Adding alternatives and substitutions to an inventory item can be very useful when you need to resolve shortages. If you have an item shortage on a job, then you can quickly replace it with an alternative or substitution.
Alternatives can be viewed as a very similar replacement, like different 12-channel audio mixers from different brands. Substitutions, on the other hand, can be viewed as an upgrade, like a 16 channel audio mixing board substituting a 12 channel mixing board.
Ultimately, how you decide to use these functions will depend on your organization's structure and processes. One key point of note- Substitutions are one-way, Alternatives are two-way.
Regardless of the one you wish to set, they are configured in the same place- On the inventory model. When you open one in Flex, you will see the Alternatives and Substitutions tabs.
Whichever you decide to set for an inventory model, remember that the primary mechanism by which this function works, is when there exists a shortage of that given model, on the job that is being built.
To set Substitutions, navigate to the Substitutions tab on an inventory model. Remember that Substitutions are one-way. So in the event that there is a shortage of the inventory item you have open, items added to this list can be substituted for the one that you have open- but not the other way around.
Take Video Signal Converters, for example. Let's say you have an HDMI to SDI converter. In the event of a shortage, you could send a HDMI-SDI Cross Converter instead- but you would not want to send an HDMI to SDI instead of a Cross Converter.
Or even Cable- Let's say you have a short cable. In the event of a shortage, you could bring a longer cable, but you would not want the opposite to happen.
Open the Inventory Model that you would like to set Substitutions for. Then, click the Substitutions tab as indicated in the previous section. In this view, you can click-and-drag resources from the Inventory or Search tabs of the Resource Browser. Once you have added one, Flex will ask you to confirm a quantity.
For example, you could substitute (2) 25' XLR Cables for (1) 50' XLR Cable. But in our example of video signal converters, we only need one.
Select OK after entering a quantity- you will now see the model you have added in the list of applicable Substitutions.
Choosing & Usage
After you have set a Substitution on a Model, and it ends up in a shortage (More quantity is requested or ordered, than the current amount on-hand) we can click and open the Options Menu on the affected line, and then click Conflicts.
The Conflicts & Availability window opens. We can see the substitution we have set for this item beforehand. The highlighted line explains- You can substitute the entire line with (2) MD-HX units, of which you currently have on hand all five of five owned. Click the inventory model to substitute.
After making your selection, you will be asked if you would like to change the price of the line item based on the change- you can either keep the existing pricing or apply new pricing based on the change.
After making your selection by clicking Yes or No, you will see the processed change reflected after the process completes.
To remove a Substitution, return to the Substitutions tab on the Model you previously set the substitution(s) on, as indicated in the Overview. Select the check-boxes on the inventory model(s) you would like to remove, then click the Delete icon.
A dialog box will ask you to confirm your choice. Click Yes, and the selected model(s) will be removed.
Alternatives work nearly identically to Substitutions, with one key difference- Alternatives are two-way. This means that When you set an alternative on one model it is effectively set twice. Let's take our previous example of video signal converters. In this case let's say we have two different brands of cross-converter. We can set them up as alternatives of each other, so we can use them interchangeably.
Navigate to the inventory model you would like to set the Alternative on, as mentioned in the Overview, and select the Alternatives tab. In this view, you can click-and-drag resources from the Inventory or Search tabs of the Resource Browser. Once you have added one, Flex will ask you to confirm a quantity. Click OK and the model will appear on the list.
Choosing & Usage
Now, if the Model we added the Alternative to or the Model added as an alternative experience a shortage, we can use either model to fulfill the line. Usage is as before, with these selections appearing in the Substitute Section of the Conflicts and Availability Window as before- click and open the Options Menu on the affected line, and then click Conflicts.
So, if we resolve a shortage of Decimator Cross Converters, we see the Blackmagic Cross Converter as an alternative substitution.
And if we have a shortage of Blackmagic Cross Converters, we can substitute the Decimator as an alternative.
Removal is the same as before- Return to the Alternatives tab on the Model you previously set the Alternative(s) on, as indicated in the Overview. Select the check-boxes on the inventory model(s) you would like to remove, then click the Delete icon.