Short Read:

The latest release of the Blue Yonder Category Management Suite became available January 12, 2021. The news for the 2020.1.1 release falls into three distinct buckets: 
  • New steps in the long march to becoming a full SaaS solution, including the first release of Space Planning Web and expanded APIs 
  • New user experience updates and a focus on issue resolution to keep your existing software visually effective and technologically current 
  • New features in most of the applications including a new demand model in Space Planning and significant updates to Planogram Generator  

The lengthy march to becoming SaaS is Blue Yonder’s long-term priority. You will continue to see new capabilities in this area with each new release. For 2020.1.1 this appears as expanded APIs with added functionality, a new Open Access layout harmonized with the Luminate platform, and the first limited release of Space Planning Web. Will the online version of Space Planning replace what your planners are using now?  In our opinion, not for several more years.  

Extensive effort is ongoing to keep the existing applications up to date for the install base. This release provides an updated Online Expert for applications that were using legacy compiled help files, updated ribbon and visual themes, and support for newer versions of SQL Server and Revit.    

New features such as the ability to retain the scroll position of property lists in Space and Floor Planning, the ability to name and reuse Action Lists in Planogram Generator, new commands in Space Automation Pro, and many others have been added and are detailed in the product-specific updates below. It is worth scrolling down to read the details on the applications you own. We are happy to talk through what this release means to you.  Call or email us with any questions you have. 

Alerts:

  • Space Planning Web is a limited release and is only available if you are running CKB in the Blue Yonder Azure Cloud 
  • ​Activation codes are now version specific and new codes will need to be obtained to use 2020.1.1 
  • Support for SQL Server 2019 has been added but support for SQL Server 2016 has been dropped
  • ​Support for Revit 2021 has been added for use with Floor Planning 

Click on the links below to read our summary for each application

Space Planning

Space Planning 2020.1.1 features the initial release of Space Planning Web as well as integration with Luminate Demand Edge for inventory modeling.  Blue Yonder continues to deliver quality in their flagship application while adding enhancements, addressing issues, and delivering a quality user experience. With the release of Space Planning Web, Blue Yonder takes another step into its cloud offering and shows its continued commitment to offering best-in-breed category management software.  

Luminate Demand Edge – Demand Distribution Support 
  • Space Planning now allows inventory decisions to be based on demand mean and standard deviation measures from Luminate Demand Edge (LDE) 
  • ​Target service levels may be configured in Space Planning and Planogram Generator 
  • New fields have been added to the CKB schema to support this functionality including: 
    • Project Fields: Inventory Model – Demand Mean Variance and Service Level
    • Planogram Fields: Inventory Model – Demand Mean Variance and Service Level
    • Product Fields: Service Level
    • Performance Fields: Demand Mean, Demand Standard Deviation, Service Level, and Actual Service Level

In the Inventory settings, a new Demand Mean Variance model works with the Days of Supply inventory model.  When this option is enabled, you can specify the target Service Level be applied to the project or planogram.  You can also override this default value at the Product and Performance levels for specific products on specific planograms.  The Service Level, Days Supply, Demand Mean, and Demand Standard Deviation values are used to calculate the target inventory to be placed on a fixture.  Based on that, Space Planning calculates the actual service level for products in each planogram.  

User Interface Changes
  • Visual themes have been updated, removing support of Office 2010 and 2013 and adding support for Office 2019 
  • ​Ribbon icons have been updated to provide more consistency across Blue Yonder applications  
  • Tab navigation in specific dialog boxes has been updated to improve accessibility
  • ​Property Lists now maintain scroll position (must be enabled in Default Settings) 
  • Online Expert has been updated to HTML5 format and now opens in a standard browser  
Formula Builder
  • New function added – Absolute Value ABS()
  • Square bracket operators can now be used to access field parameters via the function list
Field Updates
  • New Planogram fields, PG Results 1-5, have been added to support Results phase actions in Planogram Generator 
  • ​New fields added to support Luminate Demand Edge measures (see above) 
Space Planning Web – Initial Release 
  • Space Planning Web is only available on the Blue Yonder Azure Cloud
  • It features a similar look and feel to the desktop application and is integrated with CKB 
  • Limitations include: 
    • Limited planogram views 
    • Explorer tabs are static 
    • Ribbon cannot be customized 
    • No drawings/text boxes 
    • No interactive warnings 
    • Single object selection 
  • Configuration settings for the below items will need to be made in the Desktop version and deployed by Blue Yonder to the hosted environment: 
    • ​​Statuses 
    • Property Lists 
    • Highlights 
    • Labels 
    • Tables 
​​​​Floor Planning

Floor Planning 2020.1.1 development has focused on several updates enhancing the overall design, user functionality, and Revit support.  Enhancements include: 

  • A new setting to prevent CKB Planograms locked by Lifecycle Management from being edited  
  • Exposed the Planogram-level field to show the Number Of Sub-planogram Spaces 
  • ​Revit Integration to Floor Planning – users can import Revit model data to populate a floorplan in Floor Planning and export changes back to Revit 
  • Online Expert has been updated to HTML5 format and now opens in a standard browser 
  • Floor Planning now supports Revit 2021 in addition to Revit 2019 and 2020
  • Visual themes have been updated, removing support of Office 2010 and 2013 and adding support for 2019 
  • Ribbon icons have been updated
  • ​​Property Lists now maintain scroll position (must be enabled in Default Settings) 
​​​​Category Knowledge Base

The Category Knowledge Base (CKB) release represents Blue Yonder’s commitment to Alliance Partners and customers allowing them to customize the tools and expand their usability through additional and enhanced APIs.  Long-term, APIs are the future of interaction with CKB. Cantactix has recently completed our company-level Accreditation by Blue Yonder in APIs to help you make this transition. This release includes APIs that provide the ability to delete floorplans and planograms and update performance data for both.  These include: 

  • Lifecycle Management:  Promote and demote lifecycle managed objects
  • Floorplans:  Delete a floorplan, update performance data, delete a project 
  • Planograms:  Delete a planogram, update performance data, delete a project 
  • Data:  Transfer data, upload or download data in bulk
  • System:  Update a filter header based on DBKey
  • Users:  Get current user information and role data  

Several Space Planning and PEM tables have been updated to add fields for enhanced support of the client applications.  Also, Blue Yonder is introducing support for SQL Server 2019 and removing support for SQL Server 2016.  Support for SQL Server 2017 will continue.  

Users who implement Space Planning Web will now be able to open planograms into the Web version of Space Planning in either Normal or Read Only mode.  While Space Planning Web does not fully replace the Space Planning desktop application, this is the first step towards that goal.  More details on the Space Planning Web can be seen in the Space Planning section of this review.  

Open Access

With the 2020.1.1 release, Blue Yonder has made functional and design changes to Open Access (OA) that bring the look and feel in line with other Blue Yonder Web applications, improve overall usability, and enhance mobile features.  They has modernized the design of the OA interface, modeling it after the new Luminate Platform.  These changes enhance the usability of OA on mobile devices reducing the need for a separate mobile application.

The changes not only enhance the visual experience, but also improve the user experience.  They include scrolling within grids, relocating grid level icons to the tops of the grids, and enabling users to access row level actions with a click rather than a hover.  Such enhanced functionality ensures the changes go far below the surface and elevate functionality and design together.

Changes have also been made allowing OA to open planograms into Space Planning Web.  OA can be configured to allow users to open planograms in Space Planning from the Planograms grid.  Those who use Space Planning Web can now choose whether to open the planograms in the desktop application or Space Planning Web.  When opening in Space Planning Web, users can choose whether to open the planograms normally or in Read Only mode.  Space Planning Web is only available on the Blue Yonder Azure cloud so this option will only be available for customers using a Blue Yonder Azure Deployment.   ​

Space Automation Professional

Changes to Space Automation Pro (SA Pro) for the 2020.1.1 release were limited and focused on usability and end-user experience.  The Help system no longer uses a compiled help file.  Instead, it has been rewritten as an Online Expert like the Help in the other applications.  Some defects were addressed, and some commands were added or updated.  For example: 

  • The Add Product from Product Library command was updated with a parameter to specify whether existing products are updated (The option defaults to False) 
  • The Save Project File command was updated with options to save a multi-planogram or floorplan project as individual PSA or PFA files or to save active object only to a separate file 
  • ​An Add Segment command has been added allowing users to add segments to a planogram either before or after an existing segment 
  • A Split Segments has been added allowing users to split existing segments individually or by planogram into additional segments (This does not affect fixture locations) 
  • ​The Script Converter (added in 2019.1.1) allows simple conversion of Legacy SA scripts to SAPRO scripts  

​Please note, when using the Script Converter, a code review of the resulting code is still necessary, and modifications may be needed. 

Planogram Generator

The new release of Planogram Generator (PG) 2020.1.1 will make creating, editing, and maintaining your action lists both easier and faster.  Here are some of the enhancements that will be included in the new release:

Reuse phase from Previous Action List

This new feature will be extremely helpful when working with multiple action lists within your template, especially if a phase is repeated further down in another action list. 

  • Instead of copying actions from one Action List to the same phase in another, you can now apply a “Reuse Phase” Action with this new feature 
  • You’ll need to give the action list a name (see below), and you can only refer to a previous (not subsequent) Action List  
Action Lists can be Named

Sometimes when you step away from a project for an extended period, some action lists can start to look the same.  Now you can name an action list so it describes its purpose, refreshes your memory later, and provides its intent for your coworkers if they are new to PG.  Naming also supports the ability to reuse phases from previous action list. 

  • This new feature can be used like a comment and explain the purpose of each action list 
  • Double-click an action list header to edit the name 
  • ​The name will appear in the action list header  
New Band Shape Option

This new feature, which was a customer enhancement request, gives you more control over which band of products will be merchandised on specific fixtures.  This allows you to force groups of products onto specific shelves.  This new feature will work best when using library book linkage on fixtures.   

  • The new shape associates groups of products (and the bands they reside in) with specific shelves 
  • ​A fixture matching field is compared to the product tag value or formula result 
  • Positions will be placed onto the mapped fixtures  
If Statement Updates (Obey Next Actions If)

If you’ve ever had multiple “Obey next actions If” statements within the same action list phase, you’ll absolutely love this new feature. 

  • It has been renamed to “Obey next actions if” (plural) and enables you to control multiple obeyed actions based on the condition assigned to the action 
  • The obeyed actions must be in the same phase and action list as the action itself 
  • Obeyed actions will now be indented and grouped in the Action List 
Demand Mean Variance Support

This new feature supports the Demand Mean Variance inventory model introduced in Space Planning.  It is used with the movement period to calculate units required (demanded) to achieve your target service level.  When selected with other methods, PG will place the maximum units demanded.  The following actions have been updated to include the associated Service Level field. 

  • In the Include products and Add Positions actions, the service level field is disabled if Days of Supply is set to Ignore because the service level calculation is tied to days of supply 
  • Boost service level and Relax service level actions can adjust the target service level to achieve a better fit 
  • Preview frames will specify the effects of service levels on the number of units placed 
  • ​PG actions can use or override the target service level set in the planograms 
Assortment Optimization

For the 2020.1.1 release, Blue Yonder Assortment Optimization has focused on issue resolution for the install base, demonstrating their commitment to deliver a quality user experience. The 2020.1.1 Release Notes for Assortment Optimization document has approximately 175 issues resolved.  There are no new features in this release. 

Major Points
  • Significant enhancements have been included in Planogram Generator 
  • ​Integration between Space Planning and Blue Yonder Luminate Demand Edge has been added 
  • The API portfolio continues to expand access 
  • The initial version of Space Planning Web has been released 
  • Significant quality improvements have been made to Assortment Optimization 
  • Updates to Open Access enhance its usability, particularly on mobile devices 
  • Continuity and user experience changes have been made across the whole suite 
Our Take

The Blue Yonder Category Management 2020.1.1 release provides significant enhancements to Planogram Generator, Space Planning, Category Management Services (API’s) and Open Access. Those who rely on these applications should certainly consider the upgrade. Those who are interested in deploying the 1st generation of Space Planning Web would be required to upgrade and migrate into the Blue Yonder SaaS environment.    

In addition, features have been added and issues have been addressed in Floor Planning, Category Knowledge Base, and Space Automation Pro which merit consideration. No new features were added to Assortment Optimization, but a significant effort was made to address quality issues. These may also be compelling factors to some users when deciding whether to upgrade.    

It is important to note that many of the features added and the issues addressed were driven directly by you, the users.  If you are not already a member of the Special Interest Group (SIG) for the products you use, we encourage you to get involved. This direct line between Blue Yonder Product Management and their user base will continue to drive development in the future. You can sign up at success.blueyonder.com

We at Cantactix stand ready to assist you should you need any assistance as you determine whether to move forward with the 2020.1.1 release.  Please reach out to us if we can be of help to you in any way. 

If you are interested in getting additional insight into the new features and how they can benefit you, please contact us. Interested in upgrading? Learn more here.

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