Forecast

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Icon.Forecast.png The Forecast module, located in the General group, is an add-on module that can be installed from the Small.Plugin.png Plugin module. After installing the plugin, a new module is added that uses historical data to forecast future sales, quantities, and costs.

Forecast.png

Video

The documentation on this page is for the most recent version of the Forecast plugin. To update, see Update Fishbowl.

Install

  1. In any Fishbowl Client, open the Small.Plugin.png Plugin module, located in the Integrations group.
  2. Select the Forecast plugin and click Install Now.
  3. Completely close all Fishbowl Clients.
  4. Exit the Fishbowl Server by right-clicking the Fishbowl Server tray icon and selecting Exit.
  5. After re-opening the Fishbowl Server, the admin user can access the Small.Forecast.png Forecast module from any Fishbowl Client by opening the General module group.
  6. To grant access to additional users, open the Small.User Group.png User Group module and assign the Forecast-View right to the appropriate groups as explained here.

Filters

Forecast Module Filters.png

The Filters pane is used to select the data used for forecasting, the date range, and the type of chart.

  • Display Data - Select the type of data that will be analyzed and forecast:
    • Sales - Uses the sales price of inventory that has been sold.
    • Quantity - Uses the quantity of inventory that has been sold, scrapped, and consumed on work orders.
    • Cost - Uses the cost of inventory that has been sold.
  • Part - Select the part that will be used for forecasting. Leave the field blank to include all parts.
  • Location Group - Select the location group that will be used for forecasting. To include all location groups, select <All> or leave the field blank.
  • Combine Location Groups - If checked, the location groups will be combined into one line on the chart.
  • Formula - Below are some common uses for each formula. For more information, hover over an image, click an image, or click a link.
    • Constant Average - Draws a straight line using the average or mean of the data.
      Example: This formula may be helpful when the future is likely to follow a constant historical average.
      Constant Average & Line Graph
    • Linear Regression - Draws a straight line through the "middle" of the data points.
      Example: This formula may be helpful when the future is likely to follow a long-term trend.
      Linear Regression & Line Graph
    • Exponential Moving Average - Draws a wavy line that reacts to each data point. This allows the most recent trends to strongly affect the forecasted line.
      Example: This formula may be helpful when the future is likely to follow the most recent trends.
      Exponential Moving Average & Scatter Plot
  • Growth - Optionally, add an additional growth percentage adjustment to the forecasting.
  • Date Range - Select the historical date range that will be used in the calculation and the future date range to forecast.
    • The dates can overlap to achieve overlapping lines on the chart. Changing the forecast start date will not affect the outcome of the forecast line, except when using Constant Average & Accumulation. In this case, since the accumulation begins on the forecast start date, the dates should overlap to continue forecasting the total for the current period.
      Constant Average & Accumulation
      To reset the total and start forecasting for a new time period, the dates should not overlap.
      Constant Average & Accumulation Not Overlapped
  • Chart Type - Below is a description of each chart type. For more information, hover over an image, click an image, or click a link.
    • Line Graph - Shows fluctuation by connecting the data points with a line.
      Example: This chart type may be helpful when comparing time intervals (this month vs last month).
      Line Graph
    • Accumulation - Shows the running or cumulative total by adding each data point to the previous total.
      Example: This chart type may be helpful when looking at total calculations (MTD, YTD, etc.).
      Accumulation
    • Scatter Plot - Shows the same data points as the line graph but without the line.
      Example: This chart type may be helpful when used with overlapping dates so that the data points can be easily compared to the forecasted line.
      Scatter Plot
  • Group By - Select the time interval displayed on the graph: Day, Week, Month, or Year. Changing the time interval can have a large impact on the forecast line because it changes the data points. This is especially true when using Exponential Moving Average. Changing the interval will also affect which average is displayed when using Constant Average & Line Graph, for example a daily average vs. a monthly average.
  • Save filters - Use the buttons at the bottom of the Filters pane to load and save the filters.

Forecast combinations

By combining different formulas, chart types, dates, and intervals, many combinations are possible. Below are several possible combinations. To achieve overlapping lines, set the Forecast Date to include the Reference Date. For more information, hover over an image, click an image, or click a link.

Line Graph
Blue dots are connected
Accumulation
Running total
Scatter Plot
Blue dots are not connected
Constant Average

No trend.
Straight line using the average (mean) of the data.
Constant Average & Line Graph
Actual quantity with line
Average of the quantities
Constant Average & Accumulation
Actual quantity as running total
Average compounded as running total
Constant Average & Scatter Plot
Actual quantity without line
Average of the quantities
Linear Regression

Overall trend.
Straight line through the "middle" of the data points.
Linear Regression & Line Graph
Actual quantity with line
Straight trend line for quantity
Linear Regression & Accumulation
Actual quantity as running total
Straight trend line as running total
Linear Regression & Scatter Plot
Actual quantity without line
Straight trend line for quantity
Exponential Moving Average

Recent trend.
Wavy line that reacts to each data point.
Exponential Moving Average & Line Graph
Actual quantity with line
Wavy trend line for quantity
Exponential Moving Average & Accumulation
Actual quantity as running total
Wavy trend line as running total
Exponential Moving Average & Scatter Plot
Actual quantity without line
Wavy trend line for quantity

For mathematical descriptions of the formulas, see Constant Average, Linear Regression, and Exponential Moving Average.

Chart

  • The chart can be zoomed and dragged using the mouse.
  • Hover over a data point to see the corresponding data.

Forecast Chart.png

Customize tables

The tables in the Small.Forecast.png Forecast module can be customized in several ways. Customizing the tables does not change the chart, but does affect the data that is exported.

  • Columns can be dragged, sorted, and hidden.
  • The table can be filtered by clicking on the right side of any column header.
    Forecast filter table.png
    • Click (All) to select or unselect all entries.
    • Click an individual entry to show or hide it in the results.
    • Click (Custom...) to add a custom filter to the results.
      Forecast module custom filter.png
  • Click the Export to .xls Icon Button.png Export to .xls button or the Export to .csv Icon Button.png Export to .csv button to export the data that is currently in the table.
    Forecast Copy data.png
  • To copy a single row, click the row and then press Ctrl + C.
  • To copy all rows, press Ctrl + A and then press Ctrl + C.
  • To copy consecutive rows, click and drag the mouse over the rows and then press Ctrl + C.
  • To copy non-consecutive rows, hold down the Ctrl key while clicking each row and then press Ctrl + C.

TABS

Forecast tab
Forecast Forecast Tab.png
Chart Data tab
Forecast Chart Data Tab.png
Raw Data tab
Forecast Raw Data Tab.png

Release Notes

1.5 - 4/4/2017 - Fishbowl 2017.2
  • Fixed issue where data is pulled incorrectly in the graph and chart data fields
1.4 - 3/9/2017 - Fishbowl 2017.1
  • Fixed issue where quantity available and difference fields do not populate