It would not be appropriate to expose you to the full sophistication of the stock allocation mechanism here. Instead, just a few key ideas will be mentioned to give you a flavour of what it can do.

Firstly, there are three types of stock: physical, WIP and planned. Physical actually exists. This is referred to as done stock. WIP is stock that is on order but either hasn’t arrived from the supplier yet or hasn’t been made yet. This is referred to as committed. Planned stock is stock you expect to need in the future but hasn’t been ordered yet. This is referred to as reserved. When looking for stock to allocate to a job, the scheduler will use free physical before WIP, and WIP before planned. Only when all three of these options are exhausted will the scheduler try to make up the shortfall by buying or making more.

Secondly, the system is aware of the dimensions of your bars, extrusions and sheets and calculates yields for their use when making things. The process of calculating these yields is referred to as tessellation. When allocating stock that is a bar, extrusion or sheet, it calculates what must be issued and expects the excess to be returned. For example, if you are making one widget that requires a panel 6” by 6”, and you have in stock 9” by 6”, the scheduler will issue the whole sheet to the job and expect an off-cut of 3” by 6” as a return. Consideration of tolerances, cutting losses, parting-off losses, bar ends and clamping areas can all be specified when tessellating.

Next, when presented with a choice of stock that could be allocated, it will choose the soonest-to-expire stock first, then the smallest that will fit the requirement, then the oldest.

And finally, you can specify that a job is not allowed to mix batches of raw material. In this case, only stock from a single batch is allocated to a job. If a job requires more than is available in a single batch, it can be split into separate works orders, with a single batch being allocated to each one. This is useful if your customer requires that their finished batches are not made from a mixture of raw material batches.