Product overview

Help and User Guide maintained for Sicon Distribution | Future Sales version 220.0.0 and upwards


The Future Sales module provides both the ability to Calculate Minimum Stock and Create Sales Forecasts.

Both features will look at previous usage and produce recommendations based on a number of adjustable criteria.   The values can be amended before being processed, allowing greater user flexibility.

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Product Installation

Within Sage Admin, Distribution Scripts should always be enabled when adding the individual Features to the User Role.

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1. Changes to Standard Sage screens

In addition to the new menu options described later in this help and user guide, there are also changes to standard Sage screens, which are detailed in this section.


1.1. PL - Enter New/Amend Account Details

Sicon tab – The Distribution sub category has been added to this screen with the fields shown in the screenshot below. These values are used to calculate the minimum stock, where this is the preferred supplier for the stock item.

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Default lead time in days – Where there is no lead time set in the Stock Item details, the default lead time will be used to calculate the number of stock cover days required.  This will override the default number of days set in the Distribution Settings.

Safety margin – This is the percentage of days to add to the Default Lead Time In Days.  Examples of where this is required are if the suppliers products require inspection on delivery, or extra time is needed for booking the products into stock.

Stock cover in days – Displays the calculation of the Default lead time multiplied by the Safety margin.

Update Stock Item Lead Times – Allows you to update every stock item, where this supplier is the preferred supplier, with the lead time recorded in this tab. The ‘Do not update manually adjusted lead times’, when ticked, will only update lead time values that have not been manually changed.


1.2. SC - Enter New/Amend Stock Item Details

Sicon tab – The Distribution sub category has been added to this screen with the fields shown in the screenshot below.

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Round forecast min stock quantity up to – Is an option used by the Calculate Minimum Stock Levels function, and is a drop down that allows you to specify how many decimal places you would like the minimum stock level suggestion to use for this stock item.

Do not include in minimum stock calculation – With this enabled the stock item will not be included in the Calculate Minimum Stock Level process.

Safety Margin – Allows a safety margin to be entered per stock item, for Calculate Minimum Stock Level.  This will override the default number of days set in the Distribution Settings and Supplier Details.

Suppliers tab

Supply Details Screen – The Lead Time entered in this screen will override the default number of days set in the Distribution Settings and Supplier Details.

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2. Dashboards

Dashboards

Five blank general dashboards are available to use.  These allow data to be reported in a visual format.

Maintain Dashboard Panels allows the user to create additional dashboard panels.


3. Future Sales Menu

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3.1. Calculate Minimum Stock Levels

This feature allows the calculation of suggested Stock Item Minimum Stock levels per warehouse, based on usage over the previous 3 months (or specified date range).  The usage value includes Sales plus any BOM, Sicon Works Orders or Internal Issues in the stock module.  Lost Orders are also included (where Sicon SOP Management is installed, and the Lost Order Reason is set to ‘Inc. In Min Stock’).

Items that have the setting of ‘Do not include in minimum stock calculation’ set in the Stock Item Details will not be included in the usage.

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In the example above, we have selected a Product Group ‘Accessories’ and all the Stock Items in this group have been listed.  For each item a calculation is made for the average daily usage over the last 2 years, 1 year and last 3 months (unless a date range is specified).  It is the 3-month figure (or specified date range) that is used in the Minimum Stock calculation.  Each of these values can be drilled into to display the View Monthly Trading Figures screen.

You can drill on the value in the Free Stock field, Current Min Stock or click the Show Calculation button at the bottom of the screen, in order to show how the system has determined the forecasted min stock level.

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In the example above, our average monthly usage is 56.33 over the last 3 months.  We have specified in the Future Sales settings that there are 21 working days in a month, making an average daily usage of 2.68. With a lead time of 30 working days, as set against the Preferred Supplier in the Stock Item Settings, plus a safety margin of 2.0 to keep an extra 100% on the shelf to allow for late deliveries, our min stock forecast is suggested at 161.

In this example, this is rounded up from the exact calculation of 160.8 because of the rounding setting to only suggest in whole numbers. This can be set at the global or Stock Item level.  Where there is no value in the Stock Item Details, the value in the global settings will be used.

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The safety margin of 2.0 is coming from the stock item, whereas the global setting is 1.2.

If the Sicon Works Order Processing or Material Planning modules are installed, the Lead Time value will be taken from the ‘Default production lead time’ or ‘Default supplier lead time’ fields, as populated in the Stock Item WOP or MRP settings.  If these fields are not populated, the Preferred Supplier or global settings will be used.

To make it easier to see the suggested changes in the Calculate Minimum Stock Levels screen, you can sort the % Change column.  You can then see the significant increases and decreases in minimum levels and check that these are acceptable and not just a single usage anomaly.

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New stock items are highlighted in purple, to show there is not enough history for a Forecasted Minimum Stock to be calculated.

Where Sicon SOP Management is being used, items that have been Superseded are highlighted in red.

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Once the values have been analysed, the ‘Forecast Min Stock’ figure can be manually adjusted if required.

The ‘Max Stock’ column displays the current value for the Stock Item and can also be manually adjusted and updated from this screen.

Select the check box for each item that requires updating, or choose ‘Select All’.

Update Selected Min Stock Levels – Will automatically update the relevant Stock Items.

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The columns can be customised by right clicking in the screen and choosing Customise.

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Filters

There are a number of filters that can be applied when using the Calculate Minimum Stock feature.  Where there is a large number of Stock Items on the system, using a filter will reduce the time taken to run the calculation.

Process single item – With this enabled, only the item in the ‘Stock Item’ field will be analysed.

Process all items – All stock items and will be analysed.

Process product group – Clicking on the Product Groups button allows you to select which groups are analysed.

Filter by manufacturer/supplier – These filters provide a drop-down list of all manufacturers and suppliers.

Warehouses – Clicking on the Warehouses button allows you to select which locations are analysed.  This filter will save on closing the screen.

Use dates in calculation – The dates entered here will be used in the calculation instead of the previous 3 months.  This is useful for seasonal items where the minimum stock requirement varies depending on the time year.

Filter Supplier Analysis Codes – These filters provide a drop-down list of all analysis codes set up in the Purchase Ledger, Maintain Supplier Analysis Codes screen.

Search Categories – This filters by the Stock Item Search Categories as set in the Stock Control Search Categories screen.


3.2. Sales Order Forecasts

The Sales Order Forecast uses historical usage to calculate a Forecast.

The calculation will look at the previous years usage and, using the comparison range in Distribution Settings, calculate a % increase or reduction.

i.e. (the last 3 months usage / the same three months previous year) * the month you are calculating usage last year.

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Filters

Monthly – Displays the previous 12 months usage figures.

Weekly – Displays the previous 4 months usage figures by week.

Stock Item – The screen can be filtered to display a single Stock Item.

Date from/Date to – This will default to the previous 12 months, but can be amended to display a user defined period.

Transaction Type – This allows a filter to be applied to exclude/include Write Off, Sales Order and BOM/WO Issue values.

Product Group – The screen can be filtered to display a single Product Group.

Exclusions – Where any exclusions have been applied, asterisks will be displayed on the button. The exclusions will save on closing the Sales Order Forecast screen.

Sales Orders – If there is a Sales Order that needs to be excluded from the calculation, it can be removed here.  This may be due to a one-off order that is not going to be repeated.

Warehouses – Any Warehouses that do not require a forecast can be excluded here.

Clicking on the Item Name displays a graph, summarising the usage split for each month being used in the calculation.  A ‘Hide Chart’ tick box also appears below the ‘Display’ button.

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Each value on the screen can be drilled into, to view a list of the usage that comprises the total value of the cell.  Any cells that contain an anomaly in their usage history are highlighted.  These can then be analysed to see if the incongruous value needs to be removed from the total value, before the Forecast is generated.  The value can be manually amended or, if this is a Sales Order, it can be removed via the Exclusions button.

In the example below, the cell has been highlighted because the quantity of 450 is out of the normal range of usage.

N.B. Only cells with more than 10 transactions will highlight any anomalies.

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Once the previous usage has been analysed, individual lines can be ticked or the ‘Select All’ button used.  The Forecast is then generated via the ‘Generate Forecasts’ button.

The Sales Order Forecast screen displays the forecast value, using the calculation outlined at the beginning of this section.

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The Forecast Change column displays the percentage increase/decrease.

In the example above, the first 2 items have increased by 50% and 10% respectively.  Item 3 has no change and item 4 has decreased by 10%.

If required, the Forecast Change value and the monthly values can be manually adjusted.

Right clicking on the screen will allow the details to be exported to Excel.

Clicking the ‘Save’ button will display a screen where the Forecast Name is entered.

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Generated Sales Forecasts can be viewed via the View Forecasts button.

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Where Sicon Material Resource Planning is installed, when viewing a forecast an additional button to ‘Generate MRP Forecast’ is available.  This will create a Forecast in MRP that will be included in the Material Planning calculations.

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4. Reports

Consignment Transfer – Only available with Warehouse Replenishment module

Purchase Orders and Returns Linked to Sales Orders – Only available with POP Management

Purchase Orders Outstanding Tracking Dates – Only available with Container Manager.

Purchase Orders Awaiting Confirmation Detail – Only available with POP Management

Purchase Orders Awaiting Confirmation Summary – Only available with POP Management

Discontinued Stock Items – Only available with SOP Management.


5. Utilities Menu

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5.1. Settings

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Min Stock Calculation

Default supplier safety margin – Used as the Safety Margin within the Calculate Minimum Stock Levels calculation.  Where populated, this would be overridden by the same setting in the Supplier Details and subsequently by the Safety Margin in Stock Item Details.

Default supplier lead time in working days – Used as the Lead Time within the Calculate Minimum Stock Levels calculation.  Where populated, this would be overridden by the same setting in the main Supplier Details and subsequently by the Lead Time in the Supply Details screen, within Stock Item Details.

Default number of working days in a month – Used within the Calculate Minimum Stock Levels calculation.

Default round forecast min stock quantity up to – Select how many decimal places you would like the Minimum Stock Level calculation to be rounded to. Where populated, this value would be overridden by the same setting in the Stock Item Details.

Show item analysis codes in Min Stock Calculation – Where Sicon Enhancement Pack is enabled, this will display the filter for the Analysis Codes, from the Stock Item Analysis Setup.

Sales Forecasting

Forecasting comparison range in months – This determines how many months the Sales Forecasting calculation will use to determine the % increase/decrease for the forecast.


5.2. Sage to Sicon SO Fulfilment

This screen allows you to update existing Sales and Purchase Orders to use the new fulfilment methods in Distribution. You can click the Run button to apply the switch to all live and on hold orders, or alternatively specify individual sales or purchase order numbers and click the relevant run button next to the order number field.

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5.3. Import Stock Item Settings

The Distribution Settings, required within the Stock Item Details screen, can be imported via a .csv file.  Clicking on the Example Import File button provides the user with the Excel sheet to populate, and subsequently save as a .csv file.

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The Check File button will check the data for any errors.  Lines with errors will be highlighted in red.  Hovering the mouse over the Stock Item will display the reason for the error.  Please note, the Stock Item data must be in the exact format as the data in Sage, i.e. capitals/lowercase.

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Once all the data is correct, the Import button will no longer be greyed out and the data can be imported.


5.4. Enable Module

The Enable Strings supplied by Sicon are displayed here.

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6. New Features & Important Information

Distribution New Features & Important Information

Sicon Main Menu