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Demand Forecasting in Variable Weather Conditions – Summer Fun?

Aug 12, 2015 2 min

Everyone looks forward to summer, sunny weather, BBQ’s and Picnics and happy times for all. Except the poor supply chain professionals who have to cope with the massive swings in the volume of drinks, ice cream, BBQ meats and salads. Not only do you have to be ready for the start of the season but for every fine day that may or may not occur.

I was in Phoenix Arizona a couple of years ago and chatting to a taxi driver. I asked about the weather, which being British is a usual topic of conversation. The taxi driver stated that it rains twice a year on September 29th and March 30th. When I laughed he got upset saying that he was correct, give or take a day or two each year for the rain, and the rest of the year would be clear blue sky and hot. What joy, how easy would it be to plan your supply chain if things were this predictable? The opposite is true in Europe. In Finland last Mid-Summer it snowed, and this Mid-Summer it was very hot, who knows what it will be next year!!

Forecasting in such variable conditions is always going to be difficult. We can build into the forecast weather predictions which will certainly help, but the real key to gaining a competitive advantage in retail, by having the products the customer wants to buy when they want to buy them, is by good planning and exceptional execution.

RELEX will ensure that you get the very best possible forecast with weather related factors taken into account. Even better we will also provide the capability to plan for these exceptional periods, carry out scenario plans that will enable the buyer to evaluate the best options, and finally ensure that when all hell breaks out you are totally focussed on the most important activity to get your business in the best possible position to maximise sales and keep your customers happy. The “ART” of buying is not wading through copious spread sheets and trying to manually understand and plan what is going to happen, it is not about having to work out what forecasting algorithm will work. That is why we say relax it’s RELEX, all that hassle is taken care of, allowing the buyer to use his skills in knowing what items are going to be the winners this year.

So, how do you model weather impacts in your demand forecasting? Read more about this in our article on the impacts weather can have on demand and how to take different scenarios into account.

Relex and enjoy your summer.

Written by

Andrew Blatherwick

Chairman Emeritus and Advisor