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Suggested Orders

Introduction

Setting Up Data For Suggested Ordering

Classifications

Items

Order Frequency Codes

Suppliers

Locations

Required Stock Transactions

Suggesting Orders

Customer Orders

Introduction

Suggested orders are transactions that are automatically generated by the system as part of the end of day process. The general concept is that the system knows the minimum and maximum stock required for an item. These need to be entered so that the process has reference values. When the current stock on hand drops below the minimum stock, the system will order enough units to take the current stock on hand back up to the maximum stock.

There are three transactions involved in suggested orders. The first is a Required Stock transaction. This is basically a transaction which tells the system what items need stock and how much they require. All required items are shown on one transaction. It has no concern about where this stock will actually come from. This transaction is always created and acts as an audit trail showing what stock the system thought you needed.

Once the system knows what stock is required, it needs to work out where the stock will actually come from. The stock might need to come from a supplier, in which case a Purchase Order is created. Or the stock might be available at the company warehouse, in which case a Transfer Request can be created to ask the warehouse to transfer the stock to the location. These two transactions are optional. They can be created as part of the suggested ordering, or they can be created when the user reviews the Required Stock transaction and accepts it.

When the Transfer Available Stock Only  check box within the Stock Qty Calculations panel on the Inventory tab of System Settings is checked, the suggested order quantities for Transfers are based upon the stock on hand at the sending location.

Suggested orders are a complicated topic. You should read the following information twice. The first time to get a general idea of the terms and constructs used by suggested orders and then a second time to fully understand the process.

Setting Up Data For Suggested Ordering

There are a number of areas that need to be set up in order to use suggested ordering. These areas are discussed below.

Classifications

Items are divided into classifications. The types of classifications you use depend on how you want to see the items. You may want to consider organising classifications based on whether the items are allowed in certain size stores and on the type of items.

Example

BIGDRINK

Drink items for big stores

BIGFOOD

Food items for big stores

MEDDRINK

Drink items for medium stores

MEDFOOD

Food items for medium stores

SMALLDRINK

Drink items for small stores

SMALLFOOD

Food items for small stores

Items

Once you have your classifications defined, you must update your items to show the classification it belongs to. If an item is not placed in a classification, then whether it is ordered depends on the System Setting option called Order Items Without A Classification on the Inventory tab.

If the option is checked on, items without a classification code are ordered.

If the option is checked off, the item cannot be ordered.

Each item can have an order method set up on it (in the Order Method on the Advanced tab). The order method tells the system how to calculate the stock required. These settings are as follows:

No Reorder

The item is not to be included in any suggested orders. Only manual orders can be placed.

Min/Max Stock From ROS

Quantity for these items are calculated based on the min/max stock method. The minimum/maximum stock levels are calculated by the Suggest Stock Levels EOD process based on the rate of sale. Requires the Sales Period Range to be set up on the Range tab of Items.

Min/Max Stock

Quantity for these items are calculated based on the min/max stock method. The minimum/maximum stock levels will be manually set by the user on the Range tab of Items.

Replacement

The system will order what has been sold since the last order, therefore replacing used stock.

Manual

The system will generate a purchase order for 'Manual' items. Each item will have a zero quantity on it. You are able to retrieve the purchase order and set quantities on the items to order. When sent, any items with a zero quantity are deleted automatically.

You may want some items to come from your warehouse instead of a supplier. For these items the Transfer From Warehouse flag (on the Items - Advanced tab) should be checked on. When the system does a suggested order, it attempts to transfer these items from the warehouse. 

Order Frequency Codes

A frequency code determines when stock is allowed to be ordered and how long it will take for the stock to arrive. A frequency code allows an entry for each day of the week. If a day of the week has a number, it indicates the item can be ordered on that day. The number is the lead days for the stock. So if Monday has the number 2, it means stock can be ordered on Monday and it will take two days for the stock to arrive. If a day of the week does not have a number, it indicates the stock cannot be ordered on that day.

Frequency codes also have a delivery days number. Sometimes a supplier cannot guarantee delivery on the actual day. They may have a two day delivery window. The delivery days is where you tell the system how many days it can take for the stock to be delivered. If stock will be delivered on the actual delivery day, the delivery days should be one. If delivery days is zero, the system will create an order with an open-ended delivery date.

Suppliers

For each supplier you can set up the order frequency codes. This tells the system when you can order stock for specific locations and items. For each record that you set up you can specify the date range, location, department, category, group, subgroup, classification, order category and order frequency code.

The location can be a store or store group. The system looks for a frequency for the store. If it can't find one, it will then look for a record for the store group (based on the store's parent hierarchy). It repeats this until all locations have been checked.

When checking for matching items it looks for the most specific match. It works through the department hierarchy as follows:

D/ C/ G/ SG/ Classification/ Order Category

D/ C/ G/ SG/ Classification

D/ C/ G/ SG/ Order Category

D/ C/ G/ SG

D/ C/ G/ Classification/ Order Category

D/ C/ G/ Classification

D/ C/ G/ Order Category

D/ C/ G/

D/ C/ Classification/ Order Category

D/ C/ Classification

D/ C/ Order Category

D/ C/  

D/ Classification/ Order Category

D/ Classification

D/ Order Category

D/   

Classification/ Order Category

Classification

Order Category

When you do a suggested order, the system will look at each item and determine its order frequency. If the order frequency shows the item should not be ordered on the required date, the item will not be ordered, regardless of whether it needs ordering or not. It will have to wait until the required day. If items have different lead days, the system will create multiple purchase orders. Items with the same supplier, lead days and delivery days will be placed on the same purchase order. If the system cannot find a frequency code from these records it assumes that the item can be ordered immediately.

This process of separating items to different purchase orders based on lead days, is only done for suggested orders. It is not done for manually created purchase orders which will allow all items on one purchase order.

When you set up order frequencies for a supplier, you should set up a generic rule that applies to all items. This will be used by manual purchase orders for calculating the required by and delivery dates. You can then set up rules for specific items, which will be used by the suggested ordering process.

Locations

For each location you specify the classifications of items that the location is allowed to have. (This is done on the Classifications tab.) For example, you might have three classifications, for example BIG, MEDIUM and SMALL. Small locations may only be allowed to have items in the SMALL classification. Big locations may be allowed to have items in the BIG, MEDIUM and SMALL classifications.

If you have lots of locations, setting up these categories against each one may be a tedious exercise. There is an option called Classifications that can be used to simplify the task. This option can have one of three settings:

Any Classification 

The location can have items from any classification.

Classifications Listed Below

The location can have items from any of the classifications listed for that location.

Same As Location

The location uses the same classifications as those from another location. At this point you can specify the location to link to. The link is a single step only. You cannot link from one location to another and have that location link to yet another one.

The data is not copied from the other location to this one. It is a pointer only. The system will see this location links to another one then will look up that location to get the valid classifications. If you do set up any classifications on the this location, they will be ignored. Only the linked classifications are used.

These classifications are used to control whether or not a location is actually allowed to have items in a specific classification.

The Order Frequency tab allows further control of which items are ordered from whom. Here you can specify a classification, supplier and an order frequency. If you specify a supplier, the item MUST be ordered from that supplier. If you specify a frequency code, it will override any frequency that may have been determined from the supplier information. If a classification is not listed in this grid, the system will use the best cost to determine which supplier to order the item.

If some of your items come from the company warehouse instead of the supplier, you need to tell the system the warehouse location that will be used for each location. This is set up in the Warehouse setting on the Inventory Options tab. If an item is to be transferred from a warehouse and the warehouse location is not set up, an error will be generated.

The last option to be considered for a location is, what is a stock movement that effects rate of sale? Usually this is just sales but in some circumstances you may want to include stock transferred out. For example, if you have a warehouse, that warehouse will not actually be selling anything. However, there will be lots of stock being transferred to stores. These transfers should be included in the rate of sale so the warehouse knows how much to reorder. The option to control this is called Rate Of Sale Method on the Advanced tab.

Required Stock Transactions

A Required Stock transaction is an intermediate step when generating purchase orders and transfer requests. A purchase order only shows items that are ordered from a specific supplier. For a single location you may need to generate purchase orders for several suppliers. A Required Stock transaction is generated for a single location and shows all items for which stock is required, regardless of which supplier the item will eventually come from or even whether it will be ordered or transferred.

You can create a Required Stock transaction manually. This allows you to simply list all items that you want and the required quantity. When you accept a Required Stock transaction, the system will generate all the required purchase orders and transfer requests. These can then be reviewed using the Review Created Orders function. At this stage you can accept or reject the individual purchase orders and transfers.

Required Stock transactions are also generated as part of suggested ordering. You can have suggested ordering generate only the Required Stock transactions, which can then be reviewed before creating purchase orders and transfers. Or you can have Required Stock transactions generated at the same time as the purchase orders and transfers. In this case, the Required Stock transaction works as an audit trail.

Suggesting Orders

At this stage the items have been set up ready for ordering. For items that are using the Min/Max Stock From ROS order method, the EOD process Suggest Stock Levels will calculate their actual minimum/maximum stock levels.

Most of the options on the Suggested Orders screen are simple to understand.

Location

The location to generate suggested orders for. If this is a group, orders are raised for all specific stores within the group.

Method

This determines what the suggested ordering process will do and is discussed in more detail below.

Create Orders/Transfers

If this option is checked off, the system generates only Required Stock transactions. One transaction is generated for each location. A Required Stock transaction shows the specific items that need to be ordered and the quantity required. These transactions can be reviewed at a later time. The purchase orders and transfer requests are generated when the Required Stock transaction is reviewed and accepted.

If the option is checked on, the system still generates the Required Stock transactions but it also generates the purchase orders and transfers immediately.

Set Actual Qty To Suggested Qty

When a Required Stock transaction is generated, the system records two numbers for each item - the suggested quantity to order and the actual quantity to order. You can review the Required Stock transaction and change the actual quantity. If this option is checked on, the actual quantity is set to the same value as the suggested quantity. If the option is checked off, the actual quantity is set to zero and the user needs to manually set it.

Items To Be Ordered  

This set of options simply controls the items to check for ordering. Only items that match the entered criteria are ordered. If no criteria are entered, all items are checked.

Method

The method determines the type of orders to be suggested.

Automatic

The system looks for all items that have an order method of 'Min/Max Stock','Min/Max Stock From ROS', 'Replacement' and 'Manual'. The system checks to see if stock needs to be ordered (as described below). Once it has been determined that an item needs to be ordered, the system calculates the best cost for the item. From this the system knows the supplier code.  

For the Min/Max type items, the system calculates the current available stock as Maximum (Stock On Hand,0) + Ordered + Requested - Allocated - Returned - In Transit - Special Orders.

Note: You can control which of these numbers are actually included in the calculation with the flags in the Stock Qty Calculations section on the Inventory tab in System Settings.

The Special Orders is discussed in Customer Orders below.) If the available stock is less than the minimum stock quantity, the system places the item on order. The quantity the system orders will initially be the maximum stock quantity less available stock. However, the system has to take carton size and minimum order quantity into account, so the actual quantity may be adjusted.

The reorder stock level is also used at this point. The system does a check first for all items where the available stock is less than the minimum stock levels. If it finds some items that need to be ordered, it does a second check for items where the available stock is less than the reorder stock level and orders those items. The system is basically saying 'if I have to order these really urgent items, I may as well order these less urgent items as well'.

For the Replacement items, the process is a little bit different. For each item at a location, the system records the date an order was last sent. When it records this date, it also sets a sales counter to zero. Purchase order returns and claims do not set this date, only orders.

As items are sold, the system increments the sales quantity and set the last sold date. (An item is considered sold when it is included in a POS sales transaction or a transfer send - depending on the Rate Of Sale Method for the location.)

An item needs to be 'replaced' if the sales counter is not zero.

Note: Allocated, ordered, returned and in-transit numbers do not effect this calculation. It is only based on items sold.

For the Manual items, the system simply puts the item on a purchase order with a zero quantity. It will then be up to the user to review the purchase order and change the quantities as required. When the purchase order is sent, any items with zero quantity will be deleted automatically.

Same As Date

The system looks at items on all purchase orders and transfers sent on a specific date. (This date can be specified by the user.) It generates purchase orders and transfers for the same items and the same quantities. The system ignores order frequency codes and order methods when determining the items to be ordered. If the item was on a purchase order or transfer on the specified date, it is ordered again.

New Store

This will find all items that are required for a store. When using this option the 'Create Orders/Transfers' option should be checked off. This means the system generates a Required Stock transaction only. This can then be reviewed and actual quantities set.

The items must meet the following criteria to be included:

  • Must be in the classifications listed for the store.

  • Must have a valid cost and sell.

  • Must be marked as mandatory (unless you are using the option to say all items are always mandatory)

Items are listed regardless of order frequency rules.

Customer Orders

This is a special option used to generate purchase orders/ transfers for customer orders. See Customer Orders below for more information.

Once the orders and transfers have been created, the Review screen is shown. This lists all the orders and transfers that have just been created. Using the review screen you can examine each transaction, print them and alter them. Once the orders have been checked you can accept them or cancel them.

Customer Orders

This is a special type of suggested order. When a customer places an order for an item, the Allocated quantity at the location is increased. This will have an impact on the available stock at the location and is included in the standard suggested ordering calculations. This means if you did your normal suggested ordering process, you would order the stock if it was required. However, you may want to separate the customer orders so you can create purchase orders/transfers for the items several times during the day. For example, you might place orders with your suppliers at 11:00am, 2:00pm and 5:00pm. In this case, you can run the suggested ordering process with the Customer Orders option checked on. This will generate purchase orders/transfers for customer orders placed since the last time the process was run. So now you are being responsive to your customer orders. However, the Ordered quantity for the location won't change until you accept the purchase orders. If you ran this suggest customer orders process as part of your end of day and then you ran the suggest min/max process immediately after, you would potentially order items twice - once for the customer order and once because the Allocated quantity hasn't been offset by the Ordered quantity yet.

The following example should clarify this. We have 11 units in stock. We get customer orders for 2 units. The first row shows what would happen if we ran the suggest min/max process immediately after the suggest customer order process. We would order an additional 11 units because we think we only have 9 units of available stock. The second row shows what would happen if we accepted the purchase orders from the suggest customer orders process and then ran the suggest min/max process. We wouldn't order any stock because we have already ordered the required 2 units.

 

Min

Max

SOH

Allocated

Ordered

Available Stock

Quantity To Order

After customer orders have been suggested but not yet accepted

10

20

11

2

0

9

11

After customer orders have been suggested and accepted

10

20

11

2

2

11

0

This is not an efficient end of day process though. No one is going to wait to accept the customer order transactions before continuing the end of day process. There is an option in the Stock Qty Calculations section on the Inventory tab in System Settings called Include Special Orders. If this is checked on, the system will calculate the quantity ordered by the suggest customer orders process and use this in the available stock calculation, which gives the same result as if the purchase orders were accepted. Since this option takes additional processing, it should only be turned on if you are using the suggested customer orders process.

When the system creates purchase orders and transfer requests for customer orders, it records additional information on the transactions. If you go to the purchase order or transfer request and edit an item, a new tab called Customer Orders will be visible. This tab will show all the customer orders for which this item was ordered.

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