point)
    • Add Max stock quantity (Safety stock)
    • Add New Lead Days using the options available
  5. Manually change values in the grid
  6. Make sure all products you want to update are selected
  7. Submit for processing
  8. View Summary, add a name to the set and Confirm
  9. System processes the change in Unleashed Core.



How to manage a product in AIM that has no demand history or Stock on Hand

  1. Import historic data: If you are new to Unleashed, you can import historic sales data via BI Vision: Sales. The historic sales data will give the modelling data to calculate a rate of demand from.

  2. Don’t use the Modelling page if the product has no historic demand: Products that have no rate of demand are not included in the Modelling page, as the modelling system will calculate the stock limits according to the rate of demand. With no rate of demand the calculation will always result in min/max limits of zero.

  3. Set a future demand forecast: Product Forecasting allows you to set expected future demand and is worthwhile for new products with no history. In order to set the forecast, you will need to access the page from the AIM Insights Dashboard, as it won’t appear in the Modelling page list. Use the search in the AIM Insights Dashboard and click the AIM icon to open the forecast:

    Screenshot 2023-09-29 at 11.11.43.png

    Using the AIM Dashboard Product Search will show products that have no demand, allowing you to create a future forecast


How to 'End-of-Life' a product with AIM

You will need to discontinue products as part of its lifecycle, so it is important that you do not trigger a reorder of stock that is not required. 

In order to update the stock limits of the product:

  1. Search for the specific product in the AIM Insights Dashboard
  2. Click the AIM icon to load the Product Forecast

  3. Set the New Lead Days, New Min and New Max levels to 0

  4. Click on the Submit button to submit these changes to the Product record

  5. Repeat this process for each warehouse, or alternatively, use the Modelling page to set the new limits at once. 
    NOTE: Setting the limits with a forecast will exclude the product from being updated in Modelling. This may be useful to avoid accidentally updating a product that is end-of-life with a stock holding limit when working in bulk on groups of products. 

  6. Sell the remaining stock on hand, complete a supplier return, or complete a stock adjustment to write the stock off.

  7. Once your SOH for the product is 0 you can change the status of the product to Obsolete in the Product page.

  8. AIM will exclude this product in the future as is marked 'obsolete.'

Import Historic Data to AIM.

BI Vision and AIM allows you to import historic sales data. With this feature, you will be able to upload your historical sales data (Invoiced Sales Orders and Credits) from your previous stock management system to AIM. 

We are limiting the date range for uploading historical sales data to not allow transactions older than 2015-01-01. The suggested limit is to only upload 5 years of data and there is a file size limit of 100MB per file to upload.

NOTE: Due to the complexity and other integrations such as integration with accounting software, the historical sales data will only be visible in BI and not in Unleashed core.

The processing time for uploading the historical data could be quick or take a couple of hours depending on the volume of data. You will receive an email informing you of any errors found during validating your imported data or when processing was completed successfully so you don't need to wait for it to be done and may continue using Unleashed as normal.

The failure and success notifications will be visible in Unleashed under the notifications icon, you will also receive emails with more detail. 

There is a limit of 10 attempts per day.

Every upload will replace and overwrite the previous uploaded historical sales data so it should always include all the transactions.

To begin the import process, click the Import button on the AIM Insights Dashboard

 

Sales Order Template field definitions 

Field

Definition

Field Size (Max)

Type

Mandatory field

OrderNumber

Unique sales order number per sales order

20

PK - Alphanumeric 

Yes

OrderDate

The date the order was placed (Oldest date allowed = 2015-01-01)

-

yyyy-mm-dd

Yes

RequiredDate

Date when delivery/shipment was required. (Oldest date allowed = 2015-01-01)

-

yyyy-mm-dd

Yes

CustomerCode

The unique customer code (as created in Unleashed) who placed the order.

500

Alphanumeric

Yes

SalesChannel

Sales channel - Mobile,  B2BPortal, API
 

50

Alphanumeric

Leave blank if not applicable.

SalesPerson

Name and surname of the salesperson who made the sale - Ideally all these salespersons will be added to Unleashed - https://unleashedsoftware.com/v2/SalesPerson/Update

256

Alphanumeric

Leave blank if not applicable.

SalesOrderGroup

This should match a Sales Order Group as setup in Unleashed -

https://unleashedsoftware.com/v2/SalesOrderGroup/Update

50

Alphanumeric

Leave blank if not applicable.

WarehouseCode

This is the warehouse linked to the Sales Orders. The code entered should match a Warehouse code as setup in Unleashed - https://unleashedsoftware.com/v2/Warehouse/List 

15

Alphanumeric

Yes

DeliveryCity

The City field for delivering the products sold.

500

Alphanumeric

Leave blank if not applicable.

DeliveryRegion

The State/Region field for delivering the products sold. 

500

Alphanumeric

Leave blank if not applicable.

DeliveryCountry

The Country field for delivering the products sold. 

500

Alphanumeric

Leave blank if not applicable.

CurrencyCode

The default currency code linked to the Customer record. It must be a valid currency code used in your Unleashed account, set up under Settings. https://unleashedsoftware.com/v2/Currency/Update 

3

Alphanumeric

Yes

ExchangeRate

The exchange rate at the time of Sale. Only needed to complete if the sale to the customer was done in a foreign currency. This exchange rate will be used to apply to the values entered in LineTotal. 

18

Numeric *

Yes - Enter “1” if it is the same as the base currency

ChargeTotal

Total charges/costs linked to the Sales Order, repeat the total on all line items.

(The format of this field should be plain numeric with no thousand separators or currencies eg. $1,000.00 should be entered as 1000.00.) 

18

Numeric *

Leave blank if there were no additional charges.

LineNumber

Each product on the Sales Order represents a sales order line, starting from number 1 for the first product, 2 for the second, etc.

18

Numeric

Yes

ProductCode

The product code must match the product code as captured in Unleashed. https://unleashedsoftware.com/v2/Product/List#Obsolete=All,Sellable=All 

100

Alphanumeric

Yes

OrderQuantity

The number of units sold 

18

Numeric

Yes

UnitPrice

The sale price, in your local currency, per Unit sold at the time of sale. Excluding tax. 

(The format of this field should be plain numeric with no thousand separators or currencies eg. $1,000.00 should be entered as 1000.00.)

18

Numeric *

Yes

DiscountRate

Any discount percentage applied to the unit price. 10% discount should be entered as 0.1 and 100% discount = 1

18

Numeric *

Yes - Enter 0, if not applicable.

LineTotal

Total sale, in your local currency, including any discounts applied. Excluding tax.

(The format of this field should be plain numeric with no thousand separators or currencies eg. $1,000,000.00 should be entered as 1000000.00.)

18

Numeric *

No

LineCost

Average landed cost price at the time of sale.

(The format of this field should be plain numeric with no thousand separators or currencies eg. $1,000.00 should be entered as 1000.00.)

18

Numeric *

Yes

 

* NOTE: Numeric fields should not have more than 4 decimal values.

 

Sales Invoice Template field definitions 

Field

Definition

Size

Type

Mandatory field

InvoiceNumber

Unique invoice number linked to the Sales Order number

21

PK - Alphanumeric

Yes

InvoiceDate

The date the order was invoiced. (Oldest date = 2015-01-01)

-

yyyy-MM-dd

Yes

CompleteDate

The date the invoice was completed.(Oldest date = 2015-01-01)

-

yyyy-MM-dd

Yes

OrderNumber

The unique sales order number this invoice is linked to.

20

FK - Alphanumeric

Yes

ExchangeRate

The exchange rate at the time of sale. Only needed to be complete if the sale to the customer was done in a foreign currency. 

(eg. 0.984)

18

Numeric

Enter “1” if it is the same as the base currency

ChargeTotal

Any additional charges/costs linked to this Sales Invoice, repeat the amount on all line items.

(The format of this field should be plain numeric with no thousand separators or currencies eg. $1,000.00 should be entered as 1000.00.)

18

Numeric *

Leave blank if there were no additional charges.

LineNumber

Each product on the Sales Invoice represents a sales order line, starting from number 1 for the first product, 2 for the second etc. This should match the line order number per product listed on the completed sales orders template.

18

Numeric

Yes

ProductCode

The product code must match the product code as captured in Unleashed. https://unleashedsoftware.com/v2/Product/List#Obsolete=All,Sellable=All 

100

Alphanumeric

Yes

InvoiceQuantity

The number of units invoiced.

18

Numeric

Yes

 

* NOTE: Numeric fields should not have more than 4 decimal values.

 

Credit Note Template field definitions 

(Only applicable to complete if you processed credit for any of the Sales Orders captured or for free credits (not linked to Sales Orders).

Field

Definition

Size

Type

Mandatory field

CreditNoteNumber

Unique credit note number.

20

PK - Alphanumeric

Yes

CreditDate

Date the credit note was processed. (Oldest date = 2015-01-01)

-

yyyy-MM-dd

Yes

CreditType

Option of 2 types, credit linked to a sales order should be type = “Credit”. If the credit is not linked to a Sales Order it should be type = “FreeCredit”

20

Alphanumeric

Yes

OrderNumber

Unique Sales Order number linked to this credit.

20

FK - Alphanumeric

Yes - only if credittype = “credit”

InvoiceNumber

Unique Sales Invoice number linked to this credit.

21

FK - Alphanumeric

Yes - only if credittype = “credit”

CustomerCode

The unique customer code (as created in Unleashed) who placed the order and who  received the credit.

500

Alphanumeric

Yes

CurrencyCode

The default currency code linked to the Sales Order. It must be a valid currency code used in your Unleashed account, setup under: Settings - System - Currency Rates.

3

Alphanumeric

Yes

ExchangeRate

The exchange rate at the time of sale. Only needed to complete if the sale to the customer was done in a foreign currency. 

18

Numeric *

Enter “1” if it is the same as the base currency.

ChargeTotal

Total charges linked to the Credit note, repeat the total on all line items if there is more than one credit line.

(The format of this field should be plain numeric with no thousand separators or currencies eg. $1,000.00 should be entered as 1000.00.)

18

Numeric *

Leave blank if there were no additional charges.

LineNumber

Each product on the Credit Note represents a line number, starting from number 1 for the first product, 2 for the second, etc.

18

Numeric

Yes

ProductCode

The product code must match the product code as captured on the Sales Invoice / Sales Order. 

100

Alphanumeric

Yes

CreditQuantity

The number of units credited

18

Numeric *

Yes

UnitPrice

The price per Unit credited.

(The format of this field should be plain numeric with no thousand separators or currencies eg. $1,000.00 should be entered as 1000.00.)

18

Numeric *

Yes

LineTotal

Total credit processed. Excluding tax.

(The format of this field should be plain numeric with no thousand separators or currencies eg. $10,000.00 should be entered as 10000.00.)

18

Numeric *

No

LineCost

Average landed cost price at the time of sale.

(The format of this field should be plain numeric with no thousand separators or currencies eg. $1,000.00 should be entered as 1000.00.)

18

Numeric *

Yes

ReturnToStock

Indication if the product credited was returned to stock.

Returned to stock options are: TRUE or FALSE

-

Boolean

Yes: TRUE or FALSE

  

* NOTE: Numeric fields should not have more than 4 decimal values.

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