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Business Central: New user interface for optimized demand forecasts

To avoid supply bottlenecks and ensure customer satisfaction, comprehensive demand planning is indispensable in companies. For its continuous optimization, Dynamics 365 Business Central now offers a new user interface for entering demand forecasts.

Among other things, accurate demand planning can also help companies to identify their current market position and respond accordingly with the necessary strategy for pricing, business growth and market potential.

Recently, Business Central has offered the option to include the desired level of detail of item variants directly in the demand forecast, which opens up new planning possibilities. In particular, this also reduces lead times for companies that do not have an inflow of sales orders and have to manage many almost identical items.

Item variants generally ease the controlling of item lists, especially if the system includes a large number of nearly identical items that vary only in color, for example. Instead of creating a separate item for each item variant, an item can be set up in Business Central and the different colors then added as variants to the item.

Support for variant code

For some time now, it has been possible to register the anticipated demand in terms of locations, dates and also item variants directly on the “Demand Forecast Entries” page or to edit them in larger quantities using the “Edit in Excel” action.

With the latest spring release, the right level of detail can now also be specified via the “Forecast by Location” and “Forecast by Variant” fields on the “Demand Forecast Overview” page. To do this, simply activate the two corresponding fields. Filters by date, locations, items as well as forecast type are thereby saved in the “Demand Forecast Name” table. In this way, work can be interrupted and continued later without any problems.

Business Central Demand Forecasts
Overview page of a demand forecast with activated location and variant fields (Source: Microsoft)

For new Business Central customers, the new feature is already enabled by default. Existing customers must first activate the feature via the Feature Management page.

Note: The use of variants should be carefully checked in advance and coordinated with regard to the entire processes. In some cases, it is more reliable to create corresponding items as well, since an item variant does not offer the full functionality of a stand-alone item. In addition, all processes with regard to the use of items in purchasing, sales, warehouse, production, service, assembly and project must be analyzed very carefully to determine whether the desired processes are available in combination with variants. Corresponding limitations also apply if articles are used in complementary systems that may not be geared to the use of a variant.

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