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Fall 2015

Special Feature: Forecasting Support Systems

  • Forecasting Support Systems: Ways Forward by Fotios Petropoulos
    Forecasting Support Systems (FSSs) are designed to facilitate the performance of an organization’s forecasters and planners. An FSS always includes a set of statistical methods, but can also provide (a) support for management judgment and adjustments, (b) procedures for storing, retrieving, and presenting information, and (c) an intuitive user interface.
    In this article, Fotios Petropoulos, Foresight’s FSS Editor, offers new ideas on how the current FSS can be improved. He sees three dimensions to the improvement strategy: (i) technological, through open-source software and Web-based features; (ii) methodological, in the adoption of state-of-the-art methods; and (iii) judgmental, supporting interaction between statistical output and managerial judgment. In short, lots of food for thought. And to add to the plate, we added six brief commentaries from software experts responding to the wisdom and feasibility of Fotios’ proposals.
  • Commentaries:
    • Technology, Databases, Statistics, and Processes by Stephan Kolassa
    • Commentary: Where Is the Support for Judgment? by Paul Goodwin
    • Just Don’t Do the Stupid Stuff! by Mike Gilliland
    • The Corporate Backbone of an FSS by Eric Stellwagen
    • A Productive Triangulation by Igor Gusakov
    • The Way to Go by Daniele Amberti


  1. Collaborative Culture: The New Workplace Reality by Neill Wallace and John Mello
    In the first of two articles in this section, Neill Wallace and John Mello peek into an organizational future in which employees are increasingly performing collaborative work. They examine the need to sustain effective internal collaboration, and they describe the significant collateral benefits that ensue from a collaborative culture. Their major takeaway is the guidance they provide to management to nourish a collaborative culture and the warning they give to be aware of practices that work against this goal.
  2. An Executive Guide to Hiring Successful Demand Planners by Jack Harwell
    As Jack Harwell pointedly notes here, “Executives should understand that hiring the most technically competent people wouldn’t necessarily result in the most effective demand planners.” Jack explains that many softer skills are just as critical for successful forecasting and planning in a collaborative business environment based on sales and operations planning.
  3. Book Review reviewed by Christian Schäfer
    Forecasting for the Pharmaceutical Industry, Second Edition by Arthur G. Cook
  4. Forecasting Methods Tutorials – Guidebook Preview
    Foresight tutorials are introductory, nontechnical overviews of important forecasting methods. Their aim is to help business forecasters understand the essential features, strengths, and weaknesses of these different methods, empowering us to make more informed use of our forecasting support system. The methods fall into three categories: time-series methods, methods that incorporate business drivers, and methods based on expert judgment and mass, pooled input (“the crowd”).


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