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1. What role does competitive intelligence play in international business forecasting? Which qualitative techniques are most affected by international differences?

2. Why are master production schedules necessary for manufacturers? In what ways do master production schedules help organizations to become more efficient?

3. For those of you who are into "forecasting," here is a question that is used during interviews of Master's degree candidates for jobs in consulting. As such, the respondent doesn't have too much time to think about the answer. For fun -- how would you answer this question during an interview?

"You are visiting a new client who sells golf balls in the United States. You are there to consult to them on strategic planning opportunities in the golf ball market. Having had no time to do background research, you sit on the plane wondering what is the annual market size for golf balls in the United States and what factors drive demand?

Your plane lands in 15 minutes, how would you go about answering these questions?"
Hint: There are 300 million people in the United States

There is no one right or wrong answer to this problem. The interviewer wants to see how you think out of the box on this one! This problem comes from a web site from the NYU Stern School of Business (New York University's graduate business school). Here is what the authors had to say about the problem ----- This type of case is very common, particularly in strategy firms like McKinsey and Bain. The interviewer doesn't care much about the actual number (although how fast you do math in your head can be important), but rather wishes to see a logical process for reaching some kind of answer. Try to come up with an answer without going to the internet or doing other research. I just want to see how you approach the question. I'll illustrate an example of the answer later this week. No right or wrong answer, it's not a test. Just something to illustrate a forecasting problem.

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1. What role does competitive intelligence play in international business forecasting? Which qualitative techniques are most affected by international differences?

The role of competitive intelligence plays in international business forecasting is important. A person is able to keep track of their competitors effectively and with much purpose. These individuals are considered rivals, and are within one's industry, whom are trying to gain a competitive advantage in the market. Management can assess their strategies to make sure that they are ahead of those firms that are trying to gain or take away their customers on a regular basis by seeking improvements. Through this, one can think of the short and long-term consequences in hopes to gain as much revenue as possible. This is not an easy task because it takes much knowledge and skill to understand how others within the given discipline behave on a regular basis.

In regards to qualitative techniques that are most affected by international differences, this is significant. This includes the following. A person will use questionnaires and surveys that he or she may not want to answer at that time because of the conflicts of interest that could arise. Management is likely to use emails, phone calls and in-person interviews that could deter people from becoming loyal customers to the organization. The same is true if this is done internally within the business as well. Regardless, one learns that it will take teamwork and challenges will need overcome as a result of this effort in order to reach as many consumers as possible within their given industry globally or ...

Solution Summary

This solution discussed competitive intelligence, master production schedules and forecasting.