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Advice Needed: MRP Demand Forecasting for AX 2012

  • 1.  Advice Needed: MRP Demand Forecasting for AX 2012

    Posted Feb 18, 2020 04:44 PM
    We have been struggling for 2 years on getting Demand Forecasting going, and we are now back to square 1 (well, maybe 2 or 3).  Our company would really like to have a brief discussion with another company out there that is using Demand Forecasting.  We would like to know how you are approaching the forecast piece of MRP so we can appreciate the direction we need to move towards.

    Anyone out there willing to have a short conversation with us?

    Thanks!!

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    James Steele
    The Greenbrier Companies
    Lake Oswego OR
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Advice Needed: MRP Demand Forecasting for AX 2012

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Feb 19, 2020 07:26 AM
    James,

          I'm not sure how helpful my answer will be because we are a very high-mix, low volume manufacturer, and I suspect you much lower mix and higher volume.

           We stopped using demand forecasting a little over a year ago,  this is after many years of attempting to use it.   We establish a production schedule about a year out,  and our inside sales team assigned incoming orders to that schedule.   Inevitably several months out the schedule begins to be push/pulled or re-arranged based on a wide variety of factors.   When we used demand forecasting this was difficult to execute correctly.  If the demand forecast was not exactly updated to match the now changed sales order dates we would see demand pop back up that we did not want.   Further, as mentioned our products are highly configured,  which makes forecasting even more difficult.

           Our solution was to stop using demand forecasting entirely.  Instead, we Sales Quotes to define our production schedule,  which means at any time we have a year or so worth of quotes in the system,  some assigned to customers, and other available for our sales team to sell. This is a bit more work up-front but pays off when the schedule changes.    We have made some enhancements to AX to allow to mass change quotes for large production schedule changes.

            If you are interested in hearing more let me know but I suspect that this approach would not be ideal for you.

    ------------------------------
    Corey Vantilborg
    ERP Analyst
    Tigercat International Inc.
    Brantford ON
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Advice Needed: MRP Demand Forecasting for AX 2012

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Feb 19, 2020 09:41 AM
    There are a number of moving parts with demand forecast and master scheduling.  We use both Demand and Supply forecast extensively in manufacturing environments along with short and long term planning / scheduling.  Release 12 had a number of issues with MRP which were worked out by the time MS got to CU13.  Most of the time we find issues in the configuration of master plans as it relates to Demand forecast, delay, actions messages and understanding pegging in the planning windows. Can you provide some example of the type of issues you are having and the CU level you are on and I might be able to point you in the right direction.

    ------------------------------
    Michael Mills
    AX D365 Sr. Enterprise Consultant Operations
    Blue Horseshoe Solutions
    Carmel, IN
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  • 4.  RE: Advice Needed: MRP Demand Forecasting for AX 2012

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Feb 19, 2020 11:28 AM
    James,
    I'm in Tualatin. We should have lunch!!

    ------------------------------
    Sarah Gabriel
    Operations Business Analyst
    Kai USA Ltd
    Tualatin OR
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  • 5.  RE: Advice Needed: MRP Demand Forecasting for AX 2012

    D365UG/AXUG ALL STAR
    Posted Feb 19, 2020 12:12 PM
    Hi James, can you elaborate more on some of the challenges you've had? I think this is fairly common in the D356 world. The demand forecasting functionality is fairly immature in its life compared to other parts of the software. It wasn't introduced until AX2012 R3. Compared to best of breed or industry specific forecasting packages, there is a lot more you need to consider on the AX2012/D365 configuration because of the way you would use that forecast and integrate it to Forecast scheduling and Master planning and that's where it takes a lot of work. First, you're limited to your time series forecasting algorithms: Arima, ETS, STL, two combo models, and ALL which will calculate all 5 models and report back the own with the lowest MAPE. And that's only in D365, 2012 is basically ARIMA only which does not do a great job with seasonality. The only forecast accuracy measure is against the statistically generated forecast, which will get overridden every time it is run and even the approved forecasts that go into your Demand forecast lines will get overridden if they are for the same Forecast model, item/dimensions, and dates. So you need to cater for a process of where you update forecasts if you want to measure against the original submitted forecasts or compare models. We do this a lot with Power BI and some archiving processes or customizations. Otherwise, you end up continuously creating new Forecast models so all the data/history and forecast lines sit in D356 which is a lot of data and non value added. Especially since each forecast plan or master plan is associated with one forecast model. So if you want to further your analysis and do what-if analysis of varying forecasts or models against an entire supply plan, you end up needing to really discuss how many forecast or master plans you think you need and if that is manageable for your business. Sometimes that leads to more confusion for planners and buyers and you take that all out and do in a reporting tool instead and just manage the forecasts into D365. Happy to discuss things I have seen both as an end user and consultant working in this area quite frequently.

    Thanks
    Drew

    ------------------------------
    Andrew Lencsak
    Solution Delivery Manager
    Arbela Technologies
    Irvine CA
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Advice Needed: MRP Demand Forecasting for AX 2012

    Posted Feb 19, 2020 12:29 PM
    Thanks Corey!  I really appreciate the insight you provided.  We currently think we need to maintain some sort of demand forecasting, just trying to figure out the right approach.  I may still want to discuss with you some of the reasons you shifted to your current strategy, I will send you a response if we want to do that.

    ------------------------------
    James Steele
    The Greenbrier Companies
    Lake Oswego OR
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Advice Needed: MRP Demand Forecasting for AX 2012

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Feb 20, 2020 08:11 AM
    Corey,

    That's a timely post. We just had someone recommend this approach to us yesterday to help us with similar issues. Now I'm even more intrigued.

    Thanks for sharing

    ------------------------------
    Greg Pope
    Master Scheduler
    Paul Reed Smith Guitars
    Stevensville MD
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Advice Needed: MRP Demand Forecasting for AX 2012

    Posted Feb 19, 2020 01:27 PM
    Thanks Michael!  We are on CU8 right now.

    Here are some more details on our challenge:  We have been using the AX functionality to build a demand on historical sales from the previous year.  (We have seasonal cycles and a somewhat consistent purchasing pattern).  After creating the Excel Pivot table of data, our Sales staff would update the amounts, then we would publish back to the cubes, then import into AX.  All of this worked correctly.  2 weeks later, we run the demand forecast again, shifting our 8 week forecast out 2 weeks, and AX was able to present the new historical data along with the previous updates from Sales.  This part all seems to work as expected.

    The gap is forecasting new sales for new customers who do not have historical sales to draw from, or existing customers who will be purchasing items that they have not historically purchased.  We knew we would have to manually add these into AX once, but we were expecting that the subsequent generation of the forecast would add this data in, just like it remembered the updates made to the regular forecast data.  It doesn't.  So from the Sales perspective, the new data is "lost" on their new pivot table sheets.

    Now that we realize that the Microsoft functionality does not do this, we feel like we are back to a starting point of determining the right solution approach.  We are hoping to avoid multiple spreadsheets, multiple uploads, etc, but most importantly, we just need a good dose of reality.

    That's the reason we are looking for the wisdom that all of you have gained before us so we can make a good decision to move forward.

    ------------------------------
    James Steele
    The Greenbrier Companies
    Lake Oswego OR
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Advice Needed: MRP Demand Forecasting for AX 2012

    Posted Feb 19, 2020 12:37 PM
    Sure thing!  Unfortunately I can't make our user group meeting today.

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    James Steele
    The Greenbrier Companies
    Lake Oswego OR
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  • 10.  RE: Advice Needed: MRP Demand Forecasting for AX 2012

    Posted Feb 19, 2020 01:30 PM
    Thanks Drew!  I've attended several of your sessions at Summit and Focus over the last couple of years, you are a great help!  I posted some more details about our situation in my response to Michael, but I will reach out to you directly so we can discuss more.

    ------------------------------
    James Steele
    The Greenbrier Companies
    Lake Oswego OR
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Advice Needed: MRP Demand Forecasting for AX 2012

    Posted Feb 19, 2020 06:07 PM
    These guys have a forecasting add-on for AX, which handles new demand much better than what you describe in the standard tool.

    http://farsight.co.nz/

    I'm sure they would be happy to demo it if you get in touch and tell them your use cases and pain points.

    ------------------------------
    Guy Terry
    Application Consultant
    Annata
    Portsmouth
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