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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Aluminum Can Shortage

Aluminum Can Shortage

August 24, 2020

Is trouble brewing for users of aluminum cans?  Some beer and soda manufacturers fear that the existing shortage of cans will grow worse in upcoming months.

Some consumers already report difficulty finding specialty flavors of canned beverages like Cherry Coke Zero or niche brews, as producers focus on making the most popular flavors and brands instead.

Additional can manufacturing capacity is in the works, but it will be up to a year before the new facilities are ready.


Video Spotlight: Low Coca-Cola supply blamed on aluminum can shortage  (July 23, 2020, 11Alive)


This post is based on the Syracuse article, The national beer and soda can shortage: How is it affecting supplies in Central New York?, by Don Cazentre, July 29, 2020; the CNN article, Why America is running out of aluminum cans, by Alicia Wallace, July 22, 2020; and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: belchonock/123RF

Discussion Questions:

1.   What issues are causing demand for aluminum cans to spike, and what types of time-series forecasting variations are these?

Guidance: One of the obvious issues is the COVID-19 pandemic.  As more Americans consume their beer and soda at home, Continue reading

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