Data Structure for Customers, Locations and Products

In general, forecast value comes with a customer number, location number, and product number. A customer number represents a specific Customer entity, and a product number or SKU represents a specific Product. In practical situations, forecast, and also many cost- or revenue-related numbers are summarized by groups. For example, you can represent market segments in the data as customer groups, regions as location groups, product families as product groups.

The image below shows an example product hierarchy.


Take product grouping as an example. We can view data by: all products, product type, segment, series or each individual SKU. They are called *Reporting Level*.

The image below shows part of the Product Relation sheet in the input data, which defines the product structure. (This sheet is not a complete representation of the items named in the hierarchy diagram.)


Note that the Product column contains only group names while the SubProduct column can contain either group names or individual items.

Items in the SubProduct column are group names or individual items nested under the group item in the Product column.

The top part of the sheet defines what each Reporting Level includes. For example, when Reporting Level "Product Type", demand data is grouped into Laptop or Desktop.

The rest of Product Relation table is the information defining the actual product hierarchy. Note that "Model 1-2" is part of "Series 1", meanwhile it also belongs to "Gaming" segment.

Besides Product Relation sheet, Reporting Level also needs definition in Product Definition sheet:


In every phase, you can choose any level to view the data. To help you get started, the suggested levels of product groupings shown in each phase are shown in the table below.



Demand Plan


Demand Review


Supply Review

Product Series