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User Guide

1. General Information

2. Starting Up

3. Connecting data

4. Demand and Sales Forecasting

5. Inventory Planning

6. Reference


2.1. Basic Workflows

Streamline is a demand forecasting and inventory planning solution that allows you to ensure you are not over-buying, storing, and tying up capital needlessly, but also ensuring you have sufficient inventory to prevent stockouts. It can be used for demand forecasting only or inventory planning as well. In other words, demand planning is a part of inventory planning in Streamline.


Basic workflows for demand and inventory planning are presented in the table below.

New project Existing project
1. Creating a new project 1. Updating the project
Demand planning 2. Generating and viewing the forecasts
3. Adjusting and approving the forecasts
4. Exporting the forecasts (optional for inventory planning)
5. Go to step 1. Updating the project (for demand planning)
Inventory planning 6. Configuring replenishment parameters 6. Re-configuring replenishment parameters (optional)
7. Generating purchase plan
8. Viewing purchase plan and projected inventory levels
9. Analyzing expected stockouts and overstocks
10. Creating purchase orders
11. Exporting purchase plan (optional)
12. Go to step 1. Updating the project
You need to configure replenishment parameters (step 6) only once - when dealing with a new project.
You can reconfigure any of the replenishment parameters (step 6) as the situation changes. For example, you start using a new supplier with a shorter lead time.

As you see, there is a loop in the workflows (step 5 in the Demand planning and step 12 in the Inventory planning).

Demand planning

Demand planning is a process of establishing reliable expected demand. In Streamline, expected future demand is determined using the forecasts generated based on the history of sales provided.

Proceeding to the Updating the project step is typically driven by the data aggregation period. For example, if you forecast monthly (the sales data is aggregated in months), you update the project once a month by a new sales period. However, Streamline does not limit you, you can update the current sales period every day, and re-forecast your project then.

Inventory Planning

Inventory planning is a process of establishing the optimal inventory levels that must be maintained to meet expected service levels for demand fulfillment. The two key inputs to optimally run the replenishment process are the inventory safety stock and purchase plan. These parameters control two of the most critical factors in a supply chain, the amount of inventory, and the ability to maintain favorable service levels. And both of these are defined by the inventory planning process. As the demand pattern changes, the optimal inventory levels required to guarantee desirable service levels also change.

Streamline automatically calculates necessary safety stock, optimal inventory levels, and builds purchase plans based on generated demand forecasts and given service level. In other words, as you update the data (current on hand, sales in the current period, in transition information, etc.) every day, Streamline immediately recalculates and updates purchase plans and safety stock levels so that they reflect current demand patterns, state of the stock, and information on open sales/purchase orders.

Streamline calculates purchase plan based on the given replenishment parameters and generated forecasts. Replenishment plan is available to the user for read-only purposes in Streamline. It is changed only when recalculated based on adjusted forecasts or modified replenishment parameters. However, you can export it to Excel and edit it there manually if needed.

Planned orders

Depending on the configuration, Streamline plans two types of orders, purchase orders (POs) and replenishment orders (ROs).

If only locations are used, Streamline generates purchase recommendations and a purchase plan for the entire forecast horizon for each planning item individually. To generate POs Streamline takes into account:

  • In transition information (open POs, open transfer orders between locations).
  • Information on pending sales orders (open sales orders, backorders).
  • Current inventory on hand.
  • Other parameters.

If distribution center(s) are involved, Streamline plans all the supply chain – purchase orders to suppliers and replenishment orders to the distribution centers. Currently, a two-echelon model is supported (see figure below).

As you see, Streamline can plan direct supply from a supplier for any location in this case. To generate POs for a distribution center (DC) Streamline takes into account:

  • In transition information (open POs, open transfer orders between DCs).
  • Information on pending sales orders (open sales orders, backorders) if a DC sells items in addition to distribution.
  • Replenishment orders from supplied locations.
  • Current inventory on hand in DC.
  • Other parameters.

Planning process

Planning processes in Streamline are driven by the chosen replenishment strategy which key parameter is order cycle (the frequency you order from your supplier) which should be given.

As you update data and re-forecast the project, Streamline replenishes the order cycle period coming after the lead time based on the current situation (current on hand, in-transition deliveries, open sales orders, and other replenishment parameters). It means that when you update the project, for example, by a new on-hand every day, Streamline also recalculates its purchase recommendations as well. These recommendations tell you what and how much to order currently.

Since the planning process in Streamline is driven by the order cycle, purchase orders (POs) should be issued, at least, once per this period.

Of course, if an unexpected demand consuming much (or even all) of your stock happens, you can place an extra purchase at any moment (in addition to the normal purchase orders flow generated by Streamline) even if you use the periodic replenishment strategy.

Typically, different brands are ordered from suppliers at a different time. For instance, today we send purchase orders on Dolce Gabbana products, tomorrow, on Nike, and so on. Thus, usually, the planner updates the data (do step 12 of the workflow) on a daily bases and orders a particular set of products.

If you import data using the built-in bidirectional data connections or the database connection having SQL query to export POs, Streamline also calculates and indicates the date by which the next PO should be placed.

Let's consider an example based on QuickBooks sample data.

When you first import your data using the built-in QuickBooks connection and generate purchase plan, Streamline indicates the products you should order currently in the Order now section of the Inventory report (see figure below).

As you see, Streamline recommends ordering 62 units of Cabinet Pulls today. Since we don't have any amount of the item in transit currently and have not issued any POs on it before, the corresponding cell of the Next order by column is blank (see figure above).

Let's now send the PO into QuickBooks. To do this, click the Purchase orders button found on the Inventory report toolbar (see figure below).

Streamline shows the Purchase order preview dialog where you can adjust the recommended quantity, select which items to export, and more (see figure below).

Finally, click the Create button. As soon as the orders have been exported, Streamline notifies you about that (see figure below).

Now, let's take a look at the Next order by column (see figure below).

As you see, Streamline has calculated the date by which you should place the next PO for this planning item. It has also updated the In transition column of the report which now shows the ordered quantity (see figure above).

The inventory planning workflow shown in the table above is a general one. The specifics of inventory planning in special cases are described in the following sections:

Next: Creating a New Project

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basic-workflows.txt · Last modified: 2018/12/17 12:47 by admin