New Product Forecasting & Product Bundles

Last week we released a couple of big new features:

  1. You can now forecast and plan inventory for new products
  2. SkuBrain now handles product bundles (for ERP systems that support these)

New product forecasting

Previously SkuBrain only created forecasts for products that actually had sales history. Now, if you have SkuBrain hooked up to an ERP system such as Shopify, Vend or Brightpearl, SkuBrain will also create zero forecasts for new products that you’ve added in your ERP system, even though these don’t have any sales history.

New product forecast

You can then manually edit the forecasts for these new products and your manual forecasts will be used for inventory planning, when generating replenishment reports, so that you can have a single process for planning inventory for all products (new and old).

Manual forecast estimate

Product Bundles

Various ERP systems, such as Vend and Brightpearl, have the concept of product bundles that group several products together to be sold for a single price (typically at some kind of discount from the price that it would cost customers to buy all the items individually).

From an inventory planning perspective, the bundles themselves should basically be ignored, since they are virtual products and we don’t track stock for these… the availability of bundles is implied by the availability of the various products that make up the bundle. As such, when SkuBrain is importing sales history from your ERP system, the sales of bundles will get exploded out into sales for the various different products in the bundle.

For example, given the product bundle:

Duff Six Pack (unit price = $5.00)
  • 6 x 250ml Duff Extra Calory Beer
  • 1 x Party Hat with built in Beer Holder

A sale for 2 x Duff Six Packs would be imported into SkuBrain as:

Imported data
  • 12 x 250ml Duff Extra Calory Beer (unit price = $0.7142857)
  • 2 x Party Hat with built in Beer Holder (unit price = $0.7142857)

So bundles simply get exploded out into their individual components. Note that each unit in the bundle will be assigned the same unit price in SkuBrain. These unit prices get used for ABC classification and the assumption is that each of the items in the bundle should have an equal value, since if any one of them was missing then the bundle would not be available (potentially resulting in a lost sale). There are potentially arguments for doing this differently, but in the broader scheme of things, this will probably have very little impact, since it’s primarily sales volumes that will determine the ABC categories for products (and thus the service levels that are used to determine safety stock).