ForecastWorkbench Forecasting integrates forecast development into an interactive, menu-driven graphical and easy-to-use environment. Forecast folders automatically initialize, organize, and store forecasts. Built-in statistical algorithms automate forecasting. "Optimized" forecasts are created with Prediction Intervals.
Events, such as product promotions, can be added to the time series analysis to improve forecast accuracy and to estimate the events' impact on quantity, revenue and profitability.
Forecast Review automatically creates financial roll-ups of the product forecasts. Product sales histories and forecasts are rolled up from the product level to the product family and product line levels, providing quantity, bookings, gross margin and gross margin percent metrics at each level. This provides for rapid, interactive development and review of forecast scenarios against goals for different marketing, sales and product strategies.
B2B's can take advantage of Deals Estimator, which estimates the number of customer deals required to meet the bookings forecast. With that, Marketing and Sales personnel can estimate the number of marketing and sales qualified leads that are needed n-months earlier, where n represents the marketing and sales lead time. Deals Estimator also serves to cross-validate whether the products forecasts are too optimistic or pessimistic.
Product orders data and forecasts are saved into private database tables that can be accessed only by you and your invited members. Access all application functions from your own private Subdomain homepage. In this picture, the 'Demo' subdomain hompage is shown, which can be accessed directly at https://demo.demandanalytix.com.
Create a Forecast Folder for each forecasting cycle or planning scenario. Create as many Forecast Folders as you like. Each product manager can manage their own Forecast Folder for their product line, then combine the forecasts into a larger Forecast Folder (by simply importing forecasts) for all company or division product lines. A forecast "profile" for each product within a product line family is created automatically when the Forecast Folder is created.
From the Forecast Profile view, see the forecast completion status for products sorted by product line families. Choose between "independent" forecasting and "attach rate" forecasting, whereby forecasting is performed as a percent of the product family or some other product family or product. From the Forecast Profile view, select the product to forecast by pressing the "Forecast" button.
Take advantage of a rich selection of forecast calculation assists available in the forecasting dropdown menu:
The Auto Forecast assist simplifies forecasting by automatically selecting an optimum forecast calculation within the Exponential Calcs group, which includes Intermittent (Crostons's Method), Holt Linear and Exponential, and Holt-Winters seasonal. All methods within the Exponential Calcs group calculate a point forecast and forecast uncertainty ranges (i.e. Prediction Intervals with 95% certainty), as depicted in the picture below. In addition to Prediction Intervals, an estimate for Safety Stock is provided in the Prediction Intervals table, also shown in the picture.
Enter increments or overrides to the calculated forecasts using the Manual Add and Override Calc row cells highlighted in yellow. Forecasts can also be entered manually or by copy and paste from a spreadsheet. Or quickly import forecasts, such as forecast from the Sales organization.
Add events -- such as product promotions, product stockouts, large "outlier" customer deals, etc. -- to the history and forecast timelines. Forecast Workbench's Events Manager makes it easy to add events, create event templates, and apply event templates to multiple forecasts.
In the following example, an event named ThinserverChannel_Promotion has been added for three consecutive months in the history. Also, the same promotion is anticipated to be executed in the future and has, therefore, been added to the forecast.
ForecastWorkbench's forecast methods have been extended to accommodate events by adding "event indexes" into the multi-variable regression used to find the parameters, initial conditions and event coefficients that optimize the forecast. The events' coefficients are calculated as part of the overall forecast calculation. In the example above, the forecast calculation estimated that the ThinserverChannel_Promotion events added 9 units per month in the history. The promotions are expected to add the same units per month when they are held in the future.
In addition, a similar forecast can be performed on the discounts history. With the calculated event coefficients for added quantity and incremental discount, ForecastWorkbench automatically calculates the impact of the event on revenue, gross margin, and gross margin percent.
By taking advantage of ForecastWorkbench's Forecasting with Events, users are able to:
View our 2:00 minute Forecasting with Events video.
By pressing the AutoForecast button, all products within an AutoForecast group are forecasted automatically. An AutoForecast group can be multiple product lines, a single product line, or a single product family. The picture below shows the AutoForecast buttons encircled that correspond to the "All Product Lines" group, the "Servers" product line group, and the "Servers/IO_Cards" product family group in the ForecastWorkbenchdemo. If some products within a group have already been forecasted prior to using AutoForecast, then AutoForecast will not override those forecasts.
AutoForecast selects the optimal forecast method for each product within the AutoForecast group. Then it automatically calculates forecasts for unit quantity, Prediction Intervals and safety stock requirements, discounts, net revenue, gross margin, and gross margin percent. The status of the calculations is shown in the AutoForecast status view.
Once AutoForecast is complete, it will generate a report that shows for each product whether the forecast was successfully completed, the forecast methodology that was chosen, and any pertinent messages.
View our 2:00 minute AutoForecast Video.
QwkReport provides for an overview of the product forecasts. Information includes the status of the forecast, forecast calculation method, forecast metrics, the forecasts themselves, and time stamp and user name of when the last forecast was saved and by whom.
ForecastWorkbench automatically rolls-up the forecasts into graphical and table views as soon as forecasts are completed. Select from the Forecast Review wall to review the product forecasts and roll-ups to product line family forecasts and product line forecasts.
Easily compare the product line forecast against your product line's goals for bookings, gross margin, and even gross margin percent. View the deviation from goal, both in the chart and in the table.
Do you want to see the impact that the latest product forecasts are making as compared to the last forecast? Want to see how your forecasts compare against those from the Sales organization? No need for a financial analyst to spend time figuring that out. Get the results instantly as soon as forecasts are completed. Import the forecasts from Sales using ForecastWorkbench's Import Forecasts capability.
ForecastWorkbench automatically rolls-up the product forecasts to provide forecasted bookings by quarter, cumulative bookings over the course of the fiscal year, and growth.
By opening an old Forecast Folder, the actual orders will be automatically graphed and tabulated. You can easily see the deviations between the forecast and actual orders by month. Open up the Forecast Assumptions view to remind you of the assumptions that were made (did that marketing promotion live up to its promise?) By this means, ForecastWorkbench automatically tracks forecast deviations, and organizations can learn which programs worked and which didn't.
The Deals Estimator was made for B2B companies to help them predict the number of customer deals they will need to meet their product line or product family bookings forecast from within ForecastWorkbench Forecasting or product line revenue goal from within ForecastWorkbench Goals.
This example shows Deal Estimator being used from within ForecastWorkbench Forecasting. From the Review Forecast view, press the Deals Estimator button to get an estimate for the number of customer deals you will need to ottain in order to reach your bookings forecast for a product line or product line family. Forecasts for "New Customers" and "Repeat Customers" are provided along with forecasts for Average Bookings per Customer Deal.
Deals Estimator can be used to validate product line and product family bookings forecasts. By using Deals Estimator, you will be able to view the estimated number of customer deals that are required to achieve the product line or product line family bookings forecast. If there is a sizeable gap between the number of required deals and the number of forecasted deals, then your product line or product line family forecast may be unrealistically high.
Deals Estimator can also be used by Marketing and Sales to estimate the number of new and existing customer deals that are required to meet a target or plan in any forecasted month. After getting an estimate for the number of required new customer deals, Marketing can better estimate the number of required new marketing qualified leads n-months beforehand.
The Deals Estimator synopsis alerts the user whether the products forecasts roll-up to a bookings forecast that is too optimistic relative to the number of customer deals that are expected.
The Deals Estimator table shows:
(1) the number of repeat and new customers that are forecast, as well as the number of new and repeat customers that are required to meet the bookings forecast
(2) the forecasted Average Bookings Per Customer Deal for both repeat and new customers, and
(3) the bookings forecast, as estimated by Deals Estimator and by the roll-up of the products forecasts, as well as a comparison between the two
The Deals Estimator charts show both histories and forecasts for bookings, number of customer deals, and avaerage deal sizes.
This chart shows the forecasted bookings that result from (i) the roll-up of the products forecasts, and (ii) the forecasted number of customer deals, as estimated by Deals Estimator. In this example, the bookings forecast estimated by Deals Estimator is substantially lower than the roll-up of the products forecasts, indicating that the products forecasts are likely too optimistic.
In this chart, the forecasts for New and Repeat Customers are shown along with their actual histories. Also shown is the Required number of New Customers that are needed to meet the bookings forecast derived from the roll-up of the products forecasts. In this example, since the forecast for New Customers (which is nearly zero) is lower than the Required New Customers, it will be unlikely that the bookings forecast will be attained in the absence of any new marketing or sales programs. This is an indicator that the products forecasts may be too optimistic.
This chart shows the forecasted Average Bookings Per Customer Deal for Repeat Customer deals and New Customer deals, in addition to their histories. DemandAnalytix separates the average bookings between Repeat and New Customers for the following reasons: (i) New Customers may initially purchase smaller quantities, as they trial or pilot the product. Then once they standardize on a product, they may make repeat purchases in larger quantities. (ii) Repeat purchases may consist of lower priced expendables. A classic example would be an initial purchase for a printer followed by repeat purchases of ink cartridges.
If you choose to create all or some product forecasts using a different tool, you can and still enjoy the many advantages that ForecastWorkbench has to offer, such as forecast folder archiving, forecast review, and forecast comparisons. Simply import forecasts in Excel .xls or .xlsx formats or CSV format into ForecastWorkbench.
Also, you can import product forecasts developed by your sales organization using this method. You can use the forecasts from Sales as a starting point for your forecasts. Also, you can compare the forecasts from Sales against company goals or targets and your own forecasts using ForecastWorkbench's Forecast Review view.
Export product forecasts to ERP systems, such as Netsuite. Choose to export forecasts for all Active products or only for products whose Replenishment Method is Time-Based.
The forecast CSV export format for Netsuite can be imported directly using Netsuite's CSV demand plan transactions import capability.