Rule Enhancements

We recently published a few enhancements to the 'Rules' section.  As a reminder, 'Rules' apply to order quantities and can be applied to all contacts or to individual contacts.  Here are the two primary changes that we've introduced:

Round Direction
This feature allows a producer to specify the round direction when a rounding multiple is enabled.  Prior to incorporating this feature rounding always rounded up.

Long-time users might recognize this feature because it actually existed years ago.  We removed it due to lack of usage.  So what has changed?  Our business units are much more varied and many more locations are now using forecasting.

Imagine the following scenario:  a supplier has a rounding multiple of '24' set for Product A.  A customer is dutifully taking waste on Product A and wants to start forecasting.  The forecasting engine will calculate the optimal quantity regardless of rules, so it's entirely possible that our customer has a suggested order of '25'.  In previous versions the customer would then receive a quantity of 48! (25 rounded up to the closest rounding multiple).  Well that's not quite fair...they're essentially ordering 23 more than they'd like.  This has made some customers hesitate to enable forecasting.

If the supplier in the above scenario had Round Direction set to 'Closest' the customer would receive 24...still not the exact quantity they're after but probably more desirable than over-ordering (and over-paying) by such a large amount.

By default Round Direction will start out with 'Always Round Up' to keep the legacy behavior.

Availability Dates
Availability Dates are an incredibly useful feature that allow a supplier to specify the start and end dates of a product.  Both start and end date can be entered by themselves.  Some examples might include:
  • Seasonal products (12/1/2013 - 12/31/2013)
  • New long-term offering (1/1/2014 - ?)
  • Expiration of product (? - 12/31/2013)
Once enabled, the effect is that any quantity ordered against this item is negated for the full amount.  This should help communicate to customers why they aren't receiving a particular product.  

It's worth noting that even though a Rule might prohibit a customer from ordering a product, it doesn't preclude them from adding it to their order template.  The advantage to this is that customers can prepare the quantities that they'd like, and once the product becomes available they'll start receiving it.  In other words, it facilitates a smooth paced rollout of products for both suppliers and customers alike.

Here we see a rule definition with the rounding quantity set to 'closest and a start date of 1/1/2014.  

More to Come....
Rules are an important component to standardizing the ordering (and hence manufacturing and packing) process.  We'll be working on enabling customer rules which will match to a specific rule-set, and then reconcile against supplier rules (i.e. a customer's minimum couldn't be less than a supplier's minimum).  We'll also keep improving that inline communication over time so rules are clearly communicated when applied without cluttering the interface.  Stay tuned!