Worst Practices in Forecasting

The Smart Forecaster

 Pursuing best practices in demand planning,

forecasting and inventory optimization

Companies launch initiatives to upgrade or improve their sales & operations planning and demand planning processes all the time. Many of these initiatives fail to deliver the results they should. Has your forecasting function fallen short of expectations? Do you struggle with “best practices” that seem incapable of producing accurate results?

For ten years, the editorial team at Foresight: The International Journal of Applied Forecasting has been telling readers about the struggles and successes of forecasting professionals and doing all we can to educate them about methods and practices that really work. We do that with articles contributed by forecasting professionals as well as respected academics and authors of highly-regarded books.

As Founding Editor of Foresight, I’d like to invite you to join us for the upcoming Foresight Practitioner Conference entitled “Worst Practices in Forecasting: Today’s Mistakes to Tomorrow’s Breakthroughs.”

This 1.5-day event will take place in Raleigh, North Carolina, October 5-6. There we will take a hard look at common practices that may be inhibiting efforts to build better forecasts. Our invited speakers will share how they and others have uncovered and eliminated bad habits and worst practices in their organizations for dramatic improvements in forecasting performance.

Some of the topics to be addressed include:

• Use and Abuse of Judgmental Overrides

• Avoiding Dangers in Sales Force Input to Forecasts

• Improper Practices in Inventory Optimization

• Pitfalls in Forecast Accuracy Measurement

• Worst Practices in S&OP and Demand Planning

• Worst Practices in Forecasting Software Implementation

Foresight is published by the non-profit International Institute of Forecasters (IIF), an unbiased, non-commercial organization, dedicated to the generation, distribution and use of knowledge on forecasting in a wide range of fields. (Smart Software’s own Tom Willemain serves on Foresight’s Advisory Board.) Foresight is just one of the resources made available by the IIF. Additional publications, a host of online resources, an annual symposium and periodic workshops and conferences are available to all IIF members. The Smart Forecaster previously interviewed IIF past-president Dr. Mohsen Hamoudia. Visit the IIF site for information about joining.

(Len Tashman is the editor of Foresight: The International Journal of Applied Forecasting. The unusual practice-related conference he describes, upcoming in October 2016, will appeal to many of readers of The Smart Forecaster. For instance, those who have received Smart Software’s training have been alerted to the possibility that overriding statistical forecasts can backfire if done cavalierly. Two sessions at the conference focus on the use of judgement in the forecasting process. — Tom Willemain)

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Top Five Tips for New Demand Planners and Forecasters

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        Recommended Resource: The IIF

        The Smart Forecaster

        Pursuing best practices in demand planning,

        forecasting and inventory optimization

        A go-to source for info on cutting-edge forecasting research, the International Institute of Forecasters (IIF) publishes journals and hosts conferences that we have relied on for decades. In this introduction, IIF Business Manager Pam Stroud gives an overview of the organization’s offerings. (Smart Software Senior Vice President for Research Tom Willemain serves on the Editorial Board of the IIF’s practitioner-oriented publication, Foresight.)

        When founded in 1981, the IIF set as its goal: “Bridge the gap between theory and practice, with practice helping to set the research agenda and research providing useful results”. The IIF keeps its members abreast of the latest trends and research in forecasting through its publications, events and website. Its members are drawn from corporations and institutes of higher learning in more than one hundred countries, and form a vibrant community for networking and professional development.

        The IIF’s practitioner journal, Foresight, is dedicated to improving the practice of business forecasting, enhancing the professional development of business forecasters, and bringing forecasting know-how to those entering the profession. Because forecasting knowledge and wisdom are not concentrated in one segment of forecasters, we publish valuable ideas from across the discipline—from forecasting teachers and scholars, forecasting analysts and managers, and forecasting consultants and vendors. And we strive to ensure that these ideas are presented clearly, are supported by evidence and are free of bias.

        In addition to our publications, the IIF sponsors an annual conference, the International Symposium on Forecasting (ISF). The ISF is an opportunity for researchers and practitioners to come together to share experiences and cutting edge research, and to network among their peers. The Foresight Practitioner conference extends this opportunity to practitioners, delivering practical professional development for business forecasters.

        Another example of ‘bridging the gap,’ between research and practice, is the annual research grant, offered in partnership with SAS, which supports research on how to improve forecasting methods and business forecasting practice.

        IIF Membership benefits include:

        The International Journal of Forecasting – The IJF is the leading scholarly journal in the field of forecasting. With an outstanding editorial board of 44 internationally known forecasting experts, it is a highly readable, widely used and often-cited research journal.

        Foresight: The International Journal of Applied Forecasting – Foresight publishes concise, readable and timely articles on forecasting processes, methods and solutions. It is the essential read for business forecasters and an invaluable aid for forecasting educators and students.

        The International Symposium on Forecasting – Members receive discounted registration to the premier international forecasting conference. This annual IIF event attracts the world’s leading researchers, practitioners, and students. Each symposium offers more than 250 research presentations in a setting which emphasizes social interaction, and networking opportunities.

        The Foresight Practitioner Conference – Members receive discounted admission to this professional development event for business forecasters, where they learn from practitioners who have earned their expertise in the field at top companies, and from forecasting researchers sharing the business implications of their work.

        Recent topics from The International Journal of Forecasting:
        • Economic Time Series: Modeling and Seasonality
        • On the use of cross-sectional measures of forecast uncertainty
        • Measuring forecasting accuracy: The case of judgmental adjustments to SKU-level demand forecasts
        Recent topics from Foresight: The International Journal of Applied Forecasting
        • How Good Is a “Good” Forecast?: Forecast Errors and Their Avoidability
        • Forecast Methods Tutorial: ARIMA: The Models of Box and Jenkins
        • Improve Forecasting of Consumer Purchases Using Google Trends

        “Since 1981, the IIF has been central to my career. Why? Because it’s a diverse and clever group of people focused on pragmatic, evidence-based research. The annual symposium is a great place to exchange ideas about forecasting.” – J. Scott Armstrong, Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School

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