Statistical Forecasting Blog
Optimize Inventory planning parameters,improve service levels and increase revenue
Forecasting is a fully developed business process that most organizations still struggle with today. Almost everyone’s top priority is probably to be able to consistently and accurately forecast Sales, Demand, Costs, Inventory, etc. The inability to obtain a good forecast frequently has a significant business impact. Inaccurate forecasting leads to overstocking or running out, resulting in high costs and excess, impacting the bottom line and the success of the company.
A good forecast should give you enough confidence to make sound business decisions. For a more efficient forecast, consider these best practices:
- What are the most common forecasting methods, and why do they produce inaccurate results.
- How to achieve better ROI and optimal processes through scale, granularity, and agility
- How to improve forecasting accuracy
- How to use simple machine learning and artificial intelligence tools to get accurate and scalable forecasts
This article is about the real power that comes from the collaboration between you and our software that happens at your fingertips. We often write about the software itself and what goes on “under the hood”. This time, the subject is how you should best team up with the software.
Measuring the accuracy of forecasts is an undeniably important part of the demand planning process. This forecasting scorecard could be built based on one of two contrasting viewpoints for computing metrics. The error viewpoint asks, “how far was the forecast from the actual?” The accuracy viewpoint asks, “how close was the forecast to the actual?” Both are valid, but error metrics provide more information.
With so much hype around new Machine Learning (ML) and probabilistic forecasting methods, the traditional “extrapolative” or “time series” statistical forecasting methods seem to be getting the cold shoulder. However, it is worth remembering that these traditional techniques (such as single and double exponential smoothing, linear and simple moving averaging, and Winters models for seasonal items) often work quite well for higher volume data. Every method is good for what it was designed to do. Just apply each appropriately, as in don’t bring a knife to a gunfight and don’t use a jackhammer when a simple hand hammer will do.
Probabilistic scenarios are sequences of data points generated to represent potential real-world situations. Unlike scenarios in war games or other simulations, these are synthetic time series used as inputs to system models or as intuition-builders for decision-makers.
People new to the jobs of “demand planner” or “supply planner” are likely to have questions about the various forecasting terms and methods used in their jobs. This note may help by explaining these terms and showing how they relate.
Dealing with the day-to-day of inventory management can keep you busy. But you know you have to get your head up now and then to see where you’re heading. For that, your inventory software should show you metrics – and not just one, but a full set of metrics or KPI’s – Key Performance Indicators.
Generating accurate statistical forecasts isn’t an easy task. Planners need to keep historical data continually up to date, build and manage a database of forecasting models, know which forecast methods to use, keep track of forecast overrides, and report on forecast accuracy. These steps are typically managed in a cumbersome spreadsheet that is often error-prone, slow, and difficult to share with the rest of the business. Forecasts tend to rely on one-sized fits all methods that require seasonality and trend to be added manually resulting in inaccurate predictions of what comes next
SmartForecasts ® Cloud
Accurate Demand Forecasts
Best Forecasting Methods
Imports Historical Data
What can you do with SmartForecasts?
- Run a forecasting tournament that selects the right forecasting method for each item.
- Hand-craft forecasts using several time-series forecasting methods and non-statistical methods.
- Automatically predict trends, seasonality, and cyclical patterns.
- Imports demand data from files
- Leverage ERP connectors to automatically import demand data and return forecast results
Who is SmartForecasts for?
• Demand Planners.
• Forecast Analysts.
• Material & Inventory Planners.
• Operational Research Professionals.
• Sales Analysts.
• Statistcally Minded Executives.
A Reliable and Secure Platform