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Summer 2020

Special Feature

How to Choose among Three Forecasting Methods: Machine Learning, Statistical Models, and Judgmental Forecasts by Yue Li, Diane Berry, Jason Lee
Forecasting methods are usually categorized into three types: statistical models, machine-learning models, and judgmental (or expert) forecasts. In this article, Yue Li, Diane Berry, and Jason Lee of the Global Advanced Analytics Group with Bain & Company present their views on the strengths and weaknesses of the three forecasting methods.

Commentary: Stephan Kolassa presents his own assessment of the interpretability, stability, and scalability of the three different approaches, in the process clarifying the bases for these ratings.


  1. Medical Errors in the Age of the Intelligent Machine by Michael Tremblay
    There are great expectations for the role of artificial intelligence in health care, a system within which small errors can have life-changing implications. In this article, the author explores the potential role of AI toward reduction of medical errors.
  2. How Stagger Charts Can Improve Forecast Accuracy by Agneta Ramosaj and Marino Widmer
    Stagger charts offer a valuable tool for displaying forecasts and forecast errors. In this article, the authors describe the role of stagger charts in forecasting and extend the tool into pivot tables that display multiple views of the business. They then provide a case study to illustrate how a small-to-medium enterprise (SME) applied these tools to improve its forecasting performance.
  3. Technology Support in Business Planning: Automation, Augmentation, and Human Centricity by Niels van Hove
    Niels argues that technological advances can lead to either (a) planning process and decision automation, or (b) planning and decision augmentation. Process automation replaces human action with technology while cognitive automation replaces human decision making with technology. On the other hand, augmentation—expanding supply-chain knowledge with insights, predictions, and recommendations—maintains human centricity in the decision- making process. Although third-wave supply-chain software could cover all these elements, Niels believes that human centricity is critical, and that decision augmentation should be the more desirable form for business planning.
  4. Book Review by Shari de Baets
    Hello World: How to Be Human in the Age of the Machine by Hannah Fry
  5. The M5: A Preview from Prior Competitions by Casper Bojer and Jens Peder Meldgaard
    The article highlights key results of six prior competitions as a foretaste of what we can expect to learn from the M5.
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