Forward Ordering

Your customers are placing orders for items you don’t yet have in stock. You want to know the total of items ordered (but not yet shipped), so that you can be sure that you have ordered enough from your suppliers, or so that you can plan your purchases for the next season.

You then (optionally) receive this inventory from your factory; FOB/ in transit, and want to allocate the inventory across the customer orders, and find out if you have any left - before it arrives in your main warehouse. You want to be able to sell any excess inventory whilst the consignment is in transit to you, but not sell any more than you have due to arrive.

We’ll create “virtual warehouses” and use the Brightpearl inventory reports to show you exactly what’s available, what’s been allocated and what you need to buy. Your business will probably not fit this workflow exactly, but you can use it as inspiration for your own setup.

  1. Turn on multi-warehouse
    Settings > Products & inventory > Inventory settings
  2. Create a warehouse called “factory”
    Whilst the sales orders are being collected from customers and the products are yet to be delivered to you, it’s a good idea to ring-fence the quantity on sales orders away from your other reports.
  3. Create a warehouse called “In transit”
    This will be used to record the inventory once it’s been finished at the factory.
  4. Create / update your sales orders
    Assign them all to the “factory” warehouse. You’ll have to do this one at a time as there’s no batch update warehouse feature.
  5. Set a minimum stock level for all your products
    You need to do this so that the products appear on your low inventory report. As long as the value you set is above the maximum amount of inventory you will be receiving into any of your warehouses, you’ll be OK. You can batch update the minimum stock level for a number of products at once either by spreadsheet, or from the product list (select products, choose “Tick items then choose” and select “Set reorder threshold”). Check that the products appear at Products > Low stock report.

Once you have some sales set to the factory warehouse, you’ll see the products on the Low stock report under the “open sales” column. This is the total of unallocated items on orders assigned to that warehouse. If that’s all you need to report on, then you’re done! You can filter the report by brand or category, and export this list to Excel for further reporting.

Tracking inventory in transit from factory

Once you’ve received the Bill of Lading for your factory, and the goods are safely on board the ship, you may wish to record these within your system, perhaps so that the value shows on your balance sheet, or perhaps so that you can start allocating limited inventory to specific customers.

  1. Create the Purchase Order
    You should have done this when you first placed it with the supplier, but if you hadn’t, now is the time! Make sure the PO is set to your “in transit” warehouse. Before you receive the inventory into this warehouse, have a look at the product list screen - you can see the “on order” value shows that the items are due to arrive, along with the delivery date and PO number.
  2. Receive the inventory
    From the Purchase Order screen, receive the items into your “in transit” warehouse. This is the point at which they will show on your balance sheet. They will also now show as part of the “in stock” figure on the product list, so you’ll need to make sure all your team understand that they need to drill into that to see which warehouse(s) the items are in.
  3. Assign sales orders to the “in transit” warehouse
    And allocate the inventory to the sales. You are now starting to assign inventory to specific customers, and can juggle any deficit or excess using a variety of reports, all filtered to just show sales and inventory for the “in transit” warehouse. You can use the filters on the sales list to show all sales for this warehouse that are not or part-fulfilled, plus any other filters you might want to add.

Shipping goods when the consignment arrives

There are a couple of options here. One is to transfer all the inventory into your main (shipping) warehouse and then put them into your standard goods-out flow, and the other is to retain a separate warehouse in Brightpearl whilst orders ship, and then only transfer any excess into the main warehouse when shipping is complete. The latter is quicker and more importantly retains the allocation of limited inventory to the orders you have selected, so we’ll look at how to do that now.

  1. Consignment arrives in your warehouse
    You don’t need to transfer inventory into your main warehouse; we’ll just fulfill and ship from the in-transit warehouse. Perhaps change the name of the warehouse to indicate to your staff that it’s actually now on site.
  2. Fulfill orders
    Because you’ll already have allocated stock to the orders, you will be able to fulfill them. Select all orders for the “in transit” warehouse that are fully allocated, and either batch fulfill from the sales list, or open each one and fulfill one by one (don’t forget that to set a shipping method on a goods out note, you need to either have set it on the sales order to inherit with batch fulfillment, or choose one when fulfill one by one).
  3. Pick pack and ship
    You’ll need to let your warehouse know that they can now also pick pack and ship goods out notes on the “in transit” warehouse.
  4. Transfer remaining inventory into your main warehouse
    Assuming that all your forward orders are shipped (you can check this with the filters on the sales list), and there is still some inventory left over, transfer it into your main warehouse with an inter-warehouse transfer.

Multiple consignments in transit

It’s unlikely you’ll just have one consignment in transit, so you may need to create a number of “in transit” warehouses. We suggest that you give them a useful name; usually the consignment number and perhaps a delivery date, for example “March 23 A793456”. Once all items have been shipped and the remainder transferred into your main warehouse, you can reuse this warehouse for the next consignment by changing the name.

Note that you can’t delete a warehouse once it’s had inventory pass through it, so don’t go overboard creating new warehouses unless you really need them.

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