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How did you become a forecaster?
Early in my career, I was responsible for commercializing a new product from the laboratory to small scale production. As the product demand took off, I needed to forecast demand to drive capacity increases. In my next job, I needed to create accurate forecasts to drive linear programming models to ensure optimal supply / demand balances. In both of those cases, the forecasting techniques were basic, as my focus was on the supply side.

That focus switched when I began to implement Sales and Operations Planning – now my forecasts were directly tied to revenue projections. Accurate statistical forecasts, consensus forecasts, and the appropriate error measurement became crucial.

What areas of forecasting interest you?
I’ve been implementing Forecast Value Add for the last 10 years, and it’s opened my eyes to the issues we face in creating an accurate consensus forecast. The prevalence of value-destroying overrides fascinates me, to the extent that when I went to MIT for a Master of Engineering degree in Supply Chain Management back in 2018, it was my thesis topic. I explored using machine learning to classify overrides as value added or not based on several factors, including override direction, size, and the underling forecastability of the time series.

Implementing those ideas lead to further research into behavioral economics and Nudge Theory, which I think has broad application throughout the supply chain to over-come the unconscious biases that lead to value destruction. I utilize these concepts when implementing Sales and Operations Planning processes at clients.

How has the International Institute of Forecasters influenced you?
As a practitioner, the IIF has provided me with many opportunities explore the interface with the academic world and deepen my own knowledge. Mike Gilliland encouraged me to share my thesis work through the IIF, which resulted in a presentation at the 2020 International Symposium on Forecasting and an article in Foresight – which was then included in the book Business Forecasting: The Emerging Role of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

Foresight: The International Journal of Applied Forecasting and the International Journal of Forecasting are my go-to references when I’m researching how to solve the latest business problems I encounter, particularly intermittency and hierarchical forecasting. The analysis from the M4 and M5 competitions is “required reading” for my team.

Read my commentary article in the recent issue of Foresight: Mitigating Unconscious Bias in Forecasting.

What do you do in your free time?
I bought a Peloton bike pre-pandemic, and have gotten a lot of use out of it. I’m also a big fan of their app, which enables many other types of workouts. I really enjoy being around water, and love to go sailing and scuba diving.

You can contact Jeff at his LinkedIn profile

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