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Fall 2008 Issue

Special Feature: Benchmarking of Forecast Accuracy

  • Can We Obtain Valid Benchmarks from Published Surveys of Forecast Accuracy by Stephen Kolassa
    Organizations often seek benchmarks to judge the success of their forecasts. Reliable benchmarks would allow the company or agency to see if it has improved upon industry standards and to evaluate whether investment of additional resources in forecasting would be money well spent. But can the existing benchmark surveys be trusted? “No,” says Stephan Kolassa, who has analyzed the surveys and found them seriously deficient. In this article Stephan explains the many problems that plague benchmark surveys and advises that companies should redirect their search from external to internal benchmarks since the latter provide a better representation of the processes and targets the company has in place.
  • Measuring Improvement in Forecast Accuracy: A Case Study by Robert Rieg
    Over the past 15-20 years, improvements in forecasting methods, deepening practical experience, and increasing computing power should have allowed companies to significantly improve their forecasting accuracy. In this paper Robert Rieg examines the changes in forecasting accuracy of a large automobile manufacturer between 1991 and 2005. His analysis shows how a company can examine its track record over time and emphasizes the need to distinguish internal from external factors that impinge on forecasting accuracy.

    • Commentaries
      • Teresa McCarthy, Donna Davis, Susan Golicic, and John Mentzer
      • Jim Hoover, Foresight/ Software Editor
  • Forecast Process Improvement: Overcoming Challenges in Operational Forecasting Projects by Ian Watson-Jones
    While no one who has attempted to manage a new Operational Forecasting (OF) project will tell you it was a piece of cake, they probably never fully anticipated the breadth of issues that would have to be addressed or the sustained leadership requirements necessary for effecting change that works. Ian Watson-Jones has spearheaded many an OF project. In this feature article, Ian describes the wide range of elements that can undermine project success and offers mighty sensible recommendations for anticipating and overcoming the challenges. Don’t miss his checklists of Process, System, and Organization issues.


    1. Software Review: Forecast Pro Unlimited, by Ulrich Küsters And Janko Thyson
      In this software column, we review Version 5.0 of Forecast Pro Unlimited (FPU), a Windows-based product developed by Business Forecast Systems, Inc. (BFS). The program is a successor to the Forecast Pro Batch system, which has been on the market for more than a decade. Compared to Forecast Pro Extended Edition – BFS’s “hands-on” product – Forecast Pro Unlimited provides a smaller method spectrum while offering enhanced data management facilities. FPU is not a planning system, however.
    2. Book Review by Roy Batchelor
      Super Crunchers by Ian Ayres
    3. The World of Forecasting by Randall Jones and Alfred Cuzan
      In the Summer 2008 issue of Foresight, we described regression models that have been used to forecast American presidential elections over the past three decades. Most of the analysts who created these models are still forecasting presidential elections and have made their forecasts for 2008, which are now available and are reported here.
    4. Forecaster in the Field – Mohsen Hamoudia
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