Forecasting Halloween During a Pandemic

Forecasting Halloween During a Pandemic

September 20, 2020

Tricky forecasting leaves chocolate companies wondering how candy sales will fare this Halloween.

Mars’ time horizon for planning for the Halloween season spans two years, yet no one could have known how different things would be this year because the pandemic.  For Hershey, Halloween spending comprises ten percent of annual sales.

No one is sure right now if “self-consumption,” when people buy Halloween candy to eat themselves rather than to distribute to others, will be enough to fill the gap of sales lost from trick-or-treating.


Video Spotlight: 


This post is based on the Fortune article reposted to Yahoo Finance, How scary will a COVID-19 Halloween be for candy companies?, by Beth Kowitt, August 29, 2020, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Shutterstock / Sandy Morelli

Discussion Questions:

1.   What role does aggregate planning play in the current availability of candy for Halloween of 2020?

Guidance: Many companies have a long planning horizon.  In part this may be to ensure adequate supplies of materials and resources when it comes time to manufacture product to meet demand. In addition, manufacturers need to Continue reading

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Snacking Away at the Corporate Giants

Snacking Away at the Corporate Giants

September 10, 2020

 

Our waist lines are trying to keep up with the snack industry! Or is it the other way around?

Utz, a family-owned potato chip maker, is growing fast and going public for even faster growth. Over the past few years, acquisitions have proved valuable for the company, but what seems to be an aggressive, offensive strategy may actually be a defensive one. Small, unique brands build a loyal following and eventually get bought up by large corporations. Utz’s CEO is betting that becoming a giant is the best way to keep the company independent and thriving.

 


Video Spotlight: Utz Goes Public for Faster Growth


This post is based on the Forbes article, Exclusive: Utz CEO Talks Family and the 99-Year-Old Company’s Plan to Go Public on Monday, by C. Sorvino, August 28, 2020, and the YouTube video, Pretzel-Maker Utz CEO on Going Public After Nearly 100 Years as a Private Company, by CNBC Television, August 31, 2020. Image source: Â© McGraw-Hill Education.

Discussion Questions:

1. Have snack habits changed during the pandemic? If so, how? Based on your findings, do you think that Utz’s acquisition of other snack companies matches current demand Continue reading

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Swimming Pool Shortage Stymies Aggregate Planners

Swimming Pool Shortage Stymies Aggregate Planners

August 19, 2020

Those looking for an above ground pool to keep the family swimming during the pandemic may be left high and dry till at least March of 2021.

Companies like Doughboy, whose above ground pools retail for between $5,000 to $19,000, faced production stoppages and materials shortages during the early months of the COVID-19 lockdown.  Now they are racing to keep up as more Americans than ever want the convenience of a backyard pool to stay cool and entertain the kids, and retailers have waitlists that stretch till spring of 2020.

Outdoor patio furniture companies have faced similar challenges.


Video Spotlight: Pool Shortage  (June 16, 2020, WCIA News)


This post is based on the Fox Business article, Swimming pool buyers beached by back orders through 2021, by Jeanette Settembre, August 1, 2020, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Ingram Publishing/SuperStock

Discussion Questions:

1.   In forecasting terms, what type of variation does the COVID-19 pandemic represent?

Guidance: No one could have envisioned the COVID-19 pandemic that hit in early 2020 or the lockdown that would follow.  As such, these are called “irregular variations” in time series analysis forecasting, Irregular variations Continue reading

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