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A pioneering centre for fundamental and applied research, leading knowledge exchange between academia and business.
Founded in 1990, the Centre continues to lead the field in applied forecasting and marketing analytics. Our research focuses on developing new methods for the complete range of problems organisations face in predictive analytics including demand planning and market modelling.
We have extensive experience with working in organisations, both public and private, offering research and support in sectors including telecommunications, retailing and manufacturing as well as software suppliers. Throughout the year, we host a range of events including courses and guest speakers.
To advance the practice and research foundations of Marketing Analytics and Forecasting, by developing innovative approaches, and a programme of dissemination of best practices through the introduction of new methods, processes and systems.
Distinguished Professor Robert Fildes, an expert in forecasting from Lancaster University Management School, sheds some light into the delicate balance retailers have to strike during Black Friday and Christmas sales.
Two CMAF events discussed the latest research advances using Artificial Intelligence.
Visiting Researcher Steven Finlay published a no-nonsense guide to data-driven technologies.
Robert Fildes and Ivan Svetunkov organised a successful three-day forecasting stream during this year’s OR60 conference at Lancaster University.
Slides are available of this year’s symposium to download, presenting the latest research for improving inventory planning by the CMAF group.
Slides are available of this year’s symposium to download, presenting the latest forecasting research by the CMAF group.
A delegation of CMAF members attended this year's conference for Marketing Science in Philadelphia.
A new survey that provides an overview of available forecasting software solutions.
A recent study suggests that acknowledging uncertain final aircraft assignments in inventory controls can improve revenue management.
The new package greybox includes various tools to build and evaluate regression-based models.
Some of the latest forecasting algorithms developed by centre members are available as functions as free packages for the popular statistic software R.
Will the proposed merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda shake-up the UK grocery retail market?
Our research objectives are to introduce new frameworks, approaches and methods. This encompasses quantitative models and methods, as well as qualitative analysis of organisational activities of planning and forecasting. Visit our publications for the research produced by this centre.
Marketing analytics focuses on the integration of data, software and statistical methods in the analysis of marketing problems, both strategic and operational. Current research in the Centre includes such topics as modelling the effects of promotions for retailing, establishing optimal prices and defining omni-channel retail strategies that take into account changes in consumer’s behaviour. To support a better marketing budget allocation we evaluate product life-cycle and model dynamics of market shares.
The Centre works on developing new methods for supply chain forecasting, including new approaches to forecasting in FMCG. These include taking advantage of the multiple hierarchies of data available to organisations and enhancing the standard forecasting approaches to include collaborative information, the aim being to eliminate the costly bullwhip effect. We are also developing new methods for slow-moving products, including those with sporadic or intermittent demand, much needed for retailers and spare part suppliers.
Statistical forecasting methods are seldom used alone. They form part of the Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) process where judgment is used to adjust the statistical forecast. The issue of understanding the ‘value added’ arising from such judgmental interventions in the forecasting process is vital to organisational forecasting and planning. This important area was neglected until the Centre initiated a major study on the practice of judgmental forecasting. This work continues with research on judgmental adjustments on promotional forecasts.
Our research includes forecasting with Neural Networks and identifying novel computational methods, and approaches to forecasting model selection. We research classification where we focus on learning models from potentially unending streams of high-dimensional data. Our work emphasises computational efficiency and adaptation in response to changes in the data generating process. In clustering we have developed novel methods for dimensionality reduction and cluster identification that are applied in a broad range of applications from image annotation to time-series clustering.
Organisational impact is a key driver of the Centre’s activities and is regularly assessed by government. Recognised as world-leading in the last evaluation exercise for its impact, our research has achieved major improvements in forecast accuracy leading to substantial cost reductions and/or service level improvements.
Our Centre members are experts in their respective areas, both in the latest theoretical research and also its implementation in real projects with leading multinational companies.
As an academic institution, we can give independent suggestions and are not tied to any software product. Our solutions always consider the most practical approach and the best match for your organisation.
Our members have substantial collective experience in research and teaching. For example our courses are designed and taught by leading professional educators working at the highest level.
We have a long and successful history in delivering first class forecasting education to students and practitioners. We guarantee small teaching groups of approx. 10 to 12 students. This allows us to work with you hands-on using real data, running resource-intensive hands-on exercises. Furthermore, each participant will receive a complimentary copy of the latest forecasting book Principles of Business Forecasting by Robert Fildes and Nikos Kourentzes (course leaders) and Keith Ord.
We are the only institute in the UK to offer a Certificate of Forecasting issued by the International Institute of Forecasters (IIF) which acknowledges your forecasting expertise. It can be obtained by successfully attending any two of our courses.
We can develop tailor-made courses to meet specific requirements for individuals or entire demand planning teams. For example, we regularly teach courses tailor-made for SAP APO-DP. This two-day course covers forecasting methods, error metrics and processes implemented in the software package. On completion, participants understand the pitfalls of SAP's modelling approach and how the limitations can be overcome.
If you would like to learn more about our courses, please contact us.
Working with industry, commerce and government, we support projects on a short time scale bringing valuable insights and knowledge into the organisation for immediate action. We offer a variety of projects formats that have a different level of engagement:
We have led many exciting projects which have drawn upon the broad range of expertise and experience of our faculty members. Consultancy projects can be arranged at short notice and are very flexible in their format. Examples include the implementation of new forecasting models, evaluation and benchmarking of current forecast processes or analysing the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
During the summer term, our Master students from the Business and Marketing Analytics courses embark on a company based projects. These projects offer a very attractive way of obtaining the latest methods from the classroom and fresh insights into the specific issues facing the organisation. Each project is supervised by an experienced CMAF member to ensure its success. Such projects may often lead to the recruitment of the student after the completion of the project.
We advise major software houses on design and implementation of new applications. Our researchers have developed a number of models which are available as open-source software packages that disseminate the latest advances in forecasting methods - please refer to our Resources tab for more information. Projects have also customised software for organisations or advised on the design of more effective Forecasting Support Systems.
Some projects are more ambitious and will require greater time to collect, analyse and interpret data. These projects need a more significant amount of expert resource to yield the greatest benefits. The government is keen to promote the industrial-academic partnerships required for successful longer-term projects and we would be glad to discuss these opportunities with you.
The KTP Scheme is designed to facilitate knowledge transfer from the University to the industrial partner. As part of this, it provides academic support for the fast-track development of recent graduates into industrial management. The graduate, based in the company and supervised by a member of the centre over a typical period of two years, works on a project or linking projects identified by the company. The cost to the company is subsidised by the KTP scheme, making it an attractive proposition to an organisation with a major development need.
This project type will give you chance to obtain a leading edge of innovation to your competitors. Research is undertaken over a three or four year period on a jointly agreed problem with the client. The cost of sponsoring a student can be reduced through sponsorship by the government or through the funding from the UK research councils.
We are proud to have worked with a range of national and global organisations such as those below.
If you would like to learn more about our projects, please contact us.
Our centre has a dynamic group of PhD students who are researching various topics within our research themes. Read more about doing a PhD in Management Science at Lancaster.
Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting, STOR-i Centre for Doctoral Training
Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting, Health Systems
Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting, Health Systems, Simulation and Stochastic Modelling
Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting, Lancaster Intelligent, Robotic and Autonomous Systems Centre, STOR-i Centre for Doctoral Training
Centre for Consumption Insights, Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting, Networks, Knowledge and Strategy
Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting
Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting, Centre for Transportation Systems & Logistics (CENTRAL), STOR-i Centre for Doctoral Training
Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting, Centre for Transportation Systems & Logistics (CENTRAL)
Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting, Centre for Transportation Systems & Logistics (CENTRAL), Modelling and Inference, STOR-i Centre for Doctoral Training
For a full list of our upcoming events and courses, please visit our Events page.
Thursday 21 March 2019, 9:00am to Friday 22 March 2019, 5:00pm
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