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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The Challenges of Making N95 Masks

The Challenges of Making N95 Masks

Why can’t we produce N95 masks fast enough?

As the US faces shortages of N95 masks, this article highlights the challenges of producing them. China, a country that has ramped up production for itself and for the world, has had to overcome major obstacles even with huge government subsidies and help from regulators. Problems ranging from material shortages to building machines threaten the conversion of existing capacity to mask manufacturing.


Video Spotlight: How China Can Produce 200 Million Masks a Day


This post is based on the npr.org article, COVID-19 Has Caused a Shortage of Face Masks. But They’re Surprisingly Hard to Make, by E. Feng and A. Cheng, March 16, 2020, and the YouTube video, Inside China’s Biggest Mask Factory, by Goldthread, March 19, 2020. Image source: ERProductions Ltd/Blend Images LLC.

Discussion Questions:

1. What problems do manufacturers face when they repurpose their facilities for the production of masks?

Guidance: Manufacturers have to overcome their lack of expertise in making new components, set up operations in sterile environments, buy used or new machines, purchase specialized materials in short supply or set up production lines for those materials, experience delivery delays, and train existing and new Continue reading

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