Forecasting can be performed in two different component groups in M3: Forecasting or Sales Statistics and Performance.

The forecast can be entered manually or calculated mathematically in both areas.

If you choose to forecast in Sales Statistics, you will have a greater freedom to choose in what dimensions you would like to work (i.e. sales per region and item). It's possible to build a dataset with up to 6 keyfields of your own choice, but in Forecasting, you forecast for the fixed combination of item/warehouse.

If the choice is to use Sales Statistics, you have to transfer the values to the Forecasting to be able to trigger the material plan. This means that if your dataset applies for sales per region and if you have more than one production plant (warehouse)/facility, you will have to distribute your original dataset to a dataset per production plant before transferring the values. This means that if we have two factories and we sell on five markets, we budget our sales per item and market in the first dataset then we have to distribute on how much of each item we want to produce per factory. We distribute one dataset to two. The next step is to transfer the values in the dataset to each warehouse. The transfer is only done from Sales Statistics to Forecasting, not in the opposite direction.

The triggering of the material plan can be done either by manual or mathematical forecast or a master demand schedule. You choose from what source your demand should come; this is set on your forecast logic (see documentation on Forecasting and MRP). It is your decision if you forecast on finished items, semi-finished, or raw material.

Trend and seasonal affects can be taken care of with predefined curves or by letting the system calculate values or index. Trend and seasonal curves can be attached to each item group. For product group, it's possible to attach seasonal curve. These curves have to be defined per division if it's MUC installation. (Different divisions probably means different markets and, accordingly, different trend and season)

It is possible to use several different automatic forecast methods and letting the system select the one with least error for next period (comparing forecasts).

This documentation will focus on the manual and mathematical forecast done in Forecasting and how to transfer from Sales Statistics.

General rules for forecast selection

What type of forecast is suitable to use? How do I know when to use manual or mathematical forecast? Should I use Master Demand Schedules (MDS) or not?

This list shows the types of forecast that are available:

See Manual Forecast

See Family Item

See Competing Forecasts

See Mathematical Forecasts

See Mathematical Forecast with Seasonal Influence

See Mathematical Forecast with Trend Quantity

See Forecast with Trend Factor

If you have commodity items with many independent demands and short accumulated lead times (planning time fence), it's possible to use mathematical forecast. If the planning time fence for an item is 3 months, it is not recommendable to use a mathematical forecast, because we recalculate the forecast for the current period each period. Doing this will have the effect that we don't have time enough to buy raw material and produce semi-finished items in time to produce according to the forecast. For purchased items, it may be advisable to use mathematical forecast, depending on the lead time.

Whether to use MDS or not, is more or less a question of who is making the forecast: The sales or production department. If the company is big and communication between sales and production is complex, it's likely to be the sales department. It's also possible to use the MDS as an extra step for the production to adjust the forecast to suit production before updating the material plan.

Example: Let's say that the forecast is 1000 in every period one year, and the economical order-quantity is 3000, then the MDS might be 3000 in period XX01, XX04, XX07 and XX10 instead of 1000 per month.

The forecasts methods are defined in 'Forecast Method. Open' (FCS300) or 'Sales Forecast Method. Open' (OSS430).

Before you start

The following prerequisites must be met:

Related topics