One of the questions I get most frequently from people just entering this discipline or wanting to expand their knowledge of business forecasting and planning is what books I recommend. Instead of just providing a list, we thought it would be more beneficial to provide an ongoing list over time with a review or synopsis of the various books that have influenced, inspired, educated, or entertained me. Through a series of posts, I can then focus on some books that are fundamental or foundational for demand planning and forecasting.
Before I go into what I may be reading today, I would be amiss if I did not first provide a reading suggestion and review of the first book I read in this field. In addition, it is also one of the most comprehensive books written in the demand planning and forecasting fields, covering practically every topic which a demand planner needs to know. For all of these reasons, I feel it is only appropriate that it is the first book I review.
Practical Guide to Business Forecasting by Graceway Publishing Company, Inc., written and edited by Dr. Chaman Jain, was originally released in 2001 and then re-released in 2012 as the Fundamentals of Demand Planning and Forecasting. Whilst it has gone through a few revisions since then, the content and relevance has been unceasing since its original release. This book has found its way onto many a practitioner’s bookshelf and is a must read for any serious demand planner or forecaster. As for myself and many others, this became my introduction to business forecasting and textbook for studying and preparing for the Institute of Business Forecasting, Certified Professional Forecaster (CPF) certification program and exams.
This book was the first how-to manual for business forecasting and demand planning
For our professional field, this book is an important contribution and was the first how-to manual for business forecasting and demand planning. It is laid out in sections covering every aspect of the roles and responsibilities with highlighted articles from various thought leaders and professionals in the field, along with real life case studies of theory in practice. It explains challenging concepts in simple language for the newbie and detail explanations for the seasoned professional. You’ll find information about anything and everything related to business forecasting covering people, process, techniques, models, metrics, technology, data, and systems.
The author is in many ways the father of demand planning
The author and editor, Dr. Chaman Jain, is well known and regarded in the field and is in many ways the father of demand planning. Dr. Jain is Professor of Economics at St. John’s University, New York, where he mainly teaches a graduate course on business forecasting. He is the founder and also Chief Editor of the IBF‘s Journal of Business Forecasting. Over thirty seven-years ago he not only revolutionized the field but help provide an organization and structure for the advancement and growth of demand planning, forecasting, and Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP). During that time, he has written over 100 articles, and has authored/co-authored/edited nine books, seven in the area of forecasting and planning. His work, including this book, have helped defined best practices used the world over and became the foundation for the IBF body of knowledge.
This book not only revolutionized the field but helped provide a structure for the advancement of demand planning and forecasting
The book, Fundamentals of Demand Planning and Forecasting, format was created and reads more like a university textbook (in a good way). What Dr. Jain has done is an excellent job of using a collection of articles from various sources with examples and practical experiences organized by topic that goes from the basics of forecasting to theory to best and worst practices. Each section is easy for reference, is a great blend of facts that build on each other, and inform with helpful questions for review and additional suggested readings at the end of each section. The topics it includes are too numerous to list but a few that I have gone back to reread are those on S&OP and CPFR, regression, Box-Jenkins and ARIMA, and Neural Network modeling, performance metrics like WMAPE, and my constant reference back to the glossary.
In demand planning and forecasting, this is a classic piece of literature
I do not want to leave you with the impression that this is just a textbook. In demand planning and forecasting, this is a classic piece of literature and is very comprehensible and enjoyable to read, and is for anyone in the Forecasting and Demand field. It is a definitely a must for your library or recommended reading list. There is a reason as I go through books to review and recommend I felt I must start with this one. Whether you are planning to sit for the CPF or ACPF exams, a demand planner or forecaster wanting to advance your knowledge and career, or anyone asking what book should they read to learn about business forecasting and planning – if you have not already gotten and read the Fundamentals of Demand Planning and Forecasting by Dr. Jain, start there then come back to me when you are done before I recommend some others.