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Batching

The batching feature of DemandCaster is a means to bulk order items based on a variety of supply or financial attributes. Here are a few real life scenarios where this feature may be applied:

  • Volume such as for a shipping container - uses cubes as the calculation basis. For example, a company order goods from China that requires delivery in container loads
  • Volume/unit based on a criteria such as number of units, yards, meters, and other units of measures. For example, an apparel company produces t-shirts and has a minimum buy quantity based on a particular color across all styles and sizes. Another example is a food based company runs a batch process of a base ingredient that is used in many different finished goods.
  • Pricing such a minimum purchase price or pricing discounts based on volume. For example, a supplier has a minimum purchase value that needs to be fulfilled regardless of item mix i.e. purchase a minimum of $1000 worth of product.
  • Weight such as a purchase by min or max weight. For example, a company purchases steel and requires a minimum weight to receive a discount.

Prepare Batching Criteria File

At present, the cost, units, and cube values are included in the item.txt upload file. All these values and a few additional criteria may be added in order to aggregate purchasing using a file named containerizationcriteria.txt. Once this file is prepared it must be compressed and uploaded per the instructions found in the article Manually Uploading Data. Of course, if only cost, unit, and cube values are required and the values are included in the upload file, this new file is not needed.

The file format is:

  • Column 1: Item Code
  • Column 2: Cost
  • Column 3: Length
  • Column 4: Weight
  • Column 5: Cube
  • Column 6: Location Code (mandatory for multi-location business nodes).

The cost and cube values override the product/item location cost in the item.txt file. The length & weight are added as new product options but are not visible & editable in any DemandCaster UI. To change these values you will need to re-upload the file so we recommend saving the latest version of the upload file to make it easier to update.

Create New Container Criteria

Once the ordering values are established, the next step is to create the purchasing/container criteria.

  1. Click "Utilities"
  2. Click "Containerization"
  3. Click "Add New"

Enter Name and Basis of New Criteria

  1. Enter "Name" of the purchase or production criteria
  2. If the criteria will be applied to a sub-set of items, click "Filter Criteria" otherwise leave the "All Items" checked. In most every instance, the "Filter Criteria" should be selected since the criteria will nearly always be applied to a sub-set of items. In the example below we are going to set a criteria for VEN-000007

Click "Filter" Tab to Open the Filter View

In the example below we selected VEN-000007 and Buy items as a filter

Enter Criteria

Enter the criteria to which the order will be created. In the example below, the criteria is unit based requirement with a minimum buy based on a minimum and maximum unit volume. Please note that you may mix criteria i.e. units and cost as an example.

Click "Save" to save the criteria

Apply Criteria in Planner Action

  1. Click on the Truck icon in the tool bar to enable the containerization filter
  2. Choose the applicable template from the drop down
  3. Click Apply to enable the criteria against the planner action

View Result

A view appears showing the total value of the selected items to order and where the quantity is between the min and max values. If the value is less than the min, you may increase the order quantities of the item or items or add additional items to order in the list to meet the min. If the value exceeds the max, you may decrease the order quantities of the item or items in the list.

Known Issue: At present the due date for the order lines in the selection are different. In the next update all the orders will change their due date to equal the longest lead time item in the selection.

I would like to share the logic to explain some of what is happening.

When creating a batch, we first collect all the orders from the first available date of the requirement based on the item In the batch with the shortest lead time. We then try to fulfill the criteria by moving later scheduled suggested orders earlier as long as their lead time rules are not violated. In case the orders (from the first available date) exceed the maximum criteria, an error is displayed so you can make a decision regarding how to address. The other thing that can be done increase the max of the template.

Assuming we did not hit max straight off, the process tries to fill the batch to the maximum criteria. If a maximum can't be reached with all available orders, but we are above the min, the batch is created as it is. If the minimum criteria can't be reached with all available orders, we increase the orders one by one until we meet the minimum criteria.

For SA Brands, the reason we are experiencing the issue is because for many of the templates the first batch can't be filled to the minimum with other orders because of lead time restrictions As a result, we fulfill the minimum quantity with the single order which causes the large order quantity. We do this because the one item is needed and can be shipped earlier due to its short lead time relative to the other items in the batch. The way around this is to have the same lead time for all the items in the batch or we have to come up with a different logic.

Please let us know your thoughts.

The other identified issues are being worked on.

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