Forecasting Enhancements

Custom Forecast Specifications are now available.  Prior to this new feature, forecasting was set on a rolling average.  While this approach suited recurring fresh items, it was rigid and prevented more creative uses of existing history.  With Custom Forecast Specifications, users can apply more meaningful dates which then get bundled and averaged.

Examples (click images to see a larger version)

Day-of-Week (default) 
This uses the previous 4 weeks.  Users do not need to actually add this forecast specification because it's what is used if no other specification is found.

Day-by-Day Forecasting

This uses the previous 4 days and is useful for high-volume products that have short lifespans.

Year-over-Year Forecasting
This uses the previous 2 years and is useful for seasonal products

A few things to note:
  1. Specifications are accessed under Location Console > Administration > Catalog > Forecasts
  2. If a product is set to use forecasting, but there is no matching forecast specification, it will automatically use the 'Day-of-Week' forecasting listed above (previous four weeks of data).
  3. Products can only belong to one forecast specification.
  4. Forecast specifications can currently only have four or fewer day offsets.  We will likely be increasing this limit in the future.

Forecasting Roadmap
Some of the things we'll be adding with forecasting include:
  • Downstream forecasting - ability to forecast orders based on sales order data from related products.
  • Improved messaging - improve some of the messaging around the type of forecasting used by a product.
  • Add 'adjustment factors' so that a previous year's purchases can be adjusted based on overall growth trends.
  • Build in forecasting tools into our API to work with third-party forecasting software.

We've worked with several accounts with the new forecasting system and it has been well received.  We took great pains to not require any extra work by accounts already using forecasting.  We're very much looking forward to enhancing this area in the New Year!