Forecasting: It’s not just a number!

The fundamental pillars that support good forecasting

The Context

Here at J+D Consulting we create 100’s of strategic forecasting and operational planning models for 100’s of clients’ year on year. These figures have increased consistently, certainly in the last 3-5 years; as scrutiny from pharmaceutical investors puts increasing pressure on revenue generation and growth.
Forecasting is a business-critical activity as it drives Investment Planning, Production, Marketing, Sales, R+D and essentially serves to mitigate investment risk.
Despite the importance of forecasting, many of our clients openly admit that they lack time, resource, understanding and general capability to optimise their approach to forecasting. Thus, a less than optimal forecast is created. Often the forecast is based on several numbers without the context/evidence to support the prediction and those in senior positions are left to make less than confident decisions about the future of their brands.

The Problem

Forecasting is becoming more challenging as revenues are becoming increasingly difficult to generate and individual markets are more complex.

Complexity maybe derived from a diversification in indications, patent changes on products and opportunities in later lines of therapy/ or further combinations; all with a view to squeezing the last drop of profit from every potential brand investment opportunity.
Herein lies the problem, forecasting teams (more so outside the US and EU) are limited by resources and therefore, in some cases there are fundamental forecasting capability gaps, for example:

  • The ability to engage with a variety of teams to obtain cross functional buy-in
  • The capability to manage change when implementing alterations to the forecasting process (which can be met with much resistance)
  • The technical understanding of the basic fundamentals of forecasting
  • The basic understanding of the core business objective behind the forecast itself

The Solution

Improving the forecasting processes within an organisation isn’t an overnight task it takes time, energy and motivation to overcome resistance and to improve capabilities.
In order, for the forecasting process to work effectively we believe there are several pillars that support the overall optimum forecasting framework:

  • The forecast must develop transparency around opportunity and risk and be supported by strong evidence to underpin the numbers
  • The process must align all forecasting activities to generate one truth
  • Complexity really is the enemy when developing decentralised forecasts. The challenge is to provide the required level of understanding around KPI’s without driving down compliance to the process
  • Investment in training is key, and needs to be accessible, relevant and appropriate to requirements of users

Forecasting is a complex multi-faceted discipline that needs to be managed and continually improved and adapted. The cost of getting it wrong can potentially damage any business.
Best practice is attainable and overall confidence in robust decision making can be achieved.
Overall those involved in forecasting need to appreciate that it’s more than just a number!

Maiko Midena, Director of Modelling & Forecasting, Web
[email protected]
+39 (0)432 157 1821

Diving into the deep waters of forecasting

‘Immerse yourself with confidence’

The Context

Time and time again we hear from Brand Managers, Researchers, Analysts and even Forecasters about the challenges in forecasting.

Many stakeholders in a business feel uncomfortable about the time involved in the forecasting process, choosing the right type of model and using the most appropriate data, all in an arena that can prove highly political and pressurised.

The truth is there are many people who fear dipping more than a ‘toe in the deep waters of forecasting’ as it can lead to unwanted exposure and fear of simply getting it wrong.

Here at J+D we provide regular training opportunities and pharma forecasting software for clients to promote understanding, confidence, enjoyment and therefore immersion into forecasting.

The Problem

Forecasting has become more and more important in recent years and has crept slowly into many different roles within organisations.

Forecasting does not necessarily form part of the core skill set for all individuals involved and there are limited effective training opportunities, and a general lack of resources available that can be accessed quickly to resolve a query.

Yet pressure remains to develop, populate and communicate a wide range of forecast models despite a widely varying level of forecasting expertise, experience and capabilities across organisations.

Increasingly, many are frustrated with forecasting and a lack of motivation and confidence can ultimately negatively impact on the forecasts that are being created, making it difficult to make decisions and discuss assumptions with a variety of stakeholders across the business.

The Solution

At J+D we not only pride ourselves on creating intuitive, easy to use forecasting tools. We also provide various support mechanisms to help our clients enjoy and immerse themselves into the forecasting process.

Hence, we have developed a ‘Fundamentals in Forecasting’ training course that is delivered via a variety of formats:

“It was a nice open environment and it was safe to ask questions without feeling intimidated as a non-forecasting expert. I really, really liked the boxes given out with the cards in them! I can see these being something I refer to again and again over the years…. I’ve already being telling people how it was useful (and enjoyable – you can’t say that often about forecasting training…)”

Pharma Forecasting Training Workshops/Courses

Pharma Forecasting Tailored Training Workshops

  • Tailored to individual pharma company needs/capabilities:
  • Can be offered in conjunction with client specific model if appropriate
  • Pre-stakeholder training interviews to refine objectives

Pharma Forecasting Online Training

  • Face to face learning format transferred into an interactive online version, equally as useful and engaging
  • Opportunity to view examples, complete training exercises and test yourself with quizzes

“Nice for me to hear about different types of forecasting I had not done before (e.g. Monte Carlo). I liked the overviews that talked about pros and cons of different approaches, the checklists and having the key takeaway flashcards. The section on market research to generate input data was good and made some important points.”

Andrew Ward, Consulting Director, Web
J+D, [email protected]

0044 161 486 5008

Pharmaceutical Forecasting Excellence

Forecasting across the Product Life cycle

Forecasting is a crucial exercise for mid and long term planning, yet it can be a particularly challenging and complex task in the pharmaceutical domain. It covers a wide range of methods and techniques that may be applied selectively to serve many different purposes.

J+D work closely with clients to develop tailored modelling solutions.

Working in close collaboration with your team, J+D build bespoke tools that are tailored to your specific needs and meet your unique forecasting challenges.  J+D has developed a range of modelling platforms and forecasting tools that will support you in each of the following activities;

Our forecasting and modelling approach is unique to each individual client. Ensuring confidence in use and decision making.

Industry Leading Expertise

J+D is a recognised thought leader and innovator in the creation of pertinent tools to support more effective forecasting. We understand our clients’ processes and ensure we deliver solutions that can be seamlessly integrated.

We understand that securing cross-functional buy-in is a critical factor for success in forecasting. That is why all  J+D forecasting projects employ a consultative approach that identifies and incorporates end-users’ needs, rather than offering a “one size fits all” product.

J+D have a senior led team with a broad range of skills, supporting;

  • Development and implementation of new business processes
  • The design of modelling and forecasting platforms
  • Strong data management capability, evaluating, integrating and managing data capture from both secondary and primary sources.

The Fundamentals of Effective Model Development

To provide maximum benefit, models should meet all of the following criteria:

Intuitive: The structure of the model should be simple.

Over-engineered or complex models will be confusing and difficult to use. J+D  create models that are specifically designed to present large amounts of data and analysis in a clear and intuitive format.

Transparent: The source of information should be fully transparent to support effective decision making.  

Models with black-box elements often hinder internal communication, leading to outputs that lack credibility.  J+D modelling methodologies and processes are logical and accessible. Similarly, transparent capture of assumptions generates buy-in from key stakeholders from the outset, avoiding rejection of the model once delivered.

Applicable: The model should be designed with the market in mind.

Our models are tailored to the specific country/region and disease area.  As a result, they will not include superfluous data or functionality which can create unneccessary complexity.

The Development of the Forecast is Process Driven

The time and speed in which the process is undertaken is driven by client need and market dynamic.

David James, ManagingDirector [email protected]
00 44 161 486 5008