Authors: Spyros Makridakis, Ellen Bonnell, Simon Clarke, Robert Fildes, Mike Gilliland, Jim Hoover, and Len Tashman

Foresight: The International Journal of Applied Forecasting, Fall 2020 issue

The purpose of this paper is to provide a realistic assessment of the potential benefits to business organizations that derive from applying systematic forecasting methods, particularly with respect to operational and tactical forecasting problems. Our overall goal is to improve the usage of forecasting in organizations— UFO—while incentivizing the adoption of systematic forecasting in organizations that now employ only ad hoc methods.

We define systematic forecasting as the use of appropriate quantitative methods when suitable data are available, while allowing for judgmental inputs and adjustments that are supported by a documented and defensible rationale. Where little or no data are available, such as with new products, our definition encompasses structured management judgment including use of intention surveys, decision aids, Delphi procedures, and others.

The genesis of the UFO project lies in a series of discussions within a group of practitioners and academics about the challenges facing the forecasting field and the need to learn why many organizations do not exploit what have grown to be remarkable advances in forecasting knowledge and technology.

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