Proper inventory management is essential to ensure that demands are being met while minimizing the costs incurred by carrying excess inventory. In PlanetTogether, the Inventory Plan displays detailed inventory-level information for every item and provides users with a visual representation of supply and demands. The inventory plan will allow planners to ensure that there are sufficient materials to supply incoming demands and that there is enough time to purchase or manufacture additional materials.
The inventory plan can be accessed from the Views drop-down menu.
Note: The tabs and sections within the inventory plan can be moved and docked to create a customized layout that allows easy access to frequently used controls. The tabs are moved the same way that windows can be moved but they will remain in the inventory plan pane.
The inventory grid contains information about all inventory items, such as where those items are stored, any on-hand quantities, and total supplies and demands for that item. Each row represents a different inventory item. The inventory grid is searchable, which allows users to quickly find items by typing the item's name in the search box found at the upper-left corner of the grid.
There are additional options found under the green Options button that allows users to filter the inventory list when activity blocks are selected on the Gantt. When clicking on a block in the Gantt, the inventory list is filtered based on the materials required and the products produced by the operation selected.
Alerts can also be created from the inventory grid to allow planners to be notified when inventory stock is getting low.
The On-Hand Plot shows a graphical representation of the changes in inventory levels for particular items. The On-Hand quantity represents the amount of a particular item that is readily available in inventory.
At the bottom of the On-Hand Plot, there are two grids that display additional information about the inventory adjustments made.
- Plotted values: This grid displays every adjustment that occurred and specifies the date, quantity, and reason for the adjustment.
- Inventory Details: This grid displays additional information about each adjustment, including information about the product, sales order, customer, job, etc.
Tip: You can zoom in and out of the on-hand plot by using the mouse scroll wheel. Additionally, hovering the mouse over each "step" of the plot will display the current inventory levels for that item.
The adjustments grid displays demand, supply, and ending (net) inventory for an item during a specified time span.
- Period: This will determine the time span for each column shown in the adjustments tab. If the period is set to 1 week, each column represents the inventory adjustments for a particular item occurring each week.
- Horizon: Defines whether the information included in the inventory adjustments grid is contained only in the short-span or for the entire planning horizon.
- Inventory Warnings: The Net Inventory row is color-coded to show whether there is enough inventory to supply future demand.
- Shortage: Represents an item in inventory that is beneath the safety stock level, is outside of its lead time, and has a demand for that item. These items are highlighted in red.
- Below Safety Stock: Represents an item that is below the safety stock but has sufficient inventory to handle incoming demands. These items are highlighted in yellow.
- OK: Represents an item that is above the safety stock and has enough inventory to handle incoming demands. These items are highlighted in green.
- Above Max Inventory: Represents an item that is overstocked in inventory and is incurring unnecessary carrying costs. This warning flag is triggered by the max inventory field and these items are highlighted in orange.
The information found in the Item Details tab is typically imported but this tab allows users to make any necessary changes should the information need to be updated. In PlanetTogether, Items represent the different raw materials, intermediates, sub-assemblies, and finished goods that are being produced, stocked, and consumed by the manufacturer.
- Cost: The cost per unit purchased.
- Source: Where the item originates from.
- Purchased: The item is purchased from a vendor.
- Manufactured: The item is produced on-site.
- Purchased Or Manufactured: The item can either be purchased or produced on-site.
- Default Lead Time: This is how long it usually takes to receive an order. This allows the system to schedule jobs even when there is not an exact available date for the material.
- Batch Size: How many units must be produced before the material goes into inventory and is considered available for another operation.
- Min Order Qty: This represents the smallest acceptable quantity that can be purchased or manufactured.
- Plan Inventory: This indicates whether the item should be included in the inventory plan.
- Shelf Life: This defines the length of time that an item can be used as a job material after it is produced. To use this feature, you must first set the item's Lot Usability to "Shelf Life" and specify a time span in this field. The Shelf Life takes effect based on the product's Inventory Available Timing field.
- This field is particularly useful in the food and beverage, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries where materials or products cannot be used or sold after a specified amount of time.
Warehouses and Inventories
Similarly to the Item Details tab, the information found in the Warehouses and Inventory tab is typically imported. However, this tab allows users to define and modify information regarding the warehouse where the inventory items are stored. In PlanetTogether a warehouse represents the storage facilities for both raw and finished goods and can be used for both supply and demand information. Note: A destination warehouse must be set for product information to be configured properly on the operation headers. Additionally, warehouses and items are linked when coming into PlanetTogether so that any item will have a designated warehouse where it is stored.
- Safety Stock: This is the amount of an item that represents a "Safe" buffer. Falling below the safety stock will trigger a warning on the Inventory Plan to inform the material planner and/or scheduler that additional material is required. This quantity serves as a buffer for planners and schedulers to avoid material shortage bottlenecks.
The Forecasts tab displays demand forecasts for selected inventory items. This tab can be used to generate new forecasts, adjust existing forecasts, and remove them from the inventory plan. Additional information on forecasting can be found here.
Watch: Visualizing Demand using the Inventory Plan