Most demand forecasts are partial or incomplete: They provide only one single number: the most likely value of future demand. This is called a point forecast. Usually, the point forecast estimates the average value of future demand. Interval forecasts provide an estimate of the possible future range of demand (i.e. demand has a 90% chance of being between 50 – 100 units). Probabilistic forecasts take it a step further and provide additional information. Knowing more is always better than knowing less and the probabilistic forecast provides that extra information so crucial for inventory management. This video blog by Dr. Thomas Willemain explains each type of forecast and the advantages of probabilistic forecasting.

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Point forecast (green) shows what is most likely to happen. The Interval Forecast shows the range (blue) of possibilities.

Probability Forecast shows the probability of each value occurring

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