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Introduction The inventory balance set is quite possibly the most important supply chain equation for anyone having the responsibility for inventory planning, replenishment, finance, store operations, and executive/strategic accountability. The balance set documents and measures the value of your inventory, or more significantly, your working capital. So, you can rest assured Finance will be taking a keen interest in the inventory plans. In addition, Investment firms rely on inventory analysis for publicly held companies because it predicts future sales and margin with sharp accuracy. In this article we’ll explore the inventory balance set and build the case for why Anaplan is perfectly designed to connect all the different planning activities together. Basic Definition: Inventory Balance Set Accounting measures the value of their assets at the end of a designated time, using a balance sheet with debits and credits, a snapshot in time. Finance measures cash flow using sources and uses by accumulating these values over time. Balancing the inventory is a combination of both, and it’s a surprisingly simple calculation. Inventory Balance Set Ending Inventory = Beginning Inventory + Additions – Reductions In a dimensional platform like Anaplan, the most important concept is to remember that the equation MUST balance. This means: to go from a beginning onhand from one period to the ending onhand of another, there must be a set of line items that explain precisely how you got there. Inventory must be preserved. Introducing the Concept of Inventory Valuation We need to review the concept of an inventory valuation before we can combine dimensions with the balance set. An inventory valuation is defined by the analytical perspective needed. For instance, if I’m interested in a working capital analysis, I need the inventory to valued at my cost. Or, if I’m interested in calculating the gross margin potential in my inventory, I will use a retail valuation, or what the customer would likely pay to obtain the inventory. Each inventory valuation has its own separate inventory balance set, there’s even one for units. The good news is that we can transform an inventory valuation to any other inventory valuation by using prices, ratios, and percentages. I call this transformation: valuation jumping. Valuation jumping refers to the line items needed to move from one inventory valuation to another. Below is a handy graphic you can use to visualize the big picture. I will explain all these metrics in detail later, but I introduce this graphic now so you can see where we’re heading. For example, to go from a unit valuation to a cost valuation you would use the average unit cost, or AUC. Inventory Valuation | Unit of Measure Examples We can also use the term Units of Measure (UOM) as synonymous with inventory valuation. For instance, if I want to report on sales, am I referring to the units, the cost which I paid, or the retail the customer paid? Every business that heavily relies on a supply chain will have a slightly different valuation set based on the nuances of their business and how their local accounting standards affect the legal definitions. In planning, particularly inventory planning, these equations are invaluable. Most planning tools are dimensional: product, location, and time, being the most popular. Without these balance equations, it would be very difficult to make the entire dimensional cube calculate correctly. For each UOM, I will introduce the most typical measures that add to the inventory or reduce the inventory. Below is a summary of each equation equaling the ending on hand, or EOH. I will be referring to the monetary valuation of inventory using the United States Dollar, or USD, but you can replace that with any currency. In this section we’ll look at the most common valuations: Full Price, Retail, Wholesale, Cost, and Units. Units Units (UNT). Refers to individual, or physically measurable components like units, weight or volume. 12, 6-pack AA batteries, 12 men’s mesh t-shirts and 12 pounds watermelon would be examples. There are quite a few nuances to this when we introduce casepacks, inner casepacks, and prepacks. But the concept is still the same if the unit we’re measuring can be reduced to a common UOM. Cost Cost (CST). The cost valuation measures the investment you have made in the inventory. This is by far the most challenging valuation so I’m going to spend a little extra time here. Every company has a slightly different definition of the cost basis depending on the accounting practices they have. Most companies employ a perpetual inventory valuation, while a fraction still use periodic valuations. Perpetual just means the inventory is recalculated regularly, usually daily. Periodic is usually after a physical count. What’s important is that the cost basis includes everything that was physically deployed to procure the goods on the first receipt. This is where things get nuanced. The purchase order cost plus the freight and duty to get the inventory to the distribution center is a typical way to calculate the cost basis. Whereas, the freight to the store and the receiving costs in the store may or may not be included, as those are transfer costs which are considered below the gross margin line. All subsequent costs like distribution may be considered outside of the cost basis and reconciled on the profitability report. For the details of calculating the cost basis, I highly recommend Leo F. Griffin’s book entitled “Retail Auditing, A Practitioner’s Guide”, 1998 published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. It’s old, I admit but the principles haven’t changed at all. My copy still has the original 3.25″ floppy disk. There are significant nuances to calculating the cost basis. Retailers will typically employ one of these methods to calculate the cost in the stock ledger. The general ledger will use standard GAAP and will need to be reconciled to the stock ledger periodically. LIFO – Last In, First Out. The last receipts are the first to be sold. FIFO – First In, First Out. The first receipts are the first to be sold. Cost Averaging – Very popular method. Each receipt is added to the last receipt and averaged on a per unit basis, or an AUC. Standard Cost – a standard cost is given to a product and is reconciled at the end of a fiscal period, typically the end of the fiscal year. Sometimes retailers won’t know the cost at the time the product is set up in the merchandising systems. This simplifies the perpetual inventory calculations but introduces some issues with subsequent calculations, like gross margin. Retail Inventory Method – before computers this was the preferred method as it estimates the ending inventory on a retail valuation and cost valuation. The cost of goods sold is then estimated. A huge assumption is made that the receipts are grouped by margin. If the margins within the estimation vary widely, the estimate will lead to erroneous results. Great book on this is “Retail Inventory Method Made Practical” by James T. Powers of Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., 1971, published by the National Retail Merchants Association (NRMA). Wholesale Wholesale (WHSL). This valuation measures what the wholesale customer paid for the merchandise. This cost can be taken directly from the sales order. An important distinction must be made here. To you, a transaction to a wholesale customer is considered a sale (or shipment). To the wholesale customer, this transaction is considered a receipt. When we start calculating the gross margin, we’ll need to make the distinction of perspective: whose gross margin? I’ll discuss perspective more in the next section. Retail Retail (RTL). Retail measures the inventory valuation at full price, or what is on the price tag now; but, with one exception: sales. The sales are measured by what is paid by the customer, or point-of-sale, usually a cash register. Example: the price of a phone may be $400 but the customer buys it for $320 because there was a 20% off coupon. For retailers that value their inventory at retail, there is an additional set of markdown metrics that are needed to distinguish between permanent and temporary. A permanent markdown is one where the inventory valuation is reduced permanently to reflect changes in business conditions. The inventory is not expected to return to the original valuation. These types of markdowns are price reductions, clearance, and liquidations. A temporary markdown is almost always some type of point-of-sale markdown like a promotion. During a promotion the value of the inventory remains at full price until it is sold. Once sold, the markdown is applied at that time. There can be many types of temporary markdowns: traditional promotions, temporary price reductions, employee discounts, and loyalty discounts to name a few. Retailers that employ cost averaging generally don’t have such a complex set of markdown metrics. Instead they rely more heavily on discounts, the difference between the estimated full price of the inventory and the actual sales amount. In this scenario, all markdowns are temporary markdowns taken at the cash register or point-of-sale. Full Price or Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price Full Price (MSRP). The full price measures are the same as retail except for sales which is measured at full price without the discounts or markdowns. This set of measures is generally not shown but rather is used in the background to calculate discounts for those retailers that only employ temporary markdowns. Perspectives and Types Perspectives refer to location hierarchy levels, like store, distribution center, wholesale customer, or company. Types refer to the level of ownership, or commitment, the perspective has on the inventory, like what is physically in the store or what is physically in the store plus what is in-transit. Perspective: From whose point-of-view Types: Where is my inventory in the supply chain? Conservation of Inventory Just one comment before we jump to perspectives. This is probably the most important concept regarding the inventory balance set: ending inventory must add up to what you started with and what was added minus what was removed. When we talk about perspectives such as a store or a distribution center, the conservation of inventory is still in effect. A transfer-out of one system may be a transfer-in to another system but no matter which perspective you take the inventory will always balance.  Let’s look at an easy example. Let’s say I have 1000 units in the distribution center and 100 units in the store. I want to transfer 50 units from the DC to the store. Assume a zero leadtime for purposes of illustration. Our total system has 1100 units of inventory. Now when I transfer the inventory from one perspective to another notice the total system inventory is preserved. Let’s move 50 units from the DC. Perspectives We’ll explore three types of perspectives as it relates to the inventory balance set: Supply Chain – how inventory moves from a factory to the final selling location. Seasons – how inventory, particularly apparel product, moves around. Sales Channels – Within the supply chain there are other refinements that need to be made that support the various sales channels a retailer may have. There are many perspectives to consider for supply chain, but these three use cases will highlight the unique advantage Anaplan has over most leading supply chain planning tools. The ability to pivot the model so it meets the unique needs of the company and ties it all together with connected planning is extremely challenging for most planning solutions, but not for Anaplan. Let’s look. Use Case 1: Supply Chain What I’m about to describe is my point-of-view on the difference between receipts and transfers. To be honest, there’s no right answer if the inventory remains balanced. But having worked with these equations in many dimensional planning tools there are methods that make life a lot easier. Receipts occur when inventory is owned for the first time into the business’ supply chain. All subsequent inventory movements within the supply chain are transfers. This makes balancing the inventory much easier and you can track the movement to and from transfer locations. Equations get very confusing and challenging to interpret if you call a transfer a receipt after it’s been introduced into the supply chain. For example, let’s say a store obtains inventory from the distribution center and directly from a factory, or a drop ship. The drop shop should be considered a receipt and the DC inventory should be a transfer. If the DC inventory was defined as a receipt then there’s no easy way to reconcile the inventory movement within the supply chain, i.e., between the DC and the store, because it’s mixed up with the drop ships. In addition to the challenges caused by defining DC to store movements as receipts, there is the additional problem of measuring in-transit. Some retailers will assign ownership to stores immediately after a transfer is requested. Technically, this is not yet a receipt because the inventory is still in the DC. The transfer-in metric can be part of the store’s inventory balance set, accomplishing the ownership issue. Let’s take another look at our DC and store example. Let’s add receipts this time. We’ll ship 200 units from the factory to the DC and 150 units from the factory directly to the store. We’ll continue to assume a zero leadtime. Nice and clean. And, it allows us to track where the inventory came from and where it is going. Finally, it allows us to introduce in-transit and on-order measures and allows us to conduct further analysis on where the inventory is located, who owns it, and when it is likely to show up. I’ll cover in-transit and on-orders in more detail when we talk about types. Use Case 2: Seasons Up to now we’ve only talked about inventory movements as it relates to locations: stores, distribution centers, factories, etc. Seasons are generally considered as product attributes not time attributes even though they conceptually are thought of having a begin and end. So, moving inventory from one season to another is anything but intuitive. Seasons are fundamental to apparel merchandise planning. Typically, as part of an assortment plan they form the foundation of what the merchant would like the customer to see when they walk in the physical store or virtual store (online). There simply is no easy way to reconcile this type of assortment plan to a fiscal, merchandising plan without some type of compromise. Remembering our guiding principle about the conservation of inventory will help us greatly here. I have managed these two ways both having their own pros/cons which I’ll discuss, but both will maintain a balanced inventory set. The first is to create another set of transfer metrics. The second is to harden the begin and end of a season and associate specific inventory deliveries to a season. Idea 1: Extra Balance Set Creating another set of transfer metrics allows every merchant to determine for themselves when they feel a season begins or ends, or if perhaps, they want to carryover their inventory. The challenge with this method is that the inventory movement is completely dependent on the merchant to make this indication and that every merchant uses this indicator consistently. IT has a role to play too because the data transformations are critical to maintaining inventory balance sets. The ETL, extract-transform-load, team will need to make a debit/credit transaction every time inventory is moved from one season to another. Also, to make matters a little easier, you might consider creating an alternative hierarchy off the product grain (usually style-color). This simplifies the reconciliation to a fiscal calendar. For IT, this will require a table with the time-product hierarchy intersection or, if performance is a problem, these will need to be de-normalized on the main tables. Here’s how a balance set might look. Idea 2: Hard Season Begin and End By hardening the begin and end date of a season simplifies reporting greatly, but it also means that all merchants must agree to these time frames. This method presents some geographic issues particularly around climate and hemispheres. Sometimes we forget when it’s winter in the northern hemisphere it’s summer in the southern hemisphere. To work around some of these challenges, some companies will associate deliveries to specific seasons. For example, receipts associated with a March 15 delivery may be defined as Summer even though the delivery name says March 15 which is in the Spring. Methods that hard code seasons present a big challenge with how to associate the sales to a season especially if the inventory extends well beyond their intended selling period. One solution is to automatically move the inventory out of the season and into a carryover status. The carryover attribute can be a season, or just a product attribute/indicator. This provides a good analytic to distinguish new inventory from older inventory. Use Case 3: Sales Channels If the company is fortunate to be operating in more than one sales channel, as most are now, then you’ll need a mechanism to move inventory between them. The most important thing to remember is to consider the “perspective” each channel has. Here are some of the more typical retail sales channels to consider: Traditional Retail Stores (Brick & Mortar) Wholesale Store-In-A-Store (Concession) Consignment E-Commerce Outlet (Factory Stores) Licensed Affiliate Drop Ship Pop Ups Moving inventory between and within some of these channels probably requires a deep understanding of your company’s transportation logistics operations. Two important nuances are worth mentioning. Transfers to Outlet or Factory Stores. Traditionally, these transfers typically are done to move inventory from a full price store to an outlet store after a season, or particular assortment mix is past season. These transfers may reset the MSRP valuations in order to calculate more meaningful discounts and/or markdowns. Careful consideration to accounting laws should be taken. More and more, outlet channels are producing their own inventory in order to make the store look well-rounded so mixing the inventory brings all kinds of interesting challenges. Wholesale: Your perspective or theirs? The great thing about technology like EDI is that your wholesale customers may be willing to share the sales and inventory with you in a consistently defined manner. This is particularly important to the wholesaler because it allows them to calculate the demand of their products and enables them to forecast future seasons, among other things. The challenge is to make sure your inventory balancing is done based on the “perspective” of the channel. For example, If the perspective is your company, then shipments into the wholesale channel would be considered a “retail sale at a wholesale MSRP value”. The same inventory to the wholesale account would be considered a “receipt at cost”. TYPES In this last section I’ll discuss the inventory status, or “where is the inventory”? There are hundreds of measurements taken by retailers but here are the most popular: INVENTORY TYPES AND INVENTORY STATUSES Planned But Not Ordered. This might be part of a merchandise plan, assortment plan or ladder plan, or it might be a commitment to buy to a factory such as a blanket order. But at this stage, a purchase order has not been written. Ordered But Not Shipped. This type marks the beginning of the “On-Order” stage where a purchase order has been written but the factory has not yet shipped. Shipped / Inbound. Still considered to be on-order but the physical inventory is on its way to your initial destination, presumably a distribution center. DC Onhand. The physical inventory has been received and three-way matched indicating (usually) that your company is now the owner of the inventory. Allocated. Once received, the inventory is then allocated to a sales channel, immediately flows thru the DC, or is put away in stock and allocated later. In-Transit / Outbound. This is physical inventory that has left the distribution center and is currently on its way to the final destination. Transferred-In. The final destination has taken possession of the physical inventory. Sale. Inventory has been sold. Transferred Out / Adjustment. Excess inventory is transferred to another location or is adjusted in some way, such as for shrink or a retail/cost adjustment. Summary The inventory balance set is a simple equation. But as we learned, when applied to all the different planning processes that make the entire supply chain work, the calculation becomes increasingly difficult to balance. If there are multiple solution providers along the way the complexity becomes nearly impossible to reconcile. Anaplan solves the problem by pulling all planning processes into one platform and sharing the data across the entire supply chain through connected planning.   References The New Science of Retailing by Marshall Fisher and Ananth Raman, 2010 Leo F. Griffin’s book entitled “Retail Auditing, A Practitioner’s Guide”, 1998 published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. “Retail Inventory Method Made Practical” by James T. Powers of Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., 1971, published by the National Retail Merchants Association (NRMA) “Retail Accounting and Financial Control”, Robert M. Zimmerman, Robert M. Kaufman, Gregory S. Finerty, James O. Egan, Published by Wiley, 1990
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Import and Automate Current Date Import to Anaplan Using Python By Jared Dolich Retail Planning Enthusiast Summary As a supply chain Anaplan data integration modeler, you might be asked by your business partner to display actuals for elapsed periods and forecasts for unelapsed periods. If you are not using the current period, which must be manually updated by a workspace administer, and you want to automate this process, you will need to regularly update a current date line item, preferably through automation. This article demonstrates how to do this in three steps: How to set up Anaplan for an automated import How to create a Python 3.0 script that creates a CSV file with the current date, uploads the file to Anaplan, and runs the import action How to put the Python script on a scheduler such as Windows Scheduler Assumptions This demonstration makes several assumptions: namely, You have Python 3.0, a free object-oriented programming language installed You will have administrator rights on the machine You are using Windows. Although, this is only an assumption if you intend to use Windows Scheduler You have access to Anaplan, the workspace, model, and module You are a workspace administrator We will use v1.3 RESTful API set and will use Basic Authentication. In the Python code example, I have added the code that will allow for a CA certificate (preferred method) You know how to obtain the IDs to run the APIs. To obtain the ID and Names for the APIs you can use @chase.hippen excellent Python best practice article located here Known Idea The current date function was first posed by @vadim.rogatskin on 5/31/2019, and as of 12/30/2020 has 272 votes. This idea has been discussed numerous times with the Community how to best implement this. This article may serve as a workaround until this function is available. User Story As a retail merchandise analyst, I need to see my sales actuals replace my forecasts every day. I get into the office early, around 6 a.m. so I need to see the results as soon as I arrive. I know the sales processing is complete around 2 a.m. so my expectation is that I can see the results first thing in the morning. Architecture | Model Schema This solution will use the DISCO methodology, outlined by @DavidSmith and will require one flat list and one system module. Step 1 | Anaplan Setup The first step is to create a flat list, a system module, and an import action in Anaplan Flat List | Administration This list is used to dimensionalize the system values. Importing data into a dimensionless model is fine for a data hub, but model to model imports is very challenging without at least one dimension. Action: Create a flat list called “Administration” and add one list item called “Value”. You can add a code “Value” if you prefer. System Module | SYS00 Date Properties | SYS00 Administration This module is used to hold the current date and any other system values. As a courtesy to the modelers that will support this application, I have also added a SYS00 Administration module that holds all the IDs and Names needed for the RESTful APIs. Action: Create a “SYS00 Date Properties” Module that uses only the “Administration” list. For this module, create one line item called “Current Date”, formatted as a date, and leave the date blank. Optional: Create “SYS00 Administration” Module that also uses only the “Administration” list. Create a line item for all the ID and Names you will need or the APIs. This also serves as a way to document your process. Note: The numbers shown below have been changed to illustrate the module. Import Action | Import Current Date To automate the process using Python, we will need to first create the import action in Anaplan manually. Then we will need to obtain the ID’s. Action: Create a CSV file template that looks like the following and import the file as “Everyone” into SYS00 Date Properties. Rename the import to “Import Current Date”. Then use Python or Postman to obtain the Import action ID and the Source System ID. Read @chase.hippen best practice article to learn how. Mapping is straight-forward. Just use the right date format for your locale. Step 2 | Python Setup For the Python part, we will have three steps: Create a CSV file, upload the file to Anaplan, run the import action in Anaplan. We will go ahead and create one Python script that runs all three processes, but we will separate out the IDs and the Authentication into separate files. So, we will create three Python files. Action: Create Python File 1 | getGUIDs Create a Python file called “getGUIDs.py”. This file will contain all the IDs for the API. Because we separated this, we can reuse it for other Python scripts. We need 6 variables defined (shown below). Note: The numbers have been changed for illustration purposes # getGUIDs.py # This script will hold the UIDs # Written by Jared Dolich # LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jareddolich/ # Anaplan: https://community.anaplan.com/t5/user/viewprofilepage/user-id/22354 # Retailitix March 2020 # # ======================= # Workspaces # ======================= # Jared Dolich Workspace wGuid = '8a81b013706ef346017116f999999999' # ======================= # Models # ======================= # Jared Dolich Workspace (COE) #-------------------------------------------------- # Retail Planning Demo mGuid ='7EDFAD91575949F999C7AB9999999999' # ======================= # Import Files # Jared Dolich Workspace # ======================= # Current Date dataSource = '113000000001' fileID = '112000000001' fileName = 'Import Current Date' csvFileName = 'C:/Users/jdoli/Box/Personal/Python/Anaplan/Retailitix/CurrentDate.csv' Action: Create Python File 2 | getAuthentication Create a Python file called “getAuthentication.py”. This file will hold the information necessary to authenticate the user for Anaplan. Note: this is for Basic Authentication. Ideally, you will use a CA certificate which I provide the code in the 3rd file. Separating this file allows you to secure it without worrying about anyone seeing your sensitive information. Note: the password has been changed to illustrate the code # getAuthentication.py # Written by Jared Dolich # LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jareddolich/ # Anaplan: https://community.anaplan.com/t5/user/viewprofilepage/user-id/22354 # Retailitix March 2020 # # This Script will hold the authentication values import base64 # Insert the Anaplan credentials username = '[Your Anaplan Login Email]' password = '[Your Password]' userBA = 'Basic ' + str(base64.b64encode((f'{username}:{password}').encode('utf-8')).decode('utf-8')) Action: Create Python File 3 | importCurrentDate Create a Python file called “importCurrentDate.py”. This script will run three processes: Create a CSV file with the system date; Upload the file to Anaplan; Run the import action to move the data from the import file to the module we created in Step 1. # This script creates a system date CSV file, uploads to Anaplan, then runs import action # Written by Jared Dolich # LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jareddolich/ # Anaplan: https://community.anaplan.com/t5/user/viewprofilepage/user-id/22354 # Retailitix March 2020 # # 3 Steps # 1. Create CSV file with system date using MM/DD/YYYY format (US format for Short Date) # 2. Upload the CSV file to Anaplan # 3. Run the Import action in Anaplan to update the module # Import Python Libraries import requests import base64 import sys import string import os import json import time import csv # Import System Variables from getAuthentication import userBA from getGUIDs import wGuid, mGuid, fileID, fileName, dataSource, csvFileName # Instantiate and Declare Variables timeStr = time.strftime("%m/%d/%Y") #Uses MM/DD/YYYY Can also add H, M, and S # File Data Variables - This is a 1 chunk import, so we don't need to use most of these fileData = { "id" : dataSource, "name" : csvFileName, "chunkCount" : 1, "delimiter" : ",", "encoding" : "", "firstDataRow" : 2, "format" : "", "headerRow" : 1, "separator" : "," } # Create the Upload URL and the Import URL uploadURL = (f'https://api.anaplan.com/1/3/workspaces/{wGuid}/models/{mGuid}/' + f'files/{fileData["id"]}') importURL = (f'https://api.anaplan.com/1/3/workspaces/{wGuid}/models/{mGuid}/' + f'imports/{fileID}/tasks') # ----------------------------- # STEP 1 - CREATE THE CSV FILE # ----------------------------- # Create the CSV File and add one row for that adds the current date # Two Columns: # Value - This is the single list item in the "Administration" List # Current Date - This stores the current date value with open(csvFileName, 'w', newline='') as f: fieldNames = ['Dimension', 'Current Date'] theWriter = csv.DictWriter(f, fieldnames=fieldNames) theWriter.writeheader() theWriter.writerow({'Dimension' : 'Value', 'Current Date' : timeStr}) # ------------------------------------ # Authentication - Select a Method... # ------------------------------------ # Use this authentication logic if you are using a CA Certificate # cert = open('cert.pem').read() # user = 'AnaplanCertificate ' + str(base64.b64encode(( # f'{username}:{cert}').encode('utf-8')).decode('utf-8')) # Use this authenticcation logic if you are using Basic Authentication putHeaders = { 'Authorization': userBA, 'Content-Type': 'application/octet-stream' } postHeaders = { 'Authorization': userBA, 'Content-Type': 'application/json' } # ------------------------------------- # STEP 2 - UPLOAD FILE TO ANAPLAN (PUT) # ------------------------------------- # Opens the data file (filData['name'] by default) and encodes it to utf-8 dataFile = open(fileData['name'], 'r').read().encode('utf-8') fileUpload = requests.put(uploadURL, headers=putHeaders, data=(dataFile)) # --------------------------------- # STEP 3 - RUN IMPORT ACTION (POST) # --------------------------------- # Runs an import action postImport = requests.post(importURL, headers=postHeaders, data=json.dumps({'localeName': 'en_US'})) Step 3 | Automate the Process For the last step I have chosen to use Windows Scheduler and create a task. You can really use any scheduling tool that can run a Python script. Action: Create a task in Windows Scheduler that runs at 4:00 AM every morning that runs the Python script. To accomplish this create a new task and set the properties the following way: General – Make sure you run the task as an administrator. Triggers – Set the trigger to run at 4:00 AM or whatever suits your business partner’s requirement. Actions – For the actions, you’ll need to specify where the Python.exe is located and where your Python script is located. In the “add arguments” section, make sure you put your path and file name in double quotes, as shown below. Unit Testing Well, we cannot really finish our development without testing our process. Whew! It worked. Conclusion As part of connected planning you will be asked by your business partner to apply logic that requires some type of knowledge about the current date. You can use the Anaplan RESTful API set to accomplish this goal. From here, you can import the system date model to model, from the data hub to the spoke applications if necessary. Congratulations!
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How to detect retail trends in Anaplan
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Retail Anaplanners! New functionality came out today 9/26/2020 that makes ordering lists much easier. Release Notes: https://community.anaplan.com/t5/Releases/What-s-New-September-26-2020/ba-p/85429 Documentation: https://help.anaplan.com/anapedia/Content/Modeling/Build%20Models/Actions/Order-list.html   A game changer for many use cases. I will show you an example plus a way to reorder a list subset. I'm sure many of you will have a more creative way to order the list subset so please share! First you have to create a module that uses the list, and only the list, that  you want to reorder. Add a line item that contains the order you wat - can be text or general number.  Create a Order List Action that uses that line item for that list. You cannot select a list subset. It must be a module that uses the complete list.   Run the action. Success! For List Subsets I created a module that uses the list subset and added a Boolean line item set to TRUE. In the module that uses the complete list I lookup the Boolean from the module using the subset list, as shown.   Blueprint:     Create the Action using the Final Order to Use Line Item   The module using the list subset is now reordered.  
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Anaplan Extends Intelligence Capabilities with PlanIQ for Predictive Forecasting and Agile Scenario Planning   September 15, 2020 New integration with Amazon Forecast arms business users with easy to understand machine learning-driven insights and predictions SAN FRANCISCO, CA, SEPTEMBER 15, 2020   — Anaplan, Inc. (NYSE: PLAN), provider of a cloud-native platform for orchestrating business performance, today announced PlanIQ, a new intelligence framework that delivers advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) capabilities for predictive forecasting and continuous, agile scenario modeling. Designed to make advanced analytics more accessible, Plan IQ produces insights that are explainable and predictions that can improve the accuracy of plans and drive confident decision-making. With PlanIQ, Anaplan customers have flexible access to multiple intelligence techniques such as native predictive capabilities and seamless integrations with third-party ML-based systems, including a new integration with Amazon Forecast – a fully managed service from Amazon Web Services (AWS) that uses ML to deliver highly accurate forecasts. This new integration allows business users across finance, supply chain, HR and sales to deliver precise forecasts. Anaplan PlanIQ builds on Anaplan’s powerful foundation of predictive algorithms, embedded intelligence, and analytics capabilities by placing AI, ML and advanced data science techniques in the hands of business analysts and operational leaders. Anaplan’s proprietary AI technology and native intelligence capabilities, including Predictive Insights, leverage both internal and third-party data to equip business leaders with the insights needed to uncover new opportunities and build strategic growth plans that optimize the business for long-term resilience. “Today’s pace of change makes it impossible for business leaders and their teams to rely on historical data for building accurate plans that anticipate the future,” said Ana Pinczuk, Chief Development Officer, Anaplan. “With PlanIQ, Anaplan customers can operate their business using connected, forward-looking plans built on predictive forecasting and agile scenario modeling, turning the ability to move quickly into a competitive edge.” Anaplan PlanIQ with Amazon Forecast Anaplan PlanIQ with Amazon Forecast is a fully managed solution that combines Anaplan’s powerful calculation engine with AWS’s market-leading ML and deep learning algorithms to generate reliable, agile forecasts without requiring expertise from data scientists to configure, deploy and operate. Based on the same ML technology used by Amazon.com, Amazon Forecast delivers more accurate predictions to Anaplan customers by pulling in data from Anaplan and automatically testing several deep learning algorithms before selecting the model optimized to generate the strongest forecast for a customer’s unique use case. By automating analysis, Amazon Forecast helps Anaplan customers drive greater inference from historical data, third-party data and forward-looking business metrics to uncover new insights fast, allowing business users to spend more time developing strategic plans based on highly accurate forecasts. “The way businesses forecast continues to be disrupted, and accessible intelligent forecasting is essential for high performing teams to successfully drive growth and mitigate risk amid volatility,” said Ankur Mehrotra, General Manager, AI Verticals, Amazon Web Services, Inc. “Anaplan PlanIQ with Amazon Forecast puts sophisticated ML algorithms based on the same technology used by Amazon.com into the hands of Anaplan customers to deliver precise forecasts for virtually any business condition.”
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This is a response I made to a question posed by @CommunityMember128799 in this post here. I thought it would be helpful to have it in our retail group knowledge base.   With regard to retail specifically, there are several themes you're going to want to take as it relates to FP&A and pretty much all finance related applications in Anaplan. I'm not going to mention the questions to ask for a specific FP&A use case (like how to consolidate the GL, or generate financial documents like income, balance sheet, cash flow and shareholder equity - assuming you already know that) but rather the nuanced nature of retail that will enable the processes in Anaplan: Note: I'm going to avoid some of the real estate planning as that is pretty generic to the industry. Inventory Valuation Accounting Financing Calendars | Time Master Data Inventory Valuation Inventory is the working capital for the retailer. While this theme can be lumped with Accounting there are some very specific questions related to inventory that need to be asked. You have to know which valuation method the retailer is using so you can utilize the historical transaction data. Typically, Finance will obtain forecasts from the merchandising team but the inventory valuations don't always align, nor do the calendars (discussed in another theme). To enable Anaplan, you have to make sure the inventory valuation is converted correctly in a common way. Do you use cost averaging, standard costing, or retail inventory method to value your inventory? If LIFO is used how is this reconciled with all the other inventory planning? How does the merchandising team value inventory?  How are you projecting the inventory receipts? What are the conditions that move inventory from unowned to owned? (owned means the inventory is the retailer responsibility and is moved from an open order to the stock ledger). Does the merchandising team provide Finance their projections using the same inventory accounting used by Finance? What differences are there and how/where is this reconciliation managed? Spreadsheet, 3rd Party Tool? Does the company utilize direct ship to stores or customers, or does all inventory get received in a distribution center? Accounting Explain how the stock ledger is maintained, how often is it updated, and what line items are needed, and how are they defined? Typical line items: Receipts, In-Transit, Net Sales, Markdowns (if RIM is used), Sales Discounts (if cost averaging is used), Shrinkage, Ending Inventory, Gross Margin Are imports utilized? How and where are all the cost components maintained? How is the currency exchange managed? Is there any hedging and how does that factor into the use case? What are all the sales channels used? Typical is wholesale, retail, and e-commerce but there's also leased departments (store in a store), concession, affiliate, outlet, close-out, franchise, and pop-ups. Are there any special accounting considerations needed? For example, the lease agreements with lessee's. How are store opening and store closing costs accounted for? How are the accruals maintained? Accounting rules used? Sensitivity to the data - who is able to see it? Do you need to consider comparable stores? Meaning a comparison between stores open last year that are open this year? Financing Explain the capital budgeting process? Rules of thumb for projection horizons? (this is needed for NPV calculations) Cash Management (needed for cash flow analysis). Collections, Disbursements, Banking, Investments, Currency Gain/Loss What are your typical Cash Sources: Net Sales, AR collections, credit card payments and interest, Layaway, Leased Depts, Vendor rebates, Investment income, property sales What are your typical Cash Uses: Inventory Purchases (once owned), Payroll, Rent, Lease settlements, Taxes, Insurance, Utility, Transportation, Advertising, Professional Services (you, most likely), Benefits, Bonuses, Capital expense, debt service, shareholder dividends Royalties? Can go both ways. Depends on who owns the brand. Do you need to use scenario planning - portfolio management? Is there an assignment of the initiative to an individual sponsor? How are the initiatives tracked to show performance and do you need any consolidation, rollups? What happens if the initiative is multi-year? Calendars | Time What is the calendar used by Finance? What is the calendar used by other planning teams upon which you rely? For example, merchandising will typically use a 445 calendar and Finance will use a Gregorian Calendar.  How are these calendars reconciled? If 445 is use, how is the 53rd week calculated and in which month is the extra week added? How is the 53rd week comp'ed? Is there any need for time zone conversions? Stores / transactions can be in different time zones. Daily light savings? How are holiday shifts handled? For example, Easter or Christmas? Any special considerations on how the Pandemic of 2020 should be handled? Master Data Describe the product hierarchy needed? Describe the location hierarchy needed? Describe the vendor hierarchy needed? Where are these hierarchies maintained and how reliable is the source? How frequently are they updated? Where are all the properties of the hierarchies maintained? Do any of them need to be maintained in Anaplan? What other hierarchies are needed? Do you need placeholder line items (e.g., a new cost center that hasn't been added yet but will be needed for planning)? What is the expectation in Anaplan with regard to a current hierarchy? Who has the authority to Add, update, delete (change) the hierarchy in Anaplan? How should discrepancies be handled in Anaplan? Additional Reading: Textbooks I highly recommend Retail Accounting and Financial Control, 5th Edition, Robert M. Zimmerman, John Wiley & Sons, 1990. Retail Auditing, A Practitioners Guide, Leo F. Griffin, John Wiley & Sons, 1998
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Hi Retail Team! Here's a handy cheat sheet for how to use SUM and LOOKUP using a retail use-case. I provide the use case and then implement it in Anaplan. I also use D.I.S.C.O using system modules so you get the best practice. Use Case 1 - Lookup User Story: SVP of Store Operations wants to provide top down guidance to the district managers on what her expectations are of the comp store's growth for next year. You will need to set each store’s growth initially to her target percentage. How does this look in Anaplan?   Use Case 2 - Sum User Story: As the merchandise analyst, the factory you committed to buying 10,000 Sweaters now needs the size breakout. To start your analysis, you will sum product sales by size. How does this look in Anaplan?
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