Forecasting for inventory control with exponential smoothing
Exponential smoothing, often used in sales forecasting for inventory control, has always been rationalized in terms of statistical models that possess errors with constant variances. It is shown in this paper that exponential smoothing remains appropriate under more general conditions, where the variance is allowed to grow or contract with corresponding movements in the underlying level. The implications for estimation and prediction are explored. In particular, the problem of finding the predictive distribution of aggregate lead-time demand, for use in inventory control calculations, is considered using a bootstrap approach. A method for establishing order-up-to levels directly from the simulated predictive distribution is also explored.