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Level Loading

DemandCaster includes the capability to level load a finished goods production plan during supply planning in S&OP and requirement planning if S&OP is not enabled. The finished goods item then cascades down its requirements to its components in a level manner.

The level loading process takes the demand plan / forecast and future target inventory and levels the production in a manner that does not cause the ending inventory in each period to breach the safety stock requirement or zero during the level loading time frame. This process causes inventory to increase and decrease over time to allow production to be level as demand increases and decreases over time as depicted in the image below.

The capability is available in both weekly and daily buckets requirement plan methods.

Set-Up

To enable level loading for an item, go to the Manufacturing / DRP tab of the item options and select "Yes" in the Level load option.

If you wish all finished goods items to be level loaded, select "Yes" under the Manufacturing / DRP options section in System Settings.

By default, the length of the level loading time frame is set to a rolling two year time frame with the level loading calculations executed in increments of every 6 months in order to not overstate the interim inventory levels.

You can set an interim  or "Level load time frame" value in System Settings. The value is in weeks. If the "Level load time frame" setting is more than the planning horizon, it gets ignored. In addition, the planning horizon for the item will be extended to cover the cumulative lead time of its components if the planning horizon is less than the items cumulative lead time.

An interim target may also be set by the "Supply Plan Additional target" setting set in the items options. This interim target sets an interim level loaded time frame within the overall level loaded time frame. The value can either be a fixed date or a rolling time frame.

There is a SKU specific option available from Multi-Edit and Item Options Tab.

The target inventory at the end of the level loaded supply plan time period is either the safety stock at that time bucket, 0 if the item has a stock status of "order," or a user defined value.

To view the target column in requirement planning, click on the target button in the toolbar next to the Safety Stock. Targets may not be edited in the requirement plan view.

When daily buckets are enabled, one additional level loading target is added at the end of the daily buckets horizon so that the daily bucket horizon is calculated independent of the weekly bucket periods.

If a birth or discontinue dates exists, they also define a target. Note that birth, discontinue and additional target dates could be set via calendar and could be selected on whatever weekday the user would like. However, the calculations will be based on the beginning of the week.

User defined targets can also be entered by SKU from the Supply Plan UI only by clicking on the target inventory value in the appropriate period. These are then translated in the Requirement Plan after Plan Approval.

This feature is only available with the S&OP add-on. For requirement planning, please use the interim target setting.

Suggested orders generated by level loading will have a new reason code named "Level loading" in the requirement plan planner action. The Line Status of these orders are either Normal or Urgent (based on if the order is on the lead time or not).

When a suggested order is edited, all or previous orders are frozen based on the "Suggested order edit recalculation mode" system setting. The periods after the edit will be generated without level loading.

If Lot control is enabled, the level loading will use the on hand and already uploaded (vendor/shop) order lots and will treat suggested orders as not expiring.

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