We all are customers. Standing in front of a shelf, we often can not choose between two similar products or brands). For us, they are absolutely identical. Retailers and store managers have noticed this feature and they actively use it for saving their costs. They keep only one product in their warehouses, instead of storing two or more similar items.
Another story. For example, a manufacturer changes a product packaging size. A retail chain replaces product SKU with a new one. Both SKUs will be almost identical to customers. But during the transition period, the store will have two SKUs in its inventory.
In both cases we have a group of similar products, but the retailer orders only one of them, only one product name. The group of these product names is called Alternative SKUs. ABM Inventory has developed a special function that automatically tracks the inventory available for each of them.
At first, we define the group of alternative products, then we choose the base product to be ordered and set its parameters. Then we set the priority of alternative products order. The system applies it if the base product is unavailable.
The system interface allows both manual and automated setting of the alternative bunch of products. In case you choose the latter, the system exchanges data with the inventory system on a daily basis. So, if inventory data has been structured before, it is ready to use. If this data was scattered between several managers, ABM Inventory collects and fixes it in one place.
After an alternative group is created, the current quantity of the base product and the number of goods to be delivered are summed up. All-time product data (sales history, leftovers, promotions etc.) are also being summed. This information for the alternative goods is being kept separately.
This information can always be viewed in the system interface (it does not depend on the system settings):
Image 1. The group of alternative products
The base product must be indicated in the Main SKU field. The system will wait for exchange data on this product, and the system will automatically form orders for this product. If the leftovers or sales history data on the alternative goods are being received during data exchange, they are summed up with the base product data. It means, that the user has the information on the total leftover quantity and the total sales history (on all alternate SKUs).
The field SKU params indicates which specifications of alternative list products should be applied to the base product. Specifications include safety buffer, minimum/maximum safety buffer, product status, and safety buffer references. For example, when stock is rotated, we can use stored data that is already available.
We can add either a separate alternative product or an already-existing group of alternative goods to a base product.
Image 2. Adding products to the group of alternative goods
You can sort or filter data, using a quick or an advanced filter.
Sometimes client’s orders depend on supplier’s goods availability (in a main warehouse, as a rule), and there is no base SKU. In this case alternative goods will be ordered automatically in order of priority defined in the OP (Order Priority) column.
Additionally, you can control the low-turnover alternative goods order. There is a function called Forced Order (FO). If you check the box this product will be reordered regardless of its sales turnover rate.
You can easily track and find the goods within a group, using FAM product range quality. And you can easily differ base goods from alternative goods by using a status function: alternative goods have ALT status, while the product has the status you choose earlier in SKU params field.