Monday, September 19
The Evolution of Forecast Pro
Eric Stellwagen: Eric kicks off the conference by explaining how Forecast Pro has changed over the years in response to clients’ expanding needs, reviewing the new features introduced in the latest product releases, and sharing his vision of how Forecast Pro will continue to evolve in the future.
Tales from the (Virtual) Road
James Berry: By working with scores of Forecast Pro clients— not only teaching them how to use the software, but helping them to design, implement, and improve their forecasting systems James has earned a unique perspective on the practical challenges users face. In this session he will share his insights on common roadblocks and tips and techniques for getting around them.
Moving Beyond Extrapolation: Improving Forecast Accuracy using Optional Inputs
Eric Stellwagen: Most new Forecast Pro users input the demand history for each item they wish to forecast and rely on expert selection to generate an automatic statistical forecast. While this is an excellent starting point, you can often improve your forecasts using additional inputs. In this session Eric will explore the different types of inputs that Forecast Pro supports, explain when they can add value and illustrate how they are applied.
Keynote Presentation: The Past and Future of Forecasting
Spyros Makridakis: Sypros will provide a brief history of the forecasting field, highlighting the importance of the Makridakis competitions in guiding its progress, and emphasizing the recent achievements of machine learning (ML) methods. In addition, he will discuss the future of forecasting and the challenges and changing role of the professional forecaster when ML methods become widely adopted.
Unleashing the Power of the Override Grid
James Berry: Over the past few years, the Override Grid in Forecast Pro has evolved from a tool for entering forecast adjustments and comments—allowing you to collaborate with colleagues to establish the final forecasts—into a full-fledged customizable worksheet facility. Now that you can import external information, define calculated rows and specify alternative baseline forecasts in the Override Grid, you have the power and flexibility to create custom worksheets for planning and S&OP purposes. In this session, James Berry will show you how to unleash the power of the Override Grid.
Client Case Study: Bell’s Brewery
Brendon Farrell, Advanced Analytics Supervisor at Bell’s Brewery/New Belgium Brewing Company: In this presentation Brendon will discuss implementing Forecast Pro and how to manage a successful first year. Brendon will give an overview of some of the challenges Bell’s Brewery faced in their implementation process, as well as some of the benefits they have reaped from integrating Forecast Pro into their forecasting and S&OP processes
Evening Cocktail Party
A cocktail reception will be held on Monday evening, providing a relaxing environment for socializing after the first day of the conference. Connect with other attendees and enjoy a drink while overlooking the Boston Skyline and the Charles River.
Tuesday, September 20
Defining and Executing a Forecasting Process
James Berry: James will review a framework to help your team create a roadmap for designing, implementing and improving upon your forecasting process. With a focus on best practices, he will address creating a forecast process, setting up hierarchies and data effectively, incorporating outside data, collaborating with others to establish the final forecasts, measuring and tracking forecast accuracy, and gaining acceptance for the forecasts within the organization.
What is Machine Learning – and Will it Improve my Forecasts?
Sarah Darin: Machine Learning and AI have emerged as transformational methodologies with a multitude of applications—facial recognition, medical diagnosing and self-driving cars—to name but a few. But can Machine Learning be used to improve your forecasting? Recent forecasting research suggests that it can. In this session, Sarah Darin will discuss the basics and benefits of automated Extreme Gradient Boosting (XG Boost) an effective and accurate Machine Learning algorithm recently implemented in Forecast Pro.
Improving Forecast Pro Performance
Aidan Goldman: Want to learn how to use Forecast Pro in the most effective and efficient ways possible? This presentation will provide guidance on best practices, typical performance bottlenecks, and how to avoid common pitfalls. Aidan will draw upon his extensive experience assisting users to help you understand common reasons that your Forecast Pro project may not be running as efficiently as it could be. You will walk away with some tips on how to maintain an efficient forecasting process as well as actionable changes to improve performance.
Effective Strategies for Forecasting New Products
Eric Stellwagen: New product forecasting is challenging— when there is little to no historical data available you can no longer rely on methods you use for existing products. This session will survey various approaches for effectively forecasting new products. It will review pros and cons of forecasting methods for replacement products, product line extensions, new-to-company products and new-to-world products.
Simplifying Inventory Replenishment Using Forecast Pro
Marco Arias: In this interactive session, Marco Arias Vargas, Founding Partner of Macrologistica and seasoned supply chain educator, will provide a step-by-step workshop walking you through how setting up a simple replenishment model. Marco will review how to improve resilience and performance in the supply chain based on replenishment models, commonly used replenishment strategies and pitfalls, how to implement replenishment models using Forecast Pro, and keys for tailoring a replenishment strategy to meet the needs of your organization.
How Do I…?
Panel: This session gives you the opportunity to get answers from a panel of Forecast Pro experts on any questions you may have about the software.
Wednesday, September 21
Working with Others to Establish the Final Forecasts
James Berry: Collaboration is an integral part of the forecasting process. Gathering business intelligence from colleagues in Sales, Marketing, Finance, Operations, or Management can be crucial to generating an accurate forecast. Now more than ever with supply chain issues, capacity constraints, and backorder situations you need to get feedback from those in your company who know what is occurring. Given that feedback can come from so many sources, setting up a simple collaborative environment is critical to success — whether it is working in a small team with copies of a project to using Excel Collaboration with a large team. In this session we will discuss the different strategies available in Forecast Pro. And how to select the best method for your company.
Implementations from Around the World:
Forecast Pro Distributor Panel: In this session three Forecast Pro international distributors will each describe a specific client’s implementation of Forecast Pro. You will learn about the different challenges each client faced integrating Forecast Pro into their existing forecasting process and hear about the benefits they received by doing so.
Forecasting in the Time of Covid
James Berry: Just as the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted all our lives, it has significantly impacted virtually all businesses in a variety of ways. This session will provide pragmatic insight into how to use Forecast Pro’s methods and techniques to create accurate forecasts during the global pandemic. This session will provide an overview of how Forecast Pro can be used to account for the impact of Covid-19 in statistical models and how to efficiently integrate judgmental overrides in large scale forecasting projects.