Get the Most from Your Forecast with Business Central

It’s time to get the most from your forecast with Business Central! In our last blog, we talked about how there are some awesome “entry-level” forecasting tools. For example, ForecastX can help your company move beyond spreadsheet-based forecasts. Having an improved forecast is great, but we have a question for you. How do you import your current forecast into Business Central and once it’s there how does Business Central use it? In this blog post, we are going to share how you can get the most from your forecast with Business Central.

Configuration Packages

Business Central provides an import tool called Configuration Packages which enables you to map fields in a CSV/Excel file into the Business Central tables. Business Central planning then provides forecast consumption logic. Forecast consumption logic in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central refers to how the forecasted demand is used to drive inventory planning and replenishment activities. It determines how the forecast is consumed over time to calculate the recommended inventory levels and generate purchase or production orders. The primary goal of forecast consumption is to align inventory levels with anticipated demand while minimizing stockouts and excess inventory.

How to Utilize Configuration Packages to Import Forecast Data

Export the Forecast from Forecast X or another forecasting tool: Export the forecast data in a compatible format such as CSV or Excel. Ensure that the exported data includes the necessary fields and information required for the forecast import in Business Central.

Create a Configuration Package: In Business Central, navigate to the Configuration Package page. Configuration Packages are used to bundle and import data into the system. Create a new Configuration Package specifically for importing the forecast data.

Define Tables and Fields: In the Configuration Package, define the tables and fields that will be used to store the forecast data. You need to specify the target tables in Business Central where the forecast data will be imported.

Map the Fields: For each table and field, map the corresponding fields from the exported forecast data file. This step ensures that the data from the file aligns with the correct fields in Business Central. You may need to specify the data type, format, and any necessary transformations during the mapping process.

Configure Import Options: Configure import options for the Configuration Package. This includes defining how duplicate records should be handled, specifying filters or conditions for importing specific data, and determining the import behavior for related records.

Import the Configuration Package: Run the Configuration Package to initiate the import process. The Configuration Package will read the exported forecast data file and import it into the specified tables in Business Central. The system will validate the data and create records based on the mapping and import options defined earlier.

Verify and Review: After the import process is complete, verify that the forecast data has been successfully imported into Business Central. Review the imported data to ensure accuracy and data integrity.

Key Aspects of Forecast Consumption Logic in Business Central

Calculation of Net Requirements: Business Central uses forecast consumption to calculate net requirements, which represent the difference between the forecasted demand and the available inventory. Net requirements indicate the number of items needed to meet the forecasted demand.

Time Period Consideration: Forecast consumption considers the time period for which the forecast is generated. Business Central typically allows you to define the forecast period, such as weeks or months. The system evaluates the forecasted demand over this period to calculate the net requirements and generate replenishment orders accordingly.

Forecast Consumption Methods: Business Central provides different methods for consuming the forecast. The most used methods include:

  • Straight-Line Consumption: In this method, the forecasted demand is consumed evenly over the forecast period. The system distributes the forecasted quantities equally across the time period.
  • Front-Loaded Consumption: This method assumes that the forecasted demand is fulfilled more heavily in the initial periods of the forecast period. It consumes a larger portion of the forecasted quantities in the earlier time periods.
  • Back-Loaded Consumption: In contrast to front-loaded consumption, back-loaded consumption assumes that the forecasted demand is fulfilled more heavily towards the end of the forecast period. It consumes a larger portion of the forecasted quantities in the later time periods.
  • User-Defined Consumption: Business Central may also provide flexibility for defining custom consumption patterns based on specific business requirements. This allows you to create consumption profiles tailored to your unique demand patterns.

Reorder Point and Safety Stock

Forecast consumption logic interacts with other inventory planning parameters such as reorder point and safety stock levels. The forecasted demand helps determine the reorder point—the inventory level at which replenishment orders are triggered. Safety stock, which provides a buffer to mitigate uncertainties, is also calculated based on forecasted demand to ensure adequate inventory availability.

Dynamic Adjustment

Business Central continually adjusts the forecast consumption based on actual sales or usage data. As new sales data becomes available, the system compares it with the forecasted demand and makes adjustments to the net requirements and replenishment orders accordingly. This dynamic adjustment helps improve accuracy over time and ensures that inventory planning is responsive to changing demand patterns.

By using forecast consumption logic in Business Central, companies can optimize their inventory levels, ensure efficient replenishment, minimize stockouts, and reduce excess inventory. It helps align supply with anticipated demand, improving overall operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.