Companies can also obtain forecasts from experts, including dealers, distributors, suppliers, marketing consultants, and trade associations. Large appliance companies survey dealers periodically for their forecasts of short-term demand, as do car companies. Dealer estimates are subject to the same strengths and weaknesses as sales force estimates. Many companies buy economic and industry forecasts from well-known economic-forecasting firms. These specialists are able to prepare better economic forecasts than the company because they have more data available and more forecasting expertise.
Occasionally companies will invite a group of experts to prepare a forecast. The experts exchange views and produce a group estimate (group-discussion methods). Or the experts supply their estimates individually, and an analyst combines them into a single estimate (pooling of individual estimates). Alternatively, the experts supply individual estimates and assumptions that are reviewed by the company, then revised. Further rounds of estimating and refining follow (Delphi method).39
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