Working with Alternative Baseline Forecasts

tipsandtricks

In Forecast Pro TRAC, you have the ability to import externally-generated forecasts into the override grid view. We can choose which of these forecasts we want to use as our “baseline” forecast. This can be done either on an item-by-item basis or for groups of items. If we have specified a baseline forecast that is different than the statistical forecast, we can also use the tracking reports in Forecast Pro to track accuracy for our baseline forecasts separately from our statistical and/or our adjusted forecasts.

Setting a Different Baseline Forecast

By default, Forecast Pro TRAC generates a statistical forecast and then allows you to add overrides to this “baseline” forecast to create the final forecast. If we have imported externally-generated forecasts, we may wish to use one of these forecasts as our “baseline forecast” in lieu of Forecast Pro’s statistical forecast.

Consider the example below:

Baseline#1

Notice that we have imported 3 external forecasts into the grid: a forecast from management; a forecast from our sales organization and a forecast from one of our customers, Stuff-Mart.

Currently, we can view these 3 additional forecasts in the grid; however, we are still using Forecast Pro’s statistical forecast as our “baseline” from which we are making adjustments. If we want to specify a different baseline forecast—for example, let’s say that for this particular SKU (COR-12-11), we want to use our customer’s forecast—we can do so by right-clicking the row of the forecast, and choosing “Set as Baseline”. After doing so, notice that the Stuff-Mart Forecast has taken the place of the statistical forecast as our baseline forecast on the first row of the grid, and that the overrides are applied to this new baseline forecast:

Baseline#2

For our other SKUs, we are still using Forecast Pro’s statistical forecasts as our baseline forecasts.
We can also make these kinds of changes across many items at once. By invoking the Forecast Overrides Design Box, we can view which forecasts are currently being used as the baseline forecasts:

Baseline#3

For example, I may want to use our Stuff-Mart forecast for all of the items that we sell at Stuff-Mart. I could do that by choosing the “Stuff-Mart Forecast” from the dropdown menu, and selecting which SKUs should use that forecast as the baseline.
Both of these techniques allow us to specify the baseline forecasts on an item-by-item basis.

Tracking Baseline Accuracy

Historically, Forecast Pro TRAC has stored 2 different sets of forecasts: the statistical forecast and the “final” (potentially adjusted) forecast. Either set of forecasts can be used for comparison in tracking/waterfall reports, allowing us to see where our forecast adjustments may or may not be adding value.
Since we are now able to specify baseline forecasts that may be different than our statistical forecasts, Forecast Pro can also compare that new baseline forecast to actual sales history as it arrives. Notice on the tracking report, we can select any of the 3 sets of forecasts—Statistical, Baseline and Adjusted.

Baseline#4

As we toggle from one to another, the forecast numbers in the report will refresh, as will the series analysis statistics, so we can view forecast accuracy for each of our 3 different forecasts.
Oftentimes, the statistical forecast and the baseline forecast will be the same—they will only differ if the user specifies a different baseline forecast from the statistical forecast.
All three forecasts are also available on all Forecast Pro’s exception reports.

Summary
In addition to importing, viewing, and graphing alternate forecasts, Forecast Pro TRAC v3 also now allows us to specify which forecast we wish to use as our baseline forecast on an item-by-item basis. If we have specified alternative baseline forecasts, we can also track the accuracy of these forecasts versus our statistical and/or adjusted forecasts in Forecast Pro’s tracking reports.
If you would like to learn more about Forecast Pro, please visit our site, or contact us directly to schedule a live demo via WebEx.

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