Guest blogger Len Tashman previews Summer 2017 issue of Foresight


Editor-in-Chief Len Tashman's Preview

The forecasting field is surely cross-disciplinary, as exemplified by the diverse membership of the International Institute of Forecasters (the publisher of this journal), but it is also multidimensional, as can be clearly seen in this Summer 2017 issue. The articles you’ll read here encompass sales and operations planning, long-range forecasting, forecasting methods and accuracy measurement, and the intricacies of communicating forecasts to decision makers. Previous issues of Foresight have reported on financial forecasting, supply-chain forecasting, forecasting support systems, strategic forecasting, forecast process improvement, prediction markets, and many other areas.

One of the most influential books on S&OP came out in 2006 from Chris Gray and John Dougherty, Sales and Operations Planning – Best Practices. Now Chris and John reflect on their long experience in forecasting, planning, and manufacturing to describe Misconceptions, Missteps, and Bad Practices in S&OP. As you’ll see, their list of problematic matters is long, and the current presentation is just the first installment of what will be a multipart article.

Our latest forecasting-methods tutorial, from Fotios Petropoulos and Konstantinos Nikolopoulos, is on The Theta Method, a relatively simple time-series method that has achieved a notable track record for accuracy but has been overlooked in commercial software. The tutorial shows how the method can be implemented in the R program.

Longevity risk is the burgeoning threat that people will actually outlive their financial assets, what with our spectacular increases in longevity and the aged-dependency ratio. This is especially true as traditional pension plans are being replaced and public retirement funds are facing insolvency. Ira Sohn frames the problem in his compelling article Longevity: Blessing or Curse? The bottom line is that today’s sociopolitical policies are not even close to being adequate to deal with the threats we’re facing.

One of the greatest challenges forecasters in all fields face—and do so over and over again—is that of Communicating Forecasts to the C-Suite. Todd Tomalak offers here A Six-step Survival Guide. We would welcome readers’ perspectives on and additions to this list, so please send us your thoughts.

Our final article deals with The Quest for a Better Forecast Error Metric: Measuring More than the Average Error. Here, Stefan de Kok makes a strong argument for the need, particularly in supply-chain management, of probabilistic forecasts and metrics to assess their accuracy. Standard accuracy metrics (MAPEs, RMSEs, and the like) don’t reveal the critical information we need to properly gauge risks and set safety stocks.

Foresight Now Available in a New Digital Edition

You can upgrade your subscription from print-only or digital-only to all-access, which includes free access to all archived articles—the entire Foresight library. Subscribe or renew.

2017 Foresight Practitioner Conference

Finally, registrations are now open for the 2017 Foresight Practitioner Conference, November 15-16 at North Carolina State University’s Institute for Advanced Analytics in Raleigh. This year’s theme is Recoupling Forecasting with Inventory Control and Supply Planning. Save $200 when you register by July 31.

Presentation topics include:

  • How to improve integration of the forecasting and inventory-control processes for better service at lower cost.
  • Avoiding misunderstandings in communication among forecasters, planners, and software suppliers
  • Linking demand forecasts with inventory, capacity, and financial plans
  • Strategies for long-term demand and capacity planning
  • Readiness-driven supply networks
  • Forecasting and inventory management for intermittent demands
  • Achieving global forecasting standards for sales-forecast integration, S&OP, and safety-stock management
  • Ensuring visibility: A key ingredient to inventory optimization

About Author

Mike Gilliland

Product Marketing Manager

Michael Gilliland is a longtime business forecasting practitioner and formerly a Product Marketing Manager for SAS Forecasting. He is on the Board of Directors of the International Institute of Forecasters, and is Associate Editor of their practitioner journal Foresight: The International Journal of Applied Forecasting. Mike is author of The Business Forecasting Deal (Wiley, 2010) and former editor of the free e-book Forecasting with SAS: Special Collection (SAS Press, 2020). He is principal editor of Business Forecasting: Practical Problems and Solutions (Wiley, 2015) and Business Forecasting: The Emerging Role of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (Wiley, 2021). In 2017 Mike received the Institute of Business Forecasting's Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2021 his paper "FVA: A Reality Check on Forecasting Practices" was inducted into the Foresight Hall of Fame. Mike initiated The Business Forecasting Deal blog in 2009 to help expose the seamy underbelly of forecasting practice, and to provide practical solutions to its most vexing problems.

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