This post will discuss the implementation of 'Urgent Planning' within the Epicor MRP module.
The post covers versions 10 up to 10.1.6.
Urgent Planning is intended to allow Epicor users to nominate a supplier to use in the case when goods are deemed an urgent requirement.
Required Site Configuration
In order to use urgent planning you need to set 'Allow Consumption of Minimum Qty' site parameter to true.
This parameter can be found in the following screen: System Setup -> Company -> Site Maintenance. You need to select the 'Planning' tab.
Required Part Site Configuration
Within a part it is necessary to set up both a primary supplier and an urgent supplier.
Caution: As of version 10.1.6, if no urgent supplier is defined, then MRP will look at the approved suppliers defined in the supplier price list and will choose the supplier based purely on the position of the record within the database. MRP selects the first record.
Key Concepts in Urgent Planning
An Urgent Requirement: An urgent requirement in Epicor MRP is defined as a point in time when a part goes below the minimum level within the lead time of the primary supplier.
Urgent Due Date: As soon as MRP deems a requirement as urgent it will raise a PO suggestion based upon the date the part will go below zero.
For example, if a part has a primary supplier with a lead time of 30 days and a urgent supplier with a lead time of 7 days, MRP will consider a requirement as urgent if it is required within 30 days.
Once MRP has deemed the requirement as urgent, it will look ahead to when the part will go below zero and then use this as the due and calculate the order by date based upon the lead time of urgent. In the example above this would be seven days prior to an order going below zero.
Potential Issues with Urgent Planning
- Risk of Running Parts Down to Zero - A side affect of using urgent planning is that once a part has gone below the lead time.
- Dynamic Requirements - some business have very predictable demand, for others, forecasting is less reliable. As urgent planning replenishes when a part reaches zero, unforeseen orders can quickly move the date that a part goes below zero, which is not such a problem if it is within your urgent supplier lead time, however, if the part goes below zero within the lead time of the urgent supplier, then you will see a period of time when a part goes below zero.
- Reliability of Supply Chain - due to urgent planning replenishing at zero, your supply chain needs to be reliable. If your urgent supplier delivers late, then stock will be below zero in time phase for the period until the stock arrives.
- Poor Data Quality - Whilst this is not failing of urgent planning, there are potential risk of not having accurate urgent supplier data. If no urgent supplier is defined then the system will select a supplier on a fairly arbitrary basis (i.e. the first record in the database). If a part does not have an urgent supplier, I would recommend duplicating your primary supplier info in the urgent supplier fields to mitigate the risk of erroneous records been used.
Urgent planning is not something to be implemented without a lot of consideration.
If you can mitigate the risks in the 'Potential Issues' section then it can provide a way of ensuring your supply chain.
Personally, I would want to be able to set urgent planning at 'Part Plant' level rather than at 'Site'.
Some parts may suit urgent, others don't.
For now, I would leave urgent planning out of MRP unless you can mitigate the risk of going below zero.