Getting Started Cheat Sheet

General Recommendations

  • Recommend using Google Chrome as your browser.
  • We do not recommend running new forecasts and safety stocks more than once per month especially if you have long lead times. Excessive changes to these values increases nervousness in supply planning. Of course, if you need to make updates on an ongoing basis, nothing prevents you from doing so.

Critical Item Settings That Must Be Monitored and Actively Managed

Systems settings are the general DemandCaster settings that are applied to all items within the DemandCaster platform. When starting DemandCaster, we recommend reviewing and then editing the base planning policies in system settings first. To learn more about the system settings, please start with the article System Settings Overview.

The following settings are the most critical settings in DemandCaster to ensure the items order point and thus requirement plan provide the desired result.

An items order point is calculated as Forecast Over Lead Time + Safety Stock. If the Advanced Business Planning add-on is enabled, the forecast is defined by the Demand Plan and the Safety Stock is defined in the Supply Plan. The Order Point is used in day to day requirement planning. Read the article Basic Order Quantity and Replenishment Logic to learn more.

  • Lead time: A lead time of 0 assumes immediate availability of a replenishment order. As a result, no safety stock is calculated. In addition, monitor lead times closely through the Lead Time Analysis. A lead time too short will cause the order point to be too low increasing the likelihood of stock outs. Conversely a lead time too long will cause the order point to be too high causing excess inventory to be created. A review of the lead time logic is described in the article.
  • What to stock versus not to stock: This is the Inventory or Non-Inventory setting. A non-inventory setting causes the item to have no safety stock calculated. Its order triggers are also slightly different than a stock item. Typically a non-inventory item will have no forecast. A view of all the stock settings are provided in the Stocking Analysis.
  • Make versus Buy: If an item has a BOM it will require the setting of Make in order to explode through its BOM otherwise DemandCaster assumes the entire item will be purchased thus there will be no BOM explosion. A view of the make versus buy settings for the items are provided in the Stocking Analysis.
  • BOM structures: Must be accurate in order for the finished goods to properly drive demand for its components. You can view the BOM's in the data maintenance or in the item planning detail.
  • On hand inventory: If the on hand is not correct, the suggested orders will not be correct.
  • Customer, production, purchase order statuses: These are Open and Closed statuses that must be properly managed. An open order that is really closed will overstate the availability in the requirement plan.
  • Distribution and manufacturing network relationships: Source and destination locations must be correctly defined in order to properly pass requirements from location to location. The item location table establishes these relationships. In summary, If the item at a specific location is replenished from another location, the primary source location of the destination location must be specified.  If the item at the specified destination location is manufactured at the same location, the source location will have the same location code. If procured from an outside supplier, the primary source location will be blank. Learn more in the Distribution Requirement Planning (DRP) Add-On Overview article.

Requirement Planning

  • To run a forecast when Advanced Business Planning IS NOT enabled, please read the article Running a New Forecast (when AP IS NOT enabled)
  • To run a new requirement plan when Advanced Business Planning IS NOT enabled, please read the article Running a New Requirement Plan (when ABP IS NOT enabled)
  • To run a new requirement plan when Advanced Business Planning IS enabled, read the article Running a New Requirement Plan (when ABP is enabled)
  • Requirement planning can have multiple users planning at the same time. We DO NOT recommend having multiple people working on the same item at the same time independently. A best practice is to segment the planning by vendor, planner, or some other sub-set of data. Creating a saved filter helps filter the data quickly by person or some other definition.
  • The following Consumption Typerules should be considered in Requirement Planning:
    • Any item with a designation of "not stocked" should have a consumption type set to "Make/Purchase to Order." This means that the item will not drive demand unless there is an order for the item. Any planned orders beyond the lead time will simply drive requirements through the BOM but will not create suggest orders in planner action. To learn what settings are applied to these items, read the article Setting Make - Purchase to Order Items.
    • If the item is a finished good or sub-assembly, the consumption type setting should be MTO / Forecast in order to drive a requirements for its component. This setting means that there is no forecast during the lead time thus it has no order point, but there will be a forecast beyond the lead time in order to drive dependent demand for the components. As noted above, the planned orders will not create a suggested order in planner action.
    • Any item with a designation of "stocked" should have a consumption type of order/forecast or forecast. Order/Forecast means that the greater of the statistical forecast or customer order quantity per week will drive demand for the item. This setting may be further supplemented by the Forecast Consumption Setting.
    • Read the article What are the Different Consumption Types in Requirement Planning to learn more.
  • Any item with a designation of Buy will be considered as purchased and will not explode their requirements through a BOM if one exists. If an item is made, it must have the Make designation set in its item settings in order to explode its requirements through the BOM. You may change an items make or buy designation in its settings.
  • The planner action includes all suggested orders for an item within the planning horizon. An item will likely have multiple lines sequenced over time. Read the article Planner Action Interface and Planner Action Action and Reason Code Definitions to learn more.
  • The item planning details application provides a time-phased view of the inventory, demand, and supply plans of an item over the item's planning horizon.  It enables the user to edit and visualize the effect of the item's planning parameters on its plan over the planning horizon.  Read the Item Planning Details article to learn more.
  • The default sort order in the planner action is Order Status with Urgent first, Plan Status with Firm first, Order By Date, Needed By Date, and then Clean to Build Type with Red balls first. Within its category of sorting the most important (high BI) items come first.

The following data management and review steps are recommended on a periodic basis. These are managed in system settings, analytics, and the automation interface.

  • Automate the data upload process and requirement planning process on the frequency based on your review and ordering requirements
  • Because DemandCaster is a relational database, please review the Data Upload section on a weekly basis for data upload errors and address as required.
  • The classification analysis is the process that preps the data for requirement planning. Run Classification Analysis as new items are introduced.
  • The Analytics process helps users review actual to plan progress and identify opportunities to adjust settings to optimize inventory.
    • At the beginning of each month run the Classification Analysis in order for last months data to be recorded and used for accuracy measures.
    • At the beginning of each month run the Lead Time Analysis to measure supply on time performance and actual to plan lead times.
    • At the beginning of each month run the Stocking Analysis to assess what to stock versus not to stock and on time delivery performance to your customers.
    • At the beginning of each month run the Order Point Calc Analysis to review order point settings.

Active/Inactive, Enable/Disable Item Settings

At times, there could be items that are in DemandCaster that are not required for planning. These items can be turned off however the method chosen could have an impact on demand planning. There are two methods to deactivate items. Read the article How to De-Activate, Re-Activate, Disable, and Enable Items to learn more. A summary is provided below.

  • Disabling an item is like a hard removal of an item. If an item is disabled it will not show up again even with an order. It is OK to disable items when S&OP is not running. However, if the S&OP Platform is used, a disabled item will not be included in S&OP history and thus will not contribute to any aggregate forecasting.
  • An old item linked to a new item may be disabled and it will continue to drive the forecast for the new item.
  • Deactivating an item turns the item off from lists but retains the items sales in the Demand Plan history. This is important when running S&OP since a deactivated items history will still be used for forecasting.
  • A deactivated item may be reactivated via tagging or if a new order for the item is entered into the ERP via system settings.


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