• tabs image tabs image cover

    Why Attend

  • tabs image tabs image cover

    Pre-Conference Workshop

  • tabs image tabs image cover

    About Us

Reserve Your Space Without Obligation

This event was very informative and there were great ideas presented that I will be using to improve our forecasting process.
Barbara Thomas, Demand Planning Manager, Ecolab, Inc.

IBF’s 5th Annual Predictive Business Analytics, Forecasting & Planning Conference is a comprehensive program covering everything about predicting the future using new sources of data, methods, tools, talent management approaches, and more to become confident with our decision making and business plans.

Why YOU should Attend:

  • Understand how to create a data driven culture in your organization and win
  • Learn how to turn Big Data into valuable insights for better operations planning
  • Learn how to apply predictive analytics to the S&OP process for maximum impact
  • Learn how to use social media, point-of-sale (POS), syndicated data, and other attributes to predict sales
  • Gain knowledge on emerging technology tools for predictive analytics & business forecasting that are making organizations more profitable
  • Learn how to optimize inventory and customer service through improved business analytics
  • See the significant financial benefits that can result from improving the analytics capabilities within your organization
  • Learn how to mitigate risk through predictive analytics
  • And much more
Past Conference Schedule
Download Schedule (PDF, ~2mb)
  • Conference Day 1
    Apr 28, 2020
  • Conference Day 2
    Apr 29, 2020
  • Pre-Conference Workshop
    Apr 30, 2020
7:00 AM - 8:00 AM
Registration & Morning Refreshments | Visit With Exhibitors
8:00 AM - 8:15 AM
Welcome & Opening Remarks
8:20 AM - 9:15 AM
Bringing Advanced Data Science To Statistical Modeling: Large Scale Forecasting With Python and Facebook Prophet

High forecast accuracy should be the priority for any company. Why? Because it increases the likelihood of favorable outcomes in customer service and working capital through availability of the right mix of products at the right place and time. The data science team at Newell Brands has implemented a statistical demand forecasting platform, Apollo, written entirely in Python, incorporating a broad suite of modeling techniques, including Facebook’s Prophet framework, and various spectral and classical decomposition methods. The platform is built to accommodate tens of thousands of time series using parallel processing with robust out-of-sample testing and model hyperparameter tuning. A highly parametrized and generalized design allows for low overheads, switching across data sets (orders, invoices, point of sale units and levels of aggregation). Come to this session and I’ll reveal how we incorporate exogenous factors such as event calendars, promotional data and macroeconomic drivers, as well as deployment, adoption and how we use model results to override existing statistical forecasts.

You will learn:

  • Solutions to common technical challenges when building a forecasting system at scale, including parallelization, model hyperparameter tuning and out of-sample testing
  • Our approach to deploying the forecasts including the initial rollout and ongoing maintenance
  • Technical, organizational and business best practices that we adopted (code versioning on Github, partnership with demand planning and CoE teams, sponsorship from key leaders etc.)
8:20 AM - 9:15 AM
A Little Machine Learning Can Go A Long Way: Tools for Machine Learning in Demand Planning

Though by no means a nascent technology, Machine Learning (ML) is still in its infancy as a tool for demand forecasting. The current limited use of machine learning by demand planning organizations may be driven by a lack of need, a lack of internal data science expertise, or inadequate commercially available offerings. Whatever the case, the purpose of this presentation is to show you how you can implement a ML forecasting solution in your organization that requires minimal upfront investment with the potential for transformational results. I’ll show you how to get started with the right tools and techniques, with lessons learned from our journey, and leave you with a practical roadmap to benefit from this technology right away.

You will learn:

  • What tools make machine learning most accessible
  • Our real-life experience in developing forecasting tools that include machine learning techniques
  • How our demand planning process has been adapted to include machine learning techniques
9:20 AM - 10:15 AM
When Celebrities Ruin Your Forecasting: The Difficulties of Celebrity & Influencer New Product Launches

It’s difficult enough to plan for a new product, especially in the Beauty industry. Brands usually look to add completely new products making it difficult to find the appropriate benchmarch or like products to provide an initial forecast. And this lack of forecast means challenges regarding regional relevance, distribution, changes to assortments, STT timing and digital and in-store activations. Add to that the star power behind major celebrities who can spike demand for your products by promoting it to their social media followers who will buy new, limited duration products immediately after seeing a tweet. These big names and short timing make it difficult to avoid holding and distributing wildly inaccurate inventory. The good news is, there are steps to take that can help mitigate this, and it all starts with analytics. Come to this session and I’ll reveal how you can accurately forecast new products, allowing your supply chain to balance supply with demand, and increasing the odds of a successful launch.

You will learn:

  • Planning for short life-cycle products, and issues, experiences and success factors
  • How to plan and launch a new product for best results
  • Utilizing analytics for new product launches and how to forecast demand for a new product
9:20 AM - 10:15 AM
Introduction To Tools and Algorithms in Data Science & Machine Learning

People are well aware of the increasing importance of Data Science and Machine Learning, but many don’t understand the tools/algorithms that power this technology. As with anything, understanding the core concepts and methodology behind software tools is key to getting the most out of them. This hands-on session is designed to introduce participants to a breadth of Machine Learning algorithms, including Linear Regression, K-Means, K-Nearest Neighbors, Decision Trees, and Support Vector Machines. The focus of the session will be on gaining a conceptual understanding of these tools, providing a solid foundation on which to learn how to use them. Demand planning and forecasting professionals with limited or no coding skills or statistics background will be able to comprehend the material. I’ll leave you with the confidence and knowledge required to start the journey to leveraging Machine Learning in your organization.

You will learn:

  • How machine learning works and its applications
  • The terminology and uses of many of the most common data science tools
  • The conceptual methodology of the most common data science algorithms
10:15 AM - 10:30 AM
Morning Break
10:30 AM - 11:25 AM
The Current State of New Product Forecasting

In 2018, a survey was conducted by SAS and the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business to determine the current state of New Product Forecasting (NPF) practices during the commercialization stage. The results provide an in-depth view of the current state of new product forecasting (NPF) practices across all industries for launch and pre-launch. The findings paint a fascinating picture of the NPF landscape and we will share them with you in this interactive session. A focus on departmental responsibility and involvement in the NPF process, technique usage, technology usage, forecast accuracy, and forecast time horizon will be discussed. Attendees will get an understanding of the challenges, opportunities and best practices that will help in their own new product forecasting and planning process. A discussion as to how Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are being used to enhance the predictability of new product launches, filling the gap left by time series models and in the process turning the risk of new product launches into opportunity.

You will learn:

  • Learn what satisfied customers are doing to improve new product forecasting (NPF) launches
  • The biases companies must overcome when generating NPFs and which departments should be involved in the NPF process
  • Key findings comparing NPF in manufacturing versus non-manufacturing companies
  • How companies are using machine learning and sentiment analysis to improve NPF launches
10:30 AM - 11:25 AM
Jumping Across The S&OP Maturity Chasm: How To Use Predictive Analytics, Big Data & Risk Management Tools For Next Level S&OP

For almost 50 years, the operations/supply chain profession has embraced the S&OP process to balance supply and demand in complex supply chain networks. As a former S&OP process owner for three Fortune 100 manufacturers, I can identify with the challenges associated with developing and sustaining the process. With more and more tools emerging like Predictive Analytics, Big Data, probabilistic supply chain modeling, cognitive computing and risk management methodologies, the future looks very bright. Why? Because the tools allow us to adapt to the new normal, i.e., unstructured data in our supply chains. With this technology, we have an opportunity like never before to make the next-level jump to S&OP maturity and secure a competitive edge.

You will learn:

  • The global digital landscape and how it relates to S&OP
  • New tools and techniques that better handle uncertainty, complexity and risk in our supply chains, and can literally read, analyze and respond to unstructured data
  • Recent use cases and ROI’s achieved by organizations who are exploring these new approaches
11:30 AM - 12:25 PM
A Matter Of Life & Death: Improving Sales Forecast Accuracy in the Services Industry

This case study describes our journey at Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company to create accurate and actionable annual sales forecast for the executive team. At this large life insurance company, our objective was to provide a mid-year forecast that would allow management to intervene in time to meet or exceed annual sales goals. This interactive session will cover the methodology we used to successfully improve forecast accuracy, and present the model results in an impactful way. It will also cover critical decision points including variable selection and transformation, model selection, determination of appropriate evaluation criteria, and deployment considerations. You’ll leave this session with practical insight to drive forecast accuracy in your own organization, and know how to present it executive management.

You will learn:

  • How forecasting can impact a business’s financial goals
  • How to set up the data for forecast modeling
  • How to compare forecast models and select the right one
11:30 AM - 12:25 PM
Saving Lives With Demand Planning: Statistical Forecasting

Emergency Department (ED) overcrowding is a critical problem in hospitals nationwide. An excessive number of patients waiting to be seen for medical care stops ED’s from treating people effectively and quickly. The impact of overcrowding on patients who require emergency care are dire because it doesn’t just mean lower patient satisfaction, it means higher death rates. It also means more costs the hospital has to bear that could be directed to better patient care. But could there be a solution to this problem? In this interactive session, I will reveal that if expected demand for ED services is known, then hospital systems can schedule the appropriate level of staff (supply) to the expected demand (patient visits). I will discuss real-life case studies where hospitals have implemented statistical forecasting methods for predicting ED patient arrival. We’ll examine how these predicted volumes were evaluated and integrated to the hospital’s decision making process and successfully met leadership expectations. The methods and approaches discussed are applicable to all industries.

You will learn:

  • How to conceptualize and frame an analytical problem, linking research questions to data
  • How different modeling techniques can help with predictions (GBM, Random Forest, Lasso, Time Series)
  • How to successfully implement statistical modeling to support decision making process
12:30 PM - 12:50 PM
12:50 PM - 1:30 PM
Keynote Presentation
1:30 PM - 2:00 PM
Visit with Exhibitors
2:00 PM - 2:55 PM
Optimistic About Inventory Optimization: Statistically Determined Safety Stock & Automated Procurement

Let’s talk about something we all struggle with: deciding an acceptable safety stock level that is financially efficient while preventing risk of stock-out. In this hand-on session, you will be introduced to basic statistical tools such as Z-Scores and sample standard deviations as they relate to demand and inventory optimization. The concept of desired service levels and an ABC modeling approach will be explained and shown how it can be integrated into a statistical safety stock approach. Variations on the original base algorithm will be given to adjust for variations in lead time, demand, and other supply factors. Last but by no means least, an introductory re-order point model will be given utilizing an expanded form of the safety stock algorithm that can be implemented to automate procurement.

You will learn:

  • How implementing a statistically based safety stock system using algorithms can optimize inventory and be financially efficient
  • The role of ABC modeling in statistical inventory management
  • How a statistical safety stock and re-order point can automate procurement efficiently
2:00 PM - 2:55 PM
Becoming A Story Teller Like Steven Spielberg: Build Your Career by Building A Narrative For Data Visualizations

Data is great, but what use is it without context, actionable insights and being able to present it in a way that people understand? This presentation focuses on the importance of making a good impression when presenting analytics, not just to make the most of your findings, but to further your career. Make no mistake, the way we present the findings of our analysis is key to climbing the corporate ladder. We do this by attaching a narrative to our data visualizations. In this session designed to help your progress in your career, I’ll reveal what constitutes a narrative and why we must develop it before we prepare data visualizations, and how to use storyboards to build a narrative. Lastly, we break out the specifics between a successful written narrative with analytics, and a visual narrative with analytics. For ambitious analysts, data scientists and planners who want to get ahead, this is not one to miss.

You will learn:

  • Why it is important to your career to learn to think in terms of the narrative, not just the data
  • What attendees can learn from film director Steven Spielberg
  • The best way to practice for a presentation for maximum engagement and impact
3:00 PM - 3:55 PM
More Than Just Accurate Forecasts: Using Intelligent Automation & Machine Learning to Boost FVA

Intelligent automation (IA) driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) is disrupting the way companies do business. IA techniques can be applied to all kinds of activities across your organization to reduce the everyday repetitive work while uncovering key insights to improve the effectiveness of your processes, as well as your workforce. IA will sense and synthesize vast amounts of data, guiding demand planners with surgical precision to make more value add to the demand planning process. In this session I will reveal how Demand Planners will be able to understand and analyze massive amounts of forecast information, respond quickly to complex inquiries, and make accurate overrides across the entire business hierarchy.

You will learn:

  • How intelligent automation driven by machine learning (ML) techniques can enhance demand planning
  • How you can automate repetitive work while providing intelligence to pinpoint where, when and by how much to manually adjust statistical forecasts
  • The real benefits of ML recommendations. Know when to adjust forecasts and when not to for more accurate adjustment
3:00 PM - 3:55 PM
Your Bias Is Showing: Using Behavioral Economics to Improve Human Inputs in Forecasting

For nearly fifty years, the pioneering work of Tversky and Kahneman has demonstrated that a hybrid approach to forecasting – using both human inputs and a statistical baseline – will usually outperform a singular approach. And building on this foundation, recent advances in Behavioral Economics have put a host of powerful new insights and tools into the hands of demand planners that can mitigate common problems in the forecasting and planning process – namely biases from different functions that make their way into the forecast. By its nature, every human touchpoint includes a degree of subconscious bias and heuristics, but by identifying them we are able to put in place nudges and safeguards that minimize their impact, and improve the quality of forecasts. This presentation will provide attendees with some simple and highly effective practices to put into place to begin making use of behavioral economics in their own planning processes.

You will learn:

  • How to identify some of the most common heuristics and biases at play in demand planning and forecasting
  • What steps to take to minimize the risk of judgment bias in forecasts
  • The value of FVA and other practices to improve forecast accuracy
3:55 PM - 4:10 PM
Afternoon Break
4:10 PM - 5:05 PM
Round Robin Roundtable Discussions
Pre-2020 Pricing
(Expires in 15 days, 2 hours)
APRIL 29-30, 2020
APRIL 29, 2020
APRIL 28, 2020 (IBF Members ONLY)
Put the IBF to Work for You!

Become an IBF Member and Start Improving Your Forecasting & Planning Performance Today.

The IBF Advantage:

IBF members include well-known company professionals that span a broad array of business sectors. By joining our organization, you can make certain that your company sets up the right forecasting & planning process and uses the best techniques available. Moreover, you can be sure that your forecasting and demand planning staff has the proper knowledge and skill set for success.

As an IBF member you receive:

  • A subscription to the Journal of Business Forecasting, which is primarily written by and geared toward practitioners.
  • Our Research Reports which include valuable benchmarking information and provide you with eye opening information on various topics in Business Forecasting and Planning.
  • Special discounts on our Conferences, Workshops, Training Seminars, Certification Program, as well as on any new products and services we will offer in the future.
  • Access to Journal of Business Forecasting Past Articles (FREE)Access to our growing online Knowledge section & Action Templates
  • Complimentary 1-day Tutorials at select Global events ($1000 USD Value)
Upcoming Events & Trainings
February 10 – 12, 2020
Scottsdale, Arizona USA
Making Integrated Business Planning a Reality at Your Organization...
June 18 – 19, 2020
Chicago, Illinois USA
October 20 – 23, 2020
Orlando, Florida USA
w/ Leadership Forum & Demand Planning Tutorial...
Event Location
Harrah's Hotel
Poydras St, 228, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
IBF Sleeping Room Special Rate: $219 (USD)/ night + tax
Group code: S05IBF9
Reservations: +1-877-466-7847

*Harrah's will assess a $15 fee for all reservations made via the telephone call center. This fee will not apply to reservations made via the internet.
Book My Accomodation