The "U.S. Industrial Outlook " is was printed annually by the U.S. Dept of Commerce and had hundreds of short term industry forecasts. It also references a large number of other government publications. The materials are organized by SIC codes (look in section 37 for the boating industry). It was discontinued and then reborn in September of 1997 as the U.S. Industry and Trade Outlook 1998 It includes most of the information in the old U.S. Industrial Outlook, plus it adds a more global perspective.
Note: this reference book is available from our bookstore.
"Cahners 19xx Economic Outlook" Printed by Cahners Publishing Company , a division of Reed Publishing, is about a 60 page annual report that discusses the general economy, and specific industries. It has a one page Boating / Sailing report. "xx" refers to the last two digits of the years. It is available from:
Cahners Publishing Company 275 Washington Street Newton MA 02158 (617) 630-2119
Business Week 21 Oct 1996 has a story on page 140 titled, "Clearing the Cob Webs From the Stockroom." The story describes a new Internet software and scheme called CFAR (Collaborative Forecasting and Replenishment). It offers a standardized way for manufacturers and merchants to work together on forecasts across the Internet. The parties exchange a series of written comments and supporting data electronically. They describe an allergy pill example in which they swap weather analyses to gage how bad the hay fever season would be.
The "see-far" acronym implies more reliable longer-term views in to the future. A group called Benchmarking Partners developed CFAR with funding from Walmart, IBM, SAP, and Manguistics.
The process is currently being evaluated for high volume consumable items, but it appears it could certainly apply to the boating industry as well.
Genetic Algorithms are finding use in forecasting demand in complex situations, especially in those with lots of options. Deere is using it in alleviating problems they had in forecasting demand of combines. We have a Genetic Algorithms Page which follows developments in this area.
Some think we are not able to forecast the long range weather accurately enough to adjust forecasts and production schedules based on the anticipated impact of the weather. Now a number of long range "commodity type" weather predictions are being made available on the web for both the U.S. and international sites. Technological developments and better computer models are improving their accuracy. It is time to utilize this information, anticipate the long range weather trends and adjusts your forecasts and build rates, rather than reacting to the weather trends after they occur. We suggest you start trying this "on paper" and "get your feet wet" while the long range forecasts continue to improve in accuracy. This will allow you to be able to apply the methods as soon as you feel confident in them. It will also force you to quantify the impact of weather upon your sales. Depending upon the geography of your sales (local dealer vs. international builder) you may have to divide you sales areas into regions and consider the weather impacts in each one. You can use recent sales data and recent weather trends to estimate future impacts of weather trends.
Some commodity weather forecast information is available in the Climate Segment of our Other Useful Links Section. Also, there are professional meteorologists who will aid you in doing determining future weather trends in the areas of concern to you. Some of them sell general reports and others will make a report specifically for your needs. A few of these of these firms are also represented in the Climate Segment Links
Be sure to remember we are not talking about hurricanes or a few big storms. We are talking about long term periods of cold, damp, rainy, or cloudy weather that reduce or prevent the frequency of boating activities over large portions of your sales area. Or in the case of drive manufacturers, over large portions of the sales areas of your customers. Any trend away from the normal number of warm sunny days in the area will effect boat sales. Notice, they can also be positively effected in abnormally long sunny warm spells. Not to play Dilbert, but historically management blames poor financial performance on bad weather and then when sales blossom due to long extended periods of great weather, good sound management is credited. A number of references for weather data are in the Library Folder. If anybody wants to really try this, we can link you to U.S. and International historical weather data and share a few more related ideas. Just e-mail us at email@example.com or give us a call at (800) 443-6543.
For those trying to forecast future sales based on past trends in government indicators (some feel the boating industry leads or lags certain indicators), there is a web site that allows you access to government indicators historical data. You can find the various elements you want and download them. Later you can create your own spreadsheet, weight the variables, and even put them on different time lines (lead or lag each other) in an attempt to predict swings in boating industry sales. Business Cycle Indicators is the site you need for these types of calculations.