Forecasting: Demand and Inventory Forecasting During and After COVID-19

Wednesday August 5, 2020 EST

Food supply and demand seem to be in constant flux during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s made forecasting demand and planning inventories a major challenge for people throughout the food system. It’s also increased food waste. Join our panel of planning experts and food service players to learn about best practices you can implement to forecast more accurately and waste less food amidst uncertainty.

Panelists
Key Takeaways

THINK LAST WEEK, NOT LAST YEAR

Given the unprecedented nature of recent supply and demand changes, forecasting using data from the prior week or two can often be more accurate than using data from last year. “Getting people to look at sales from last week or two weeks ago as opposed to what they were selling a year ago is a cruder process, but it enables you to get more foresight into what demand might look like,” said Matt. Thomas suggested that paying more attention to more recent data can enhance forecasting in normal times, too, insofar as it can help account for the latest trends.

DECREASE DECISIONS

“A big challenge that retailers have, and that has been exacerbated by this crisis, is a lack of time that people have in managing these stores,” said Matt. To make the most of retailers’ limited time while improving overall forecasting accuracy, he recommended focusing on a limited number of higher-impact decisions, which can be identified by focusing on the highest-volume items in demand. “Spending a little more time in the decision-making process in turn drives much less time in running the actual business,” he reminded us. Such an approach ultimately gets higher-quality key products to customers.

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