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Forecast Reporting & Analysis: Trends 30-Second Survey Results

The Trends Forecast Reporting & Analysis survey asked six basic questions (multiple responses allowed on two questions). In addition, comments were solicited. Twenty-four surveys were completed.

The survey investigated:

  • Whether companies have a standard report or set of reports that are used each forecast cycle and what information is reported
  • To which parts of the organization reports are presented
  • The media used for presenting reports
  • How much time is spent preparing reports and whether the process is manual or automated

Click here to view the original survey.

The survey started with the basic question, “Does your company have a standard report or set of reports that are used each forecasting cycle?” Of the 24 participants, 22 responded "yes".

Those who responded "yes" were then asked to indicate the types of information that they reported. A list was provided and multiple responses were allowed. In addition, the respondents were allowed to choose “other” and add information not included in the list. By a substantial margin, the top responses were historical data, forecasts and forecast accuracy.

Next, the survey participants were asked to indicate which parts of their organizations they reported forecast information. Again a list was provided and multiple responses were allowed. On this question it is clear that reporting to management and even senior management is common. Of the 13 respondents who indicated that they routinely provide reports to four or more parts of their organization all report to both management and senior management. All of the respondents provide reports to more than one department with the exception of one individual who reported solely to customers.

When asked about the media used for reporting, the most prevalent electronic medium is Excel with 18 of 22 respondents indicating they use Excel. The next most common format is PowerPoint. Surprisingly, only six of the respondents said they use Web-based reports. More than half report that they use printed reports. Nearly three-quarters (73%) indicate that reports are generated interactively as opposed to automatically.

We asked the respondents to provide information on the percentage of their time spent on forecast generation versus reporting and presenting forecasts. It is important to note that for 9 of 22 respondents the sum of these two categories did not equal 100%. As a few respondents noted in their comments, generating and reporting forecasts is only part of their overall jobs.

While the average percentage of time spent on forecast generation was similar for those who generate reports automatically and those who generate reports interactively (34% and 39% respectively), the results were far different with respect to the percentage of time spent on reporting. For those whose report generation is automatic, only 23% of their time is spent preparing reports and presenting results. This percentage jumps to 43% for those whose report generation is interactive.

The final question asked whether any ad-hoc reporting was done. Sixty percent of respondents indicate that they do ad-hoc reporting. Respondents were also asked to specify the types of ad-hoc reporting they do. Several mentioned reporting at varying levels of detail, including by customer, by brand, by geography, by sales manager and even by individual product. This suggests that the capability to look at detail, perhaps as a way to single out problem or high-impact areas is important. Further evidence of this is the fact that a couple of individuals also indicated that their ad-hoc analysis looked at backorders and stockouts, both of which can affect forecast performance.

Click here to download the “Trends 30-Second Survey: Forecast Reporting and Analysis” slides in PPT format.

Click here to download the “Trends 30-Second Survey: Forecast Reporting and Analysis” slides in PDF format.

 

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