Prediction of supply and demand for critical goods during a pandemic
As supply chains see unprecedented disruptions, consumers are changing their behavior, and some companies are slowing down their demand, and forecasts have become a real challenge.
In collaboration with dealers and manufacturers, we know that traditional models tend to over-correct under unforeseen circumstances. When there is little historical data on similar scenarios, models will be difficult to stabilize. We see that it helps to make small, frequent updates to the model with small changes using data signals such as timing, shopping channel mix, and product mix.
A consumer goods company asked us to predict demand for several European countries based on different supply chain constraints in each country. As a major food producer, millions of consumers rely on this company to stock grocery stores with healthy food. The models developed by our teams accounted for potential staff shortages due to illness and other changes that could affect the availability of sites in multiple countries.
A popular presentation at our conference, Supply Chain Demand Sensing: COVID-19 Impacts, explained how retailers can predict and plan changes in consumer demand, including how to model a return to recovery.
Supports critical scientific research with deep analysis
From modeling the genetic makeup of COVID-19 to developing new treatment methods and vaccines, the medical and scientific communities are utilizing every available resource to combat the disease.
In addition to working with health and life science companies that are developing new drugs to fight the new virus, we are implementing sophisticated text analysis to find answers in more than 50,000 full-text documents on COVID-19 viruses and other coronaviruses, which has been compiled and released to the public by the Allen Institute for AI, Semantic Scholar and other research groups.
When we look at the amount of data that the research community collects about this disease, it is more than any person can consume. Using text analysis and AI to discover trends and communities in research studies can lead to new insights into the disease and help answer many unanswered questions.
SAS joins other technology companies and citizen data researchers to analyze this open data set, share what we learn about the data, and provide a collaborative platform for researchers to further study viral transmission, incubation, and mutation.
The conference presentation “How COVID-19 Accelerating Innovation” describes tools and resources for epidemiological modeling, scientific research and drug development.
Restoration and rethinking of the future
I have always believed that knowledge is empowering. As we confront new waves of the virus across the globe, I am optimistic that analyzes will continue to illuminate the path.
Analytics helps us understand more and more about R0, or the spread rate, and how each of our mitigation efforts affects it so that we can work to reopen economies methodically and safely. Analytics helps economic recovery by identifying where stimulus money and incentives can have the greatest impact.
And further into the future, I’m sure we’ll be applying analyzes to the many questions left after the storm. We try to understand what lessons we have to learn from the experience.
- How can we better protect vulnerable populations?
- How can we act faster?
- How can we be prepared for the next unexpected event?
History shows that when we are disturbed and forced to work in new ways to solve immediate problems, some of the innovations are sustainable. New manufacturing and supply chain practices will continue, new research will inspire future ideas, and partnerships that brought new products to market will remain intact. All of these improvements can help us become more resilient and more innovative in the long run.
Even as we work to understand what we can do better, I hope we will remember what we did right – how we discovered a spirit of resilience, cooperation and innovation that enabled us to come out stronger.
You can visit Virtual SAS Global Forum to see the presentations discussed here – and many others.