Today’s blog is written by our lead LS Retail consultant – Doug Chalk – and offers an overview of LS Retail’s inventory management suite, LS Replenishment.
Replenishment is an essential aspect of any retail business. Without dependable replenishment methods, stores can easily run out stock, which not only can frustrate customers, but can also cost stores valuable business.
There are various ways in which replenishment can be handled. In smaller businesses, for example, a pen and paper could suffice, or manually entering items into purchase orders as required. However, there comes a point where this is impractical and more advanced techniques are necessary.
LS Replenishment is a module included in LS Central, designed to assist with this and builds on the Dynamics Business Central functionality with functionality specifically designed for the retail industry. It contains a large amount of functionality (Figure 1), but this blog will focus mainly on automatic replenishment.
In the module there are several options and parameters which can be used to define how stock should be managed. A combination of these parameters, introduced below, can help to tailor the process to suit the requirements of the business.
Automatic Replenishment is used to calculate required quantities for stores and central warehouses. You have the option to choose from the following four calculation types, and these can be specified at any level on the item hierarchy, right down to item level:
- Average Usage calculates the average sales per day over a defined period to predict future sales. For example, if a store sold 100 of an item over a twenty day period, the average would be 5 sales per day (100/20). By setting a minimum stock level, LS can then predict when more stock should be ordered.
- Manual Estimates are often used for new items with no sales history. Estimated daily sales are manually predicted, and when enough history has been built up, the item could be switched to average usage.
- Stock Levels uses defined reorder points to order stock and prevent inventory falling below to specified levels. When the reorder point is hit, a purchase order is proposed for a quantity to bring stock up to a predefined level.
- Like-for-like is particularly useful for high value items which sell sporadically. This method will only propose ordering an item when one has been sold. For example, a store which sells a high value bicycle would only need to order in another when one has sold.
LS Replenishment also provides options for Manual Replenishment which is used to manually define how and when items are ordered, and how they are distributed to warehouses and stores. Perhaps the most useful of the manual processes is the ability to use Allocation Plans. These are used to define how items are distributed between stores, using weightings to calculate how much stock should be sent to each store.
A useful feature within the module is the ability to look at how suggested purchase orders are calculated using ‘Replenishment Calculation Log Lines’. In the example below, it tells you exactly how the suggest purchase order is suggested, by breaking down the calculation, based on the item setup.
A combination of these settings and the above calculation methods are used to create a seamless replenishment system. It is also worth considering LS Forecast as a solution to utilise the replenishment functionality. LS Forecast looks at historical sales data and uses this to help forecast future sales. This ties in nicely with the Replenishment feature.
The range of options offered by LS Replenishment can work well for different sizes and types of retail businesses. A key advantage of the product is how versatile it is. It is highly adaptable to business needs and can be moulded to fit the criteria of businesses of any size. Some may only require a small portion of the functionality, whereas larger retailers may opt for a more advanced solution, spending the extra time to utilise LS Replenishment to its full extent.