Working with Alternative Units of Measure in Forecast Pro TRAC

tipsandtricksForecast Pro TRAC allows you to view and work with your forecasts in different units of measure. When you set up your data for Forecast Pro TRAC, the units of measure for the input data are referred to as the default units. Unlike Forecast Pro Unlimited, which limits you to a single unit of measure, Forecast Pro TRAC lets you change the units you are working in.

Changing units isn’t just designed for reporting purposes. In Forecast Pro TRAC, as you change the working units you can continue to make adjustments and overrides to the forecast. As a result, the members of your team can view and work with the forecast in the units of measure that matches the way that they think about the business.

An Example

Forecast Pro TRAC allows you to define item-level conversion factors (i.e., multipliers) which are used to display both the history and forecasts in alternative units. Conversion factors are maintained in a separate file (or table if you are using ODBC), which the Data Manager points to inside Forecast Pro.

In the screenshot below, note that the data manager lists a file called “123 Bakery – Historic Data.xlsx” as the historic data file and also a file called “123 Bakery – conversions.xlsx” in the second row as the conversion file. The second file contains the item-level conversion factors for 123 Bakery.

Data Manager

Forecast Pro TRAC allows you to import unit conversions from Excel, CSV/text files, or from a view/query/table in an ODBC-compliant database.

In Forecast Pro TRAC you can have as many conversion factors as you wish. In the 123 Bakery example above, the default unit of measure is cases; the conversion factors supplied in 123 Bakery – Conversions.xls allow for conversion from cases to dollars, kilos and pallets. This allows different parts of your team to work in the units that make sense to them–perhaps the sales department creates sales plans in dollars, manufacturing plans capacity based on throughput as measured in kilos, and logistics is concerned with the volume of goods moving through its warehousing and distribution system.

When you provide a file containing conversion factors, the Toolbar icon labeled “Units” becomes active (it is grayed out when no conversions have been supplied). The Units icon provides a dropdown menu listing all conversion factors available.

Converted forecasts are displayed and reported in various places in Forecast Pro TRAC, including in “Formatted Reports”, “Numeric Output Files” and in the Override view. The Override view is especially useful because it displays the converted forecasts and allows you to judgmentally adjust or override the forecast in any of the available units of measure. In the screenshot below, the Statistical row and the Forecast row in the grid are displaying the data in cases—the default units. In addition, any changes made in the override rows will be expressed in cases. (Note: the dropdown on the toolbar shows “Default”). It is useful to think of the units shown in these rows as the “working units.”

Latest2

You can switch from one working unit to another simply by choosing the desired conversion from the dropdown list. In our example, if we wish to switch from the default units to kilos then we choose “Kilos” from the dropdown list. The working unit is now kilos and we can continue making adjustments in that unit of measure.

Latest1

For More Information

The Reference section of the Forecast Pro TRAC User’s Guide fully documents setting up conversion files. All Forecast Pro editions include comprehensive self-study tutorials which include structured lessons and accompanying data files. The Forecast Pro TRAC tutorial includes a lesson on working with alternative hierarchies and units of measure using the above 123 Bakery example.

To schedule a live WebEx demonstration of Forecast Pro TRAC click here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s