Can anyone really read the future? We all know that this is not true but what I shall talk about relates to the subject hugely.
We learned a bit about forecasting, its importance to organizations and some of the different methodologies used, should those be qualitative or quantitative. I work as a business analyst and my company is in entertainment and events management and I am going to go briefly on how we utilize forecasting in our business.
We learned that applying forecasting techniques is easy once you know which method to choose. In my company we have a mixture of products. Some of which existed for years, some have been renovated and others will be introduced in the near future.
For products that have been in the market for a while we utilize the historical data to recognize patterns on evenly spaced periods. By looking at the growth rates and applying a moving average method we have been able to project demand and sales figures fairly.
With regards to renovated products we look at the elements our clients liked and move the product into that direction. The only way to get our hands on such information is by doing consumer market surveys. Make sure before you go ahead with the process that your sample represents your entire market. We have been in a situation where we projected huge revenues from a recently changed product. What went wrong is that the proposed changed came from a key client, a change the rest of our clients did not like and we ended up changing the product back.
The hardest of all in my opinion is forecasting a new product. I have learned from experience that the best estimates will always have a large percentage of error in this case. If you forecast less and the demand is more, you end up losing clients. If you forecast high and you end up not selling much then you have wasted resources that could have been better utilized elsewhere. What we do is that we relate the new product to another that has similar characteristics. Surprisingly, similar products will have similar market trends and growth rates. If it is a product we have no similar to we seek information from other companies, business professionals and the internet to utilize the best forecasting techniques.
Two things my company does after each forecast. One is we will do manual adjustments to the results. I know from the class that this step is the sales force composite. We will ask the heads of the department about what they think about the numbers. May be they have large number of clients lined up to buy or may be our biggest purchaser is not interested in buying anymore. The second is to look at the state of the economy and how other companies are doing and estimate their spending.
Which is the best forecasting technique? It all depends to me.