Forecasters dealing with large, complex hierarchies face the challenge of managing thousands, or even tens of thousands, of forecasted items. In order to streamline navigation and to provide flexibility in reporting, Forecast Pro offers the “Hot List.” The Hot List is an easy-to-use utility for creating subsets of your data for viewing, applying modifiers and reporting. Taking advantage of the Hot List can save you time and effort.
The purpose of the Hot List is to create a subset of your hierarchy. By setting aside certain items or groups of items, you can use the subset for:
- filtering output
- applying models, events, weighting schedules and other modifiers to a group of items
- filtering global reports to key items
This edition of Tips and Tricks will describe how to manage a Hot List, and provide examples of things you can do with the Hot List once it has been created.
Adding Items to the Hot List
The Hot List is located in the bottom-left corner of the Forecast Pro primary window—it is the box beneath the Navigator.
There are several methods for adding items to the Hot List. You can:
- Use the Navigator to drag and drop items directly from your hierarchy.
- Dragging an end-item (bottom level) will add only that one item.
- Dragging a closed (collapsed) group will add only that group.
- Dragging an open (expanded) group will add that group, and all items open underneath it.
- Right-click an item or group in the Navigator, and choose “Add to Hot List.”
- You can add just the selected item, as well as different combinations of items/levels above, below or at the selected item’s level.
- Using the “Analysis” option, you have further flexibility to add items based on other criteria, including overrides, outliers, modifiers, ABC analysis and much more.
- Right-click any filtered global report in Forecast Pro and choose “Add to Hot List.”
Now we will walk through two examples of building and using the Hot List.
Example 1: Using the Hot List to Focus Your Forecast Reporting
If you have a large hierarchy with many product groups and customers, you may need to focus your reports on certain subsets of items and/or customers. In this example, we will output the Forecast Report for just one segment of our hierarchy using the Hot List.
Here, we have a data set for a commercial bakery. The bakery has four customers: Stuff-Mart, Sid’s Club, Grocery Land and Food King. Let’s say we need to get the Forecast Reports for the sale of Muffins at Sid’s Club only.
By dragging the corresponding group (Sid’s Club) directly from the Navigator to the Hot List box, we have created a Hot List consisting of the Sid’s Club group and all the SKUs underneath it:
Now, we can export reports for just the Hot List to get forecast reports for Sid’s Club and the desired SKUs, by opening the Project menu and choosing Export > Hot List Forecast Report (notice that you can also do this for the Numeric Output and Tracking Reports).
Example 2: Using the Hot List to Apply Modifiers to Subsets of Items
You can also use the Hot List to add modifiers to groups of items quickly. In this example, we will filter a global report, add that subset to our Hot List and change the forecasting model for all of those items with just a few mouse clicks.
We’ll use the same data set as the first example. The Item Report has been filtered down so we are only viewing items where Forecast Pro has automatically chosen a non-seasonal ARIMA (Box-Jenkins) model. We want to apply a modifier to all of these items so that Forecast Pro uses an exponential smoothing model instead of the ARIMA model.
By right-clicking the report and choosing “Add to Hot List”, we add all items on the filtered report to our Hot List. We can then double-click the first item on our Hot List to bring us to that item in the Navigator. We then change the model to exponential smoothing (right click and choose Model > Exponential Smoothing > Auto). Finally, we can apply the same modifier to all of our Hot List items by right-clicking it again, and choosing Apply Modifiers to > Hot List.
Events, weighting schedules, outlier handling or any other modifier can be applied in this fashion using the Hot List, saving significant time and effort when working with large amounts of data.
In summary, the Hot List is an extremely useful utility that allows you to work with subsets of your data in a convenient and efficient manner.