Forecasting

The Metra experience in forecasting is that even a well thought out forecast is seldom right, but as long as the elements and assumptions are clearly stated, forecasting is a valuable tool.

The two driving forces are :
What the business environment will do.

  • Identify trends and follow through
  • Identify gaps and look for potential solutions

How the organisation reacts and takes advantage of the situation.
There are proprietary forecasting techniques, but they usually resolve down to anticipating the factors that will affect progress and making assumptions about timing and their weighted effect.
The first step is to list anticipated factors.

Metra Martech's approach is two-fold :

  • (i) Examine past data for trends and cycles, supply and demand, globalisation etc.
  • (ii) With the client, talk to (interview) suppliers, competition and users about trends, gaps and their foresight.

The second step is to organise the information so that a model can be built. Models vary from the very simple to giant and very complex ones.
The success of the model as a forecasting weapon is dependent on how easy it is to change the assumptions as new information becomes available, and on how well the factors are weighted against each other.

  • Identify "drivers" break the forecast down into components and rebuild the scenarios
  • Business trends/Social trends
  • Environment/Legislation
  • Visionary vs Reactionary/DELPHI

The forecaster's tools at this stage include the statistical analysis such as smoothing, regression, correlation, curve fitting and the elusive logistic or "S" curve.

Thereafter, the forecast moves into the visionary vs the reactionary stage. Here we are looking for opinion leaders rather than "science fiction" enthusiasts. We are also seeking out new and developing segments within the business. Here we apply the "what if" principle and develop measures of sensitivity to factors as well as confidence levels.

This usually involves careful discussions with industry watchers and participators as well as peripherally involved players. Metra Martech often have a better view than the specialist, focused client. This is followed by interactive development of cause and effect.

Metra experience over many years has given us a cautious confidence in the ability to produce valuable forecasting tools.

The sort of studies that we have tackled include :

  • Small commercial aircraft
  • Trade flows
  • Telecom equipment and services
  • Materials substitution
  • Aspects of the building industry
  • Small engines
  • Use of electronic media
  • Medical diagnostics
  • Environmental developments
  • Energy use
  • etc.