Linking Finished Goods

This article describes the process of manually linking a new finished good to a similar existing finished good. This is done to help forecast demand for the newly introduced finished good.

Please note that the link can be for the finished good across all locations at one time (item linking) or against a specific location (SKU linking).

In addition, when full linking is made, the old item/SKU should be disabled because the goal of the process is the replacement of the old item/SKU from the new one. If a new item/SKU is linked to an old item/SKU and the old one is not disabled, the history at upper levels of aggregation will be doubled up in Demand Planning.

For component linking, please read the article Linking Components

Old to New Linking

Linking is always executed old to new where the old Item/SKU is selected first and has the shipment history that will be copied to the new item or SKU that is expected to have a similar demand behavior.

Linking Steps

  1. Click on "Data" menu on side bar and then go to "Data Maintenance"
  2. The "Item" data maintenance group is the default view
  1. Select the old item/SKU you would like to link to the new item/SKU
  2. Click on "Link" to open the linking pop-up. Please make certain your pop-up blocker is off.

Once the pop-up opens,

  1. Search for the new item(s) that will be linked to the old item and click on the (+) to apply. You can link more than one old item to a new item and one old item to many new items. Then,
  2. Select the Linking Mode:
    • Full Linking: This is applied in situations where the new item fully replaces the old item. The history of the old item is copied to the new item. In this case, the old item should be disabled and thus no longer included in history otherwise the sales history will be duplicated. This is most applicable when introducing revisions to existing products and the old version will stop selling in the near term.
    • Forecast Only: This is our recommended option since it accomplishes the same outcome of Full Linking without copying the shipment history to the new item. With this option, the new item will only reflect its own history but will also use the old items history as the forecast basis. If you view a demand plan or forecast for a Forecast Only linked item you will see the forecast but there will be no history shown other than its own direct sales. This approach does not double up shipment / sales history.
    • Transition (old option, available for the S&OP version only): This option is only applicable to only independent demand items when full linking is required. It is applied when inventory depletion is being considered in the requirement planning process. It is covered in detail below. We do not recommend this approach with finished goods due to the uncertainty of timing if the forecast driving demand is not accurate. It is much better practice to select a date in the future that is known to ensure clarity of requirements to manufacturing and suppliers. This option is available for the old version of the system (S&OP), which is going to be disabled soon. The Advanced Business Planning supports Full linking and Forecast only options.
  3. Select the Linking Type:
    • By SKU: Applies the link against the selected SKU (item/location) combination. If SKU is chosen, only the locations of the old SKU will be made available. There is currently no cross-location linking.
    • By Item: Applies the link for the given item across all associated locations that are in both old and new.
  4. Select Options:
    • Copy Open Customer Orders: Copies open customer orders from the old item to the new item.
    • Copy Open Shop Orders: Copies open shop orders from the old item to the new item.
    • Copy Open Vendor Orders: Copies vendor orders from the old item to the new item.
  5. Select Linking Date:
    • Full History: Copies the full history of the old item to the new item and is continually copied to the new item with each customer order upload until the sales of the old item ceases. Only recommend this option if the old item is going to stop selling in the near term.
    • Linking Start: Defines when the old items history stops and the new item starts. Depending on the date chosen and the sales of the old item and new item, there could be a period of overlap between the two. Link dates may be as of the day link is created, in the past, or in the future.
  6. Click Save to apply the link
  7. You may click "Delete All Links" to remove all previously applied links.
  8. You may also remove a selected item by clicking on the x icon next to the new item
History Link Pop-Up Opens

Please note that the linking date and other options may be changed after creating a link. If a change is made the new settings will be applied against the new item.

Transition Linking

This option is only applicable to a finished good item with only independent demand. It only works in full linking mode and when inventory is being considered in the requirement planning process. As stated above, we do not recommend this approach for finished goods.

There are two types of transition for finished goods transitions linking.

  • Soft: The link wont occur unless the prior items inventory is consumed at the time where the transition from old to new is scheduled to take place
  • Hard: The transition of old to new occurs at a hard date regardless if there is inventory remaining with the prior finished good.
  • Temporary linking option does not apply to finished goods linking - only component linking.

Items with links will be designated by having "Yes" with the type of link in the column "History Link." Clicking on the column header will sort these linked items.

View items with links

You can also easily identify if an item is linked in the item number field in the item planning detail.

Link shown in Item Planning Detail View

Linking Overview Video Video Tutorial

Birth and Discontinue Date Video Tutorial

Reallocation of Demand by Customer Video Tutorial


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