XpertMart (mr) Autodistribution

    Autodistribution can be used to replenish stores from one or more warehouses or it can be used to balance inventory between various stores and warehouses.

    The Autodistribution module's purpose is to distribute merchandise in the most optimum quantities between two or more inventory locations. Optimum inventory distribution is that which takes stock as close as possible to the quantities established as minimums or ideal inventory. That is to avoid as much as possible, that an item's on hand stock be either below or above the established minimum stock quantity for that store or warehouse.

    The Autodistribution module can also distribute merchandise in prepacks defined as a box containing a single style and single color in varying quantities of various sizes.

Origen of the Distributed Merchandise

    If you run Autodistribution from the main then you can specify one, several or all of the warehouses and stores as sources of merchandise to distribute.

    If you run Autodistribution from a warehouse or store remote then it is automatically assumed that the store or warehouse will be the source of the merchandise to distribute.

    In any case the merchandise in stock that is above the minimum established for that particular warehouse(s)  or store(s) is the merchandise that is available for distribution. The autodistribution module will never transfer away stock that is needed in the source location for it to have up to the minimum stock specified.

Destination of the Distributed Merchandise

    When you run Autodistribution from the main or any remote warehouse or store, you can specify one, several or all of the stores and warehouses as destinations for distributed merchandise.

Type of Merchandise to Distribute

    You use the merchandise selector in XpertMart with XpertQuery to determine if you want to automatically distribute all types of merchandise or only certain types of merchandise.

Distribution Criteria

    In order to assure the most optimum distribution, XpertMart grades each possible transfer or each individual item from a warehouse or store to another warehouse or store. The grade is made up of two parts. First it grades how much a possible transfer would help lower excess inventory (inventory above the minimum) if any at the origin. Then it grades how much a possible transfer would help raise the destinations inventory closer to or exactly to its minimum. The sum of these two grades it the total grade for that possible transfer. If there is more than one possible combination of origin and destination for an identical item, then all possible combinations are graded and the transfer is made for the option with the highest total grade.

    When prepacks are to be distribuited, each item within the prepack is graded and then the sum of the grades of all the items is the grade of the prepack. Prepacks are graded against every possible origin and destination as is done with individual items and the transfer is made for the origin and destination with the highest grade.

    Optionally the autodistribution process can recommend when it would be most convenient to break a prepack and send individual items to different stores or warehouses if that would give you the most optimum distribution.

    Further on we explain the grading process in detail and we will show an example of how it works.

Distribution Process

    First of all, if any or the stores or warehouses to be used as a source of merchandise to distribute has prepack stock, then a test is made to see if any of the prepacks fills the distribution requirements of any of the destination stores or warehouses. You can configure Autodistribution to specify the minimum grade that a possible prepack transfer must have to  be sent. Every prepack transfer that meets this minimum grade will be transferred.

    After distributing any prepacks that can be transferred, Autodistribution then proceeds to distribute the single items.

    Each item available for distribution is sent to the store or warehouse that gets the highest grade above zero. It does this until there are no more item available for distribution that are needed at any store or warehouse.

Distribution Method

    If the automatic distribution is run from the main then the distribution will be done via proposed transfer slips that will be synched to the warehouses or stores that would transfer out the merchandise. At the remotes there is the option of processing the autotransfers which would make an Out Slip for every Proposed Out Slip.

    If Automatic Distribution is run from a remote then you can decide if you want to generate Proposed Out Slips or directly make Out Slips.

An Example of Grading and Automatic Distribution

    To make sure that items are distributed from places where they are in most excess to the place where they are most needed, XpertMart grades each possible transfer giving it points so how much it is overstocked at the point of origin and how much it is understocked at the point of destination. This actually a very simple system. If the place of origin the are three items more than the minimum then the possible transfer is given three points for its origin. If at the destination the item is four pieces below its minimum then the possible transfer is given four point for its destination. In this case the possible transfer has a score of seven points.
    Here we show you a sheet that shows the example of a chain of nine stores, with the stock and minimums of each. In the totals column you can see that there is a total of twelve items understocked and a total of six items overstocked. You can see in the case of the first transfer that it gets a score of seven points.

Merchandise Transfer Grading 1

    On this second sheet we can see how the inventory is after the first transfer and which is the second transfer that Autodistribution would make. You will notice that the transfer gets two points for its origin and three points for it destination which gives it a total grade of five points.

Merchandise Transfer Grading 2

    On this third sheet we can see how inventory looks after the second transfer and what would be the third transfer to be made. You will notice that the transfer receives two points for its origin and two points for its destination giving it a total score of four.

Merchandise Transfer Grading 3

    On this final sheet we can see how te inventory would be after transferring all the excess inventory to the stores where it is most needed.

Merchandise Transfer Grading 4
    The result of the automatic distribution is that there is no longer any overage of stock left of this item and there are only six pieces understocked instead of the original twelve pieces.

    Consider that all of this is done just for one item of a certain Style / Color / Size / Second Size. XpertMart will do this for the thousands of articles that you normally handle in a chain of stores.

Prepack Grading

    We grade prepacks in a similar fashion to see which origin and destination is the best. In the case of prepacks it may be that one or more or the items in the prepack may take the on hand stock over the quantity established as a minimum or the item being transfered may already be over the minimum. In these cases we give negative grades or take away points. If a particular item in the prepack is already at its minimum level then the item in the prepack will make it go over by one so we give this item a grade of minus one (-1). If for example a particular item in the prepack has on hand stock two above minimum then this item will take the on hand stock to three over minimum so we give this item a grade of minus three (-3)

    The total grade for the prepack is made up of the sum of the grades of each of the items in the prepack. Negatives are added to positives. It may be that several high grades of items will balance out one or more negative grades.

    The objective here is as stated above: That is to avoid as much as possible, that an item's on hand stock be either below or above the established minimum stock quantity for that store or warehouse.

    The prepack transfer that has the highest grade is the prepack transfer that will be made. In the same fashion as with single items, Autodistribution will make the transfers of prepacks with the highest grades until there are no more prepacks available for distribution, or there are no more items needed at destinations or it only has prepacks whose transfer would not reach the minimum grade specified in the configuration as required to make transfer.

Grading to Break a Prepack

    There may be cases in which the items contained in a prepack as a group would so overstock any store it was sent to that it would always have a low or even negative grade. After doing the automatic transfer of single items (items not in prepacks) XpertMart Autodistribution could test to see if it is best to break open a prepack and send separate items to more than one store. In the same way Autodistribution has graded possible single items and prepack transfers, in this step it grades every item in the prepack box against all possible destinations to see what is the highest grade it can get from every item in the prepack box. If the prepack gets a high grade in this manner it means that the needs of several locations would be best met by breaking the prepack box and sending individual items to different destinations. If you have configured your system to allow breaking prepacks then Autodistribution will generate a Prepack Break Document. At the same time it will include many of the items that are in the prepack box in the single item transfer slips. (It will only transfer all the items in the prepack box if they all would receive a positive grade. This is to avoid overstocking.)


    There are some configurable options regarding Autodistribution. To modify these configuration options  you choose Configure / Configure Station from the main menu as you can see in this screen shot.

Menu Station Configure

    Once Configure Station opens you need to select Autodistribution on the left side as shown in this screen shot.

Configure Autodistribution

    The first two options are to choose if you want to “Use lineal grading system for prepacks” or “Grade prepacks on a curve”. We strongly recommend that you use a curved grading system rather than a lineal system. All the examples given above were given based on a curved grading system. The curved system give plus or minus points based on how much under or over stocked an item is. Thus in the examples grades of 3 or -2. In a lineal grading system each item would be either 1 or -1 irregardless of how much under or overstock there was at a given location.

    The third option is to specify the minimum grade that a prepack must have for it to be transferred.  The grade is expressed as a percentage. If a prepack has 12 items in it and gets a grade of 12 then it would have a 100% grade. If a prepack has 12 items and gets a grade of 9 point then it would have a 75% grade.

    The fourth option will be implemented in the future. In this case you will not subtract points from a transfer unless the transfer would go over the maximum defined for the item en this store.

    The last option is the percentage grade the a potential prepack break should receive before it breaks the prepack to send the loose items to the stores. If the items that are in the prepack do not get at least this grade, then XpertMart will not recommend breaking the prepack.


    To run Autodistribution you select the option from the main menu under Processes / Transfers / Autodistribution as can be seen in this image.

Process Autodistribution

    The options that will be displayed are going to vary depending on whether you run Autodistribution at the Main or at a Remote. The options will also vary depending on whether you have configured your system to handle prepacks or not. In this first screen shot we will see the options presented at the Main when you have configured to use Prepacks.

AutoDistribution Parameters 1

    In the sample above you only need to select whether you want to print the transfer or proposed transfer slips as they are generated or not. Then you select whether you want to distribute single items or not and in the same fashion whether you want to distribute perpacks or not. You will get the most optimum distribution if you choose to distribute both prepacks and single items at the same time, that is if you are using prepacks in your company. If you select both single items and prepacks then Autodistribution will first seek to distribute prepacks and then single items. (If single items are distributed first there will be less need for merchandise and it will be harder to find a prepack that can be transferred that will fill stock needed in the store without going over the minimum stock specified.)

    In this second dialog window we can see what options will be available if Autodistribution is run from a remote and the system is configured to handle prepacks.

Autodistribution parameters 2

    The first three options are the same as we explained above. The fourth option allows us to select whether we want to break prepacks to distribute the single items in the prepack  or not. This option will only be available on remotes that are configured to track inventory by prepacks. At a remote we can select whether we want to generate Proposed Out Slips or actual Out Slips. (At the main you cannot generate Out Slips that is why at the main Proposed Out Slips will always be generated.)

    Once you have answered this initial dialog, you will be presented with the Merchandise Selector so that you can choose what merchandise to select. The Merchandise Selector looks like this:

Merchandise Selector

    With the Merchandise Selector you can choose the merchandise based on Vendor, Department, Lines, Season or any combination of the tables of characteristics of the merchandise. If you want to distribute all kinds of merchandise then all you have to do is click on the Ok button. Remember, in any case only the merchandise whose on hand stock is less than the minimum at a destination is going to be transferred. No merchandise will be distributed that is not above the minimum at the source location and below minimum at the destination location.

    If you run Autodistribution from the main then the merchandise can come from one or more of the warehouses or stores. If you run this from the main then you will see the Store Selector so that you can choose which warehouses or stores will be sources for the merchandise to distribute.

Store Selector Origin

    You can use any of the characteristics of the stores to choose which stores will be sources from which to supply merchandise for the distribution. If you want to send merchandise from all the stores (for example to balance inventory in all the stores) then all you have to do is click Ok.

    Both at the main or a remote you can choose the stores to which the merchandise will be distributed. In order to do this the next window will display a Store Selector to choose to which stores the merchandise will be sent to. You can see the store selector here:

Store Select Destination

    If you wish to send merchandise to all the stores then all you have to do is click on Ok. If you only want to send merchandise to some stores then you use the store selector to choose to which stores. It is important to note that you will get a more optimum distribution if you distribute to several stores at a time because Autodistribution can then decide which is the store that most requires the merchandise.    

    The Autodistribution process generates Slips as an output be they Out Slips or Proposed Out Slips. If you directly make Out Slips then all you have to do is gather up actual merchandise and send it with the Out Slips to the stores specified in the Out Slips.

    If Autodistribution generated Proposed Out Slips at the main then these Proposed Out Slips will be synchronized out to each store. If the process created Proposed Out Slips at a remote then they are right there in the database at the store.

    You can look at the Proposed Out Slips under Documents / Transfers / Proposed Slips (or Proposed Prepack Slips). There you can also run reports to see what Proposed Slips you have.

    To make a transfer based on a Proposed Out Slip we open Transactions / Transfers / Out Slips. On the left top part we see the field Proposed Out Slip Number as can be seen in this screen shot.

    Once you write the Proposed Slip number in this field the system is going to look for this proposed slip. If the systems finds the Proposed Slip then it is doing to fill in the Out Slip on the screen with all the items and information from the Proposed Slip. Then you will be able to edit quantities, erase or add lines as you wish. Ideally you would just gather exactly what is specified on the  Out Slip to transfer it and only make a change if you cannot find an item specified on the Out Slip. Why? Remember that Auto Distribution has taken into account a lot more information than you may have at hand to decide to make this transfer.