The inventory performance of forecasting methods: Evidence from the M3 competition data


Forecasting competitions have been a major driver not only of improvements in forecasting methods’ performances, but also of the development of new forecasting approaches. However, despite the tremendous value and impact of these competitions, they do suffer from the limitation that performances are measured only in terms of the forecast accuracy and bias, ignoring utility metrics. Using the monthly industry series of the M3 competition, we empirically explore the inventory performances of various widely used forecasting techniques, including exponential smoothing, ARIMA models, the Theta method, and approaches based on multiple temporal aggregation. We employ a rolling simulation approach and analyse the results for the order-up-to policy under various lead times. We find that the methods that are based on combinations result in superior inventory performances, while the Naïve, Holt, and Holt-Winters methods perform poorly.

International Journal of Forecasting, 35 (1), 251 - 265