Channel & Location planning can be complex - Clusters help to make the planning process easier. In order to distribute your line plans down to the Location level in Assortment Planning, Toolio utilizes Clusters. This article provides an overview of Clusters indexed below for easy reference:
What are Clusters?
Clusters are best thought of as groups of locations. For example, you may want to categorize a list of locations as your Tier 1 Stores, another list of locations as Tier 2 Stores, and group warehouses as a Warehouse specific location group.
Cluster Spreads allow you to do this easily in Toolio AP by distributing your Assortment Plan Line into multiple Clusters, which can then be spread to the locations beneath each Cluster.
Cluster Planning in Toolio involves 3 distinct components. Before we dive in, let's get familiar with each component:
Inventory locations attributed to a single cluster
Store 1, Store 2, Store 3, Warehouse 1
Group of locations
Tier 1 Stores, Tier 2 Stores, Warehouses
Group of clusters
Retail, Web, Wholesale
The terminology used hereafter will be directly referencing each of the 3 components.
Once your Clusters are fully configured (steps shown below, here), you'll be able to start using planning in AP with Clusters.
Assign Cluster Spread
To get started, make sure that the Cluster attribute is added to your view in Assortment Plan and that you've finished planning all values for your Assortment Plan Items.
Next, you can select any Cluster Spread from the drop down menu. In this example, we are assigning The Cluster Spread of Retail to our Assortment Plan line.
Manage Spreads - View Clusters
Once a Cluster Spread is assigned, you can see the Clusters in the Spread menu, with the number between parentheses representing the number of Locations associated with each Cluster. You'll also find that the percentages here are aligned with the Cluster Weights you configure in Step 3 below and serve to distribute the Total Units between the Clusters:
In this example, our Retail Cluster Spread consists of 2 Clusters: Tier 1 Stores and Tier 2 Stores, which each have 2 Locations. Since Tier 1 Stores and Tier 2 Stores are each configured to carry 50% Weight of the Retail Cluster Spread, we also see that the 1420 Total Units are distributed evenly across the Clusters.
Manage Spreads - View Locations
Now that we've seen how the values are distributed down to the Cluster level, we can also see the values at the Location level. To enable this feature, check the Break down by location checkbox within the manage spreads menu.
As a result, you will find that the Cluster Spreads are now displayed at the Location level, with the associated Cluster represented in parentheses. You will also find that the distribution reflects the Locations and Weights you configure in Step 5 below for each Cluster:
In this case, we configured Store-1 and Store-2 Locations to live beneath the Tier 1 Stores Clusters, with weights of 40 and 60, respectively. As a result, we see that 40% of Tier 1 Stores' 710 units are allocated to Store-1, and 60% are allocated to Store-2. Please note that the % of TTL represented in the spread menu is reflective of the total units of the Assortment Plan Item across all Clusters.
Before you proceed with configuring Clusters, please make sure to reach out to your Customer Success team to ensure that this feature is enabled on your account. Your CSM will also make sure that your locations are all configured correctly. Once you have the green light, there are just a few steps you'll need to follow to configure Clusters:
Navigate to your Settings > Data Management > Options menu. You'll need to make sure that the Option for the 'Cluster' attribute is configured with all possible Clusters you'd like to use in your Cluster Spread configuration.
Configure Cluster Spreads
Navigate to the Settings > Data Management > Spreads menu and click click Add. Here, you'll be prompted to define 2 fields:
Spread Name - the Cluster Spread name you'd like to use
Option - select Cluster, and click Create, making sure not to check the Has Location Mapping box
Congrats, you've just created the Cluster Spread level. From here, we'll want to distribute values from the Cluster Spread down to the Clusters themselves.
Assign Clusters & Weights
To do this, click 'Add' on the top right corner. You'll be prompted to define 2 values:
Spread Value - This dropdown will allow you to select any Cluster you configured in Step 1
Spread Weight - the percentage you'd like to allocate to the Cluster. If you'd like to assign 60% of the value of the Cluster Spread to the specific Cluster , for example, you'd input 50 for Spread Weight if you wanted to assign 50% of the Retail Cluster Spread to the Tier 1 Stores Cluster.
Repeats steps a and b until your Weights for all Clusters total 100. You should see all of your Clusters and their Weights in the Cluster Spread table like this:
Now that we've defined the relationship between Cluster Spread > Cluster, all that's left is our final step of spreading Cluster> Location.
Spread to Location
Navigate back to the Settings > Data Management > Spreads menu and click Add once more. You'll be prompted with the same menu as Step 2.
Spread Name - Input 'Cluster x Location' here
Option - select Cluster
Make sure to check the Has Location Mapping box - click Create
Assign Location Values & Weights
Now that we've created our Location spread, we need to assign values and weights. Please note that each location can only be associated with a single cluster.
To begin, click 'Add' on the top right corner. You'll be prompted to define 2 values:
Spread Value - This dropdown will allow you to select any Cluster you configured in Step 1.
Spread Weight - the percentage you'd like to allocate to the Location from a given Cluster. If you'd like to assign 20% of the value of the Cluster (i.e. Tier 1 Stores) to the specific Location (Store-1, for example) you'd input 20 for Spread Weight. Please note that these percentages are relative only to the Clusters.
Repeat steps a and b, making sure that each Cluster has Location Weights totaling 100. Please note that each location can only be tied to a single, distinct Cluster.
When completed, your Cluster X Location table will look something like this:
That's it! Now you're all set to start using Clusters in Assortment Plan.
How do I create new Cluster Spreads?
In order to create new Cluster Spreads, repeat Steps 2 & 3 referenced above. All Cluster Spreads will use the Cluster X Location spreads defined in Step 5.
How do I add new Clusters?
To add new Clusters, refer to Step 1 above. You will need to add new values directly beneath the 'Cluster' option in Settings > Data Management > Options. From there, you'll need to add Clusters to your Cluster Spreads, as well as define Cluster > Location Spreads to include any new Clusters.