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forecast accuracy improvement

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  • #27009

    Darron
    Participant

    Has anyone done any projects in demand forecast accuracy improvement. Our forecast is very inaccurate and parts planning is out of control. How should I procede in this area? How should it be measured? etc.

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    #65737

    Neil Polhemus
    Participant

    The newly released STATGRAPHICS Plus Version 5 has a new automatic forecasting procedure which is designed to take historical data and automatically select the model which minimizes the forecasting errors. This type of methodology is often used in supply chain demand forecasting software. You can download an evaluation copy and give it a try.

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    #65747

    Scott Halpern
    Member

    I have used a project managment tool called PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) to improve an Orders Forecasting Process in my former life at GE. By establishing a common definition of Optimistic, Most Likely and Pessimistic inputs it’s possible to capture and consider the uncertainty in the forecast and contrast it to the goal. PERT as a feedback tool is a great alternative to the typical process of “torturing the numbers” until they converge on the plan. Crystal Ball (Excel Add in) is another alternative. I can be reached at 203 944-7740 if you want details.

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    #65748

    Darron L.
    Participant

    How do you measure forecast accuracy & what are typical targets?

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    #65749

    Neil Polhemus
    Participant

    It has been shown statistically that one should choose
    a model which minimizes the “one-ahead” forecast errors, which are the errors made in predicting the demand for time period t+1 given all of the information available at time period t. If the error distribution for demand follows a normal distribution (the errors are additive), then one minimizes the mean squared error (MSE). If the errors are proportional in nature,
    then you pick a model which minimizes the mean absolute percentage error (MAPE).

    One caveat: in selecting a forecasting model, you must be careful not to overmodel the data. It is very important to apply the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep It Simple Statistically), and not to use too complicated a model. In STATGRAPHICS, our Automatic Forecasting procedure selects a model which penalizes those with too many parameters. This is most commonly done by minimizing the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC), although the Hannan-Quinn and Swarze-Bayesian Criterion are sometimes used.

    In practice, it is very important to plot the historical data with the one-ahead forecasts. Forceasting is still part science and part art.

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    #65754

    Terry
    Member

    I was happy to see the discussions about forecasting on the screen.

    Rather than focusing on forecast accuracy, we recommend to clients to focus on forecast error vs. demonstrated ability to respond. I’m not discounting the benefits of a good forecast, but I’ve seen so many organizations get hung up on the debate, “We could do it if we had an accurate forecast.” You can get the momentum for change going faster if you focus on increasing flexibility and response. Think mass customization and recognize that you have different kinds of demand streams flowing through your business.

    Using the Six Sigma tools, we have established what we call “bandwidths” for A, B, C, D, and E items (i.e., how much forecast error can your plant respond to based on capacity availability, set-ups, material and resource availability, etc.?). We have also experimented with the costs/benefits of widening or narrowing the bandwidths. Finally we have looked for patterns of repeatability vs. one-time order frequencies for the lower volume products. You can size these bandwidths with real data analysis and the Six Sigma tools. This can then be used to establish Time Fence and Available To Promise (ATP) parameters within the plant, or min/max strategies at the distrubution center.

    Make sure the Sales organization is represented on your team. Sales force education is a key in this area.

    One other point. There is no such thing as an accurate Sales Forecast. I have been working for 30 years with hundreds of companies and I haven’t seen one yet. Seriously, the best initial strategy is to improve your ability to respond to an inaccurate forecast rather than striving for a precise forecast. By establishing the right bandwidths and costs with real statistical data, its easy to remove some of the noise and disruptions caused by the C, D, and E items.

    Good luck.

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    #65763

    Cone
    Participant

    I have worked multiple projects in this area. The project structure is the same as any other Black Belt project although you will probably use multiple regression more than DOE.

    Don’t forget the lean tools as many problems with forcasting are your organiztion’s inability to respond within the forecast horizon. Bring your resonse time within the forecast window and you often find there is nothing wrong the the forecast.

    Also follow on with Scott Halpern – smart guy with a diverse background.

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    #65786

    Kim Niles
    Participant

    Dear Dr. Polhemus:

    It was good seeing you again and meeting your wife at the Six Sigma conference here in San Diego a couple weeks ago.

    I support your comments regarding forecast calculations and support of Statgraphics software but also add that there might be more we can do to remove the “art” from the forcast by better quantifying our input position. After all, it’s all about significance with confidence….right? For example, Sales often states a position of significance only. Why not ask them to give us confidence in that significance? Would that even help?

    Sincerely,
    KN

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    #65789

    Neil Polhemus
    Participant

    It was great to see you also. Hey, I’ve got a new forecasting Wizard that I intend to put on the site soon. If you (or anyone else) have time to give me your comments, I’ll e-mail you a beta copy.

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    #65806

    Darron
    Participant

    How did you go about identifying the key drivers to forecast accuracy? What are the typical control factors? Do you have any case studies that I can share?

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    #65836

    Sue Ginter
    Member

    I would very much like to see the forecasting wizard you mentioned in your posting. I have just been assigned a forecasting project 3 weeks ago to improve our accuracy, and any help would be appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Sue

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    #65841

    Deepak Banahatti
    Participant

    I would greatly appreciate it if you could email me a copy of the forecasting wizard. I have been assigned a Forecasting project.

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    #68034

    Juchniewicz
    Member

    I would like to see anything on forecasting whether it be increasing accuracy or responding to bandwith, etc.  I have just been assigned the project of improving forecast accuracy in the sales department and am kind of lost.  We currently do not have a formal forecast process in place yet I have to figure out how to improve accuracy with out designing a new process.

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    #69193

    O Hall
    Participant

    Darron,
    There are a number of forecasting error metrics. These include MAD, MSE, MAPE and tracking signal. Feel free to contact me for more details.
     
       
     

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    #72011

    Flor Mestanza Norton
    Participant

    I would like to see the forecasting wizard you mentioned in your posting. I too have been working on a forecasting project for some time and any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance. 

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    #72288

    Cari Howard
    Participant

    Or, as I recently stated in a presentation to my sales force regarding forecast accuracy: 
    Anything worth doing is worth  measuring. Anything worth measuring is worth improving. To improve does not necessarily mean to perfect.
    Or as Sherlock Holmes said:
    “It’s an error to argue in front of your data, Watson. You find yourself insensibly twisting the data around to fit your theories.”
     

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    #72954

    Neville Wilson
    Participant

    Darron

    We put together a White Paper which covers Demand Planning and Forecasting, which may give you an insight into how to measure for improvement.

    Regards
    Neville

     Download Intelligent Supply Chain (Adobe Acrobat format)

    Download Demand Forecast Planning (Adobe Acrobat format)

    Download Collaborative Demand Planning (Adobe Acrobat format)

    Viewing Tip: Usually, you can click on a link to view the document — it may open within your browser using the application. If you are having difficulty, try right clicking the link and selecting ‘Save Target As…’ or ‘Save As…’ to save it to your computer harddrive.

    Virus Note: All files are scanned prior to uploading to iSixSigma. No prevention program is entirely safe. FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY, PLEASE:
    1) Re-scan downloaded files using your personal virus checker before using it.
    2) NEVER, EVER run compiled files (.exe’s, .ocx’s, .dll’s etc.). If you don’t have a virus scanner, you can get one at many places on the net.

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    #72979

    philliu
    Participant

    I am very interesting on your forecast wizard since I am now working on the forecast accuracy improvement project. Thank you

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    #74859

    Richard
    Member

    Dear Neville,
    I have just come across your posting on “Forecast Accuracy Improvement” is it posible for you to forward me a copy of your White Paper report on Demand Planning and Forecasting?
    I have just been allocated a project on Demand Forecasting Innacuracies and I believe your experience will be of a lot help.
    Regards
     
    Richard

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    #74865

    Neville
    Participant

    Richard
    I can’t see a way of attaching a doc for you to receive.  Help.

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    #74868

    mcintosh
    Participant

    Neville,
    Look to the right of this message and you’ll see a yellow highlighted phrase that reads “Post/Attach Document” — click that link and follow the instructions to post a document to iSixSigma.
    I look forward to seeing the white paper also. Thanks!
    Regards, Tom

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    #74869

    Withheld
    Member

    Terry,
    I share your views. As a supplier (supposedly) working to a forecast it does not take long to learn two things: 1) Forecasts are rarely accurate, and 2) #%[email protected] flows downhill.
    I’ve spent considerable time analyzing forecast error and I’m here to endorse your view that knowledge of the error is the way to position yourself to bridge the gap.

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    #74870

    Smith
    Member

    Please send your interesting forecast papers to
    jgsefc aol .com
    Thanks,
    Stu

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    #74876

    Neville
    Participant
    #74877

    Neville
    Participant
    #74878

    Neville
    Participant
    #75331

    Rogers
    Participant

    I, too, have been assigned a forecasting project and would love to receive a copy of your forecasting Wizard

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    #84160

    Svetlana
    Member

    Could you please tell a little bit more about how you used Cristal Ball to improve forecast accuracy?
     
    Many thanks,
    Svetlana J.

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    #85184

    Vikas
    Member

    Could you please help me in knowing the details of same.
    MAD, MSE, MAPE and tracking signal.
    your help would be appreciated as I have recently been assigned to track accuracy / error and there is nothing in place now.
    [email protected]

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    #85709

    Danny Key
    Participant

    I would also like to request a copy of the white paper referred to plus any other white papers regarding practices utilized to enhance forecast accuracy.  I would also like to get a list of Best Practices that have been utilized by leading companies to enhance Forecast Accuracy performance or a resource       to identify these practices if anyone has such.  My phone # is 972-443-8522.
    Thanks,
    Danny

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    #85710

    Danny Key
    Participant

    What is the forecasting wizard being referred to here and how do I get a copy?
    Thanks
    Danny
    Phone:  972-443-8522

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    #85711

    Danny Key
    Participant

    I would like to request a copy of the forecasting wizard.  My phone # is 972-443-8522.
    Thanks,
    Danny

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    #85718

    Erkan Olgan
    Participant

    I have been assigned a forecast project, I would like to get a copy of your forecast wizard.Thanks.
    Erkan
     

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    #86127

    Vilas Pawar
    Member

    I have been recently assigned a project of Forecasting and I would greatly appreciate it if you could email me a copy of the forecasting wizard.

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    #87771

    Mark Chockalingam
    Participant

    Danny:
    Here are a couple of links to material in my website, covering generally forecast accuracy measurement and application and on Collaborative Forecasting in the model of CPFR. 
    http://www.demandplanning.net/trackMeasureAccuracy.htm
    http://www.demandplanning.net/Articles.htm
    You are welcome to review and download for your use.  If you would like additional guidance on best practices on forecasting, please let me know.  You can email me at [email protected].
    There is also a Forecasting Tutorial held in Boston in late August by the IBF.
    good luck,
    Mark

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    #87772

    Mark Chockalingam
    Participant

    Vikas,
    MAD = Mean absolute Deviation, rarely used in tracking demand forecast accuracy for supply chain performance. 
    MSE = Mean Squared Error, a variant of this is used for adjusting safety stock methodology, namely RMSE or Root Mean Squared Error
    MAPE = Mean absolute Percent error is the most commonly used in manufacturing supply chains to measure forecast error.  Typically companies calculate Forecast accuracy as max(0,1-MAPE).  MAPE is weighted by Sku volume. 
    Here is a reference source which contains the forecast measurement presentation in PDF format as well as a web presentation.  You are welcome to download and review.
    http://www.demandplanning.net/trackMeasureAccuracy.htm
    There is also a template available to calculate forecast accuracy on my website at this URL:
    http://www.demandplanning.net/documents/accuracyTemplate.xls
    regards,
    Mark

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    #89470

    Rick Bowald
    Member

    I would like to evaluate a copy as well.
     
    Rick Bowald
    Tru Vue Inc.

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    #90860

    Pascal Claerhout
    Participant

    I just discovered this platform and would like to be in contact with people who have gone through the experience of setting up a large forecasting process through thier company.
    I am very much interested in the forecast wizard. Can someone help me?
    Thanks,
    Pascal

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    #95302

    Amir Khan
    Participant

    Did you manage to get the wizard. If so, can I also have a copy?
    Thanks.

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    #95304

    Danny Key
    Participant

    No, I never received a copy of the wizard.   Could you e-mail me a copy?
    Thanks,
    Danny

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    #95305

    Amir Khan
    Participant

    I don’t have a copy. I was requesting one.
    Rgds,

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    #97591

    Baker
    Participant

    I would appreciate a copy of your forecasting wizard. I have recently been assigned to improve our forecasting and have a real mess on my hands.
    THANKS!

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    #97600

    Diaconu
    Participant

    Hi Jason,
    A piece of practical experience that you might like to consider. I was recently involved in looking at inventory reduction, of which Forecast Accuracy is a huge driver. First off we looked at how much ‘safety stock’ we should carry to account for natural variation in demand. Then we used a common formula to calculate how much we would need if we had 10% forecast error. The outcome was interesting. For many products the number was only slightly smaller with a forecast ability  better than provided by historical data. For a few, historical data was better than 10% forecast error. For a handfull of products there was a significant reduction in ‘safety stock’ with improved forcecast accuracy compared to historical. The point being that to make a step forward you may find out that you only need to improve forecasting on a small number of products. If your data works out that way it’s a great start to your efforts.
    Mia

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    #99428

    Mark Chockalingam
    Participant

    Mia,
    It is interesting you say that!  I suspect your business is highly stable and non-seasonal.  In that case historical variability is much better than using forecast error to arrive at safety stock.  Forecast makes volatility predictable and hence loweres the safety stock cushion. 
    You are welcome to review the material on my website:
    http://www.demandplanning.net/trackMeasureAccuracy.htm
    http://www.demandplanning.net/Articles.htm
    You are welcome to review and download for your use.  Also remember forecasting matters the most for heavily promoted products.  Since promotional timing can change, it causes additional volatility that is not comparable to historically observed volatility. 
    good luck,
    Mark Chockalingam
    [email protected]
     

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    #100439

    Gabriel Hargens
    Participant

    I recently (within the last year) revamped our US Service parts forecasting methodology. One of the most important decisions was how to measure forecasting accuracy. I analyzed many methods, including all the standard methods such as MAPE, MSE, etc., and finally found a variant called Thiel’s U-Statistic (U2 specifically i believe).In my analysis I found it to be the most robust while minimizing some of the inherent weaknesses of the ‘standard’ methods. I found some white-papers on it by searching the web but I will include the calculation here for your easy access.U2 = 1 – ((sqrt(sum(e^2)) / n) / (sqrt(sum(a^2)) / n))a is actual
    e is error
    n is counterror is the actual usage quantity – forecasted usage quantityPlease let me know if it needs further explanation.

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    #100444

    Mark Chockalingam
    Participant

    Gabriele:
    Can you please give me the references to the white papers you mentioned in your posting?
    Mark Chockalingam
    [email protected]

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    #100445

    Mark Chockalingam
    Participant

    Gabriele,
    If you do the math, this is just the RMSE expressed as a percentage of the Actual volume.  This is typically what is used in the industry to measure error over a period of time.  However, MAPE is considered a better measure cross-sectionally across many products.
    As per my previous message, the white papers will be a good source of explanation.  Please provide them
    regards,
    Mark Chockalingam

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    #100685

    Gabriel Hargens
    Participant

    Mark,
    I could not find the white-papers, its been a while. I did find a link to some reference material. It may or may not be of help to you.http://morris.wharton.upenn.edu/forecast/data/definitions/theil’s%20u.htmlI disagree(based on experience and research) that MAPE is better than Thiel’s cross-sectionally, but disagreements in forecasting methodologies are common.Let me know if the link was helpful.Gabriel

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    #100687

    Mark Chockalingam
    Participant

    Gabriela,
    Thank you.  That link cites Theil and refers back to the calculation you initially proposed.  The debate is always between RMSE and MAPE and Theil’s second measure is just RMSE divided by the actual values. 
    I am looking for references that have tested RMSE as a better measure of forecast accuracy over other measures.  It is inevitable to use RMSE for measuring forecast accuracy of the same product over time.  Such measure is also being used in Safety stock calculations.
    regards,
    Mark Chockalingam

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    #100695

    Gabriel Hargens
    Participant

    Mark,
    Try this link, its a wordy one but it shows the ups and downs of numerous forecasting accuracy measures.http://www.stat.iastate.edu/preprint/articles/2004-10.pdfBTW, Its Gabriel (aka Mr. Hargens), not Gabriela

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    #100698

    Mark Chockalingam
    Participant

    Gabriel,
    Thank you very much for the reference to the paper.  Very informative and contains a collection of references to other papers published.  I am trying to compile a list of forecast accuracy measures and the pros and cons in applying them to the CPG-verticals as well as in the process industry. 
    I apologize for misspelling your name.  Can you please provide me your contact information?  If you prefer to email it to me directly, please email to [email protected]
    thanks,
    Mark chockalingam

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    #100700

    faceman
    Participant

    Mark,
    Here is another.  Don’t know if it will add any to your research.
    http://morris.wharton.upenn.edu/ideas/pdf/armstrong-errormeasures-empirical.pdf
    Good Luck,
    faceman

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    #103398

    L. Poyner
    Participant

    I have just been assigned a forecast accuracy project and would be grateful to take a look at your forecasting wizard

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    #103399

    L.Poyner
    Participant

    I have been assigned to a forecast accuracy project and it would be great to take a look at your forecasting wizard

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    #104957

    Cordell Fife
    Participant

    Terry,
    Could you further provide information regarding the criteria/process you used for establishing “bandwidth categories”.
     
    Thank you

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    #107731

    Mark Chockalingam
    Participant

    What is a bandwidth category?
    Mark

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    #110498

    O’Connell
    Participant

    Hello, I know it’s been a while since you offered to send out your forecasting tool, I have been struggling with a project that involves forecasting repossession orders based on historical information. If it is still available I would like to look at your tool and see if it could be of help? Thanks in advance.

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    #114013

    Mark Chockalingam
    Participant

    Hello:
    I am not sure what this tool is.  I have heard on this discussion forum about a forecasting wizard but does not look like anybody was able to obtain one.  There are several good off-the-shelf packages available for forecasting and some that come as an excel add-on as well.  If you want some recommendations email me at [email protected].
    My personal opinion is that forecast improvement has more to do with the process than with obtaining the right software package.  There are many enablers that improve the collaboration process and hence the forecast accuracy.  However the best mathematical model need not mean the best accuracy.
    It looks like you are trying to forecast returns which are much more volatile than predicting outbound shipments.  This may involve structural or causal models.  Post more information and I will try to help you.
    Mark Chockalingam

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    #131547

    Becky John
    Participant

    Test Mail

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    #133543

    Michael A. O’Rangers
    Participant

    What percentange should your forecast be to actual as an accetable measurement?

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    #135614

    6sigmadeewana
    Participant

    Terry
    I am working on a similar project for improving forecast accuracy. Can you email me a copy of this project at [email protected]
    thanks
     

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    #140376

    Mike Augustine
    Participant

    I have started using a process which focuses on comparing your forecast with a naive forecast developed as a benchmark.  This process was described in a SAS forecasting seminar.  The measure used is called forecast value added.  Which is the difference between the your forecast and the naive model forecast. 
    The metric for measuring the two forecasts uses a modified MAPE.  Termed FA for Forecast Accuracy, it is one minus the ratio between the sum of the absolute errors and the sum of the maximum of forecasts or actuals for each period and then multiplied by 100 to generate a percentage.
    FA=[1-(sum of absolute errors/sum of max(forecast, errors)]*100
    The FA of the naive models are plotted against the coefficient of variations (for actual) to create an FVA line.  Finally the FA  for each of your forecast processes are  plotted.  If the point is above the line, you have a process which contributes to forecasts.  If the point falls below the line, then the naive model is better and the forecast process is not effective. 
    Naive models are simple models which require little analysis and are easily automated. For example a random walk or seasonal random walk are two naive mdoels.
    The SAS forecasting folks would be happy to show you more of their tools.  They have this whole process automated in their forecasting server.

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    #146766

    Elwyn John
    Participant

    If anyone is interested in identifying fault and improving forecast accuracy, you might care to have a look at the following reference:
    ‘Comparative assessment of forecasts’, published in 2004 in the International Journal of Production Research, Vol 42, No 5., pp 997 – 1008.
    I have used it, since its development, over a long period (20 years) to understand and improve forecast accuracy in a variety of different situations. 
     

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    #157237

    Edwards
    Participant

    Mark, this is with reference to your presentation on forecast accuracy. Would you please shed some more light on how actually WMAPE is useful in safety stock strategy?.
    Thank You   

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    #157251

    Mark Chockalingam
    Participant

    Hi David,
    The weighted MAPE is a useful cross-sectional metric to understand forecast performance across SKUs, divisions etc.  This is volume weighted so that the scale differences in SKU do not impact the error calculation.  This is also called the PMAD (percent Mean Absolute Deviation). 
    When it comes to setting safety stock strategy, each SKU has its own safety stock requirement and hence you should use the error calculated over time, say different weeks or months by sku.  If you assume that the scale of the SKU is fairly consistent, then you can use the simple MAPE instead of hte weighted MAPE. 
    Remember in each case, you have to use the Error quantities not the percentage error.  We have typically used another measure called the root mean squared error for safety stock calculations since this is more punitive on large errors and creates a better safety stock cushion.
    You can consult with other demand planning users at our forum at
    http://www.demandplanning.us.
    Best regards,
    Mark Chockalingam
    http://www.demandplanning.net
     

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    #158721

    William Bruton
    Member

    Here is something to consider…
     
    There really is no quantifiable difference between using MAD and Standard Deviation to determine safety stock and the resulting values determined by the two methods only indicate how much arithmetic variance exists in the numbers; rather than identify how much safety stock is required to achieve a desired fill rate?
     
    For example, if I always over forecast my demand, do I still need safety stock?

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    #158742

    GrayR
    Participant

    You should identify two types of ‘safety stock’ to cover variability in the system.  Safety stock itself is to buffer your customer against supplier (you) variability.  Supply variability is due to unplanned downtime, raw material supplier variability, scheduling issues, etc. that prevent you from meeting customer demand 100%.  The other ‘safety stock’ is actually ‘buffer stock’.  You need buffer stock to buffer yourself (the supplier) from customer variability. Buffer stock is needed unless everyone of your customers have leveled their demand (probably not).  Buffer stocke enables you to level your production schedule (e.g., through heijunka).
    By managing them separately, you can identify why you need to carry inventory, and where you can focus improvement efforts.

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    #166183

    Mark Chockalingam
    Participant

    Very interesting observation. 
    Why do you need safety stock if you always over-forecast?  By over-forecasting you are indirectly adding safety stock to the forecast.  In such a case, you are better off using the Mean of the Demand over the past few months and adding a factor for the volatility into your safety stock formula.
    Mark
    http://www.DemandPlanning.Net

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    #166427

    Wiliam Bruton
    Member

    If you always over forecast then the mean data still doesn’t show a shortfall. If I add a factor for volatility then I would just compound the problem and end up with more inventory that I don’t really need. Here’s why – Traditional safety stock calculations identify statistical variance, not a material shortfall.
    Therefore, an improved methodology would be to only consider periods where forecast was low.
     

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    #175560

    sundara
    Member

    Hi Neil,
    Would be interested in your forecasting wizard. You can communicate with me on [email protected]
    Regards,

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    #178962

    sharma
    Participant

    Hi
    I have been assigned a project to measure forecasting accuracy and correct the imbalance in inventory. Please send me a copy of the forecasting wizard. Thanks for your help.
     
    Best regards
    Paras
    email :[email protected]

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    #180617

    Rae Ann
    Participant

    Is this wizard still available and can you forward it to me?  I am currently working on a forecast accuracy project.

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    #180618

    Rae Ann
    Participant
    #186774

    Adhitya Mouli
    Participant

    Hi NeilWould you be able to send the beta tool that you have?Thanks
    Adhi

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    #189153

    Winny
    Member

    I would like to request a copy of the forecasting wizard.
    Thanks,
    Winny

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    #189157

    MBBinWI
    Participant

    Winny:  I’m sorry, but this cannot be sent electronically.  Please tie a red bandana to your post box and I’ll drop off a hardcopy on my way home from work tomorrow.

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    #189158

    MBBinWI
    Participant

    For crying out loud – a reply to a 7 year old post, which was itself a reply (with no new info) to a post that is two years older (nine years since any meaningful info in the thread).  How dumb and/or lazy are you people?

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    #189188

    Win
    Member

    MBBinWI-

    For crying out loud – a reply to a 7 year old post, which was itself a reply (with no new info) to a post that is two years older (nine years since any meaningful info in the thread).  How dumb and/or lazy are you people?
    -What are you talking about? I replied to a older post because I was hoping that someone would help me out. I am working on a six sigma project for work which deals with forecast accuracy. I am struggling with that project.

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