Final Exam Essay

1. Approaches to the forecasting process
The forecasting process plays a very important role because it can influence substantially the development of an organization. In fact, on the basis of forecasting it is possible to develop the strategy of the development of an organization. The significance of the forecasting process can hardly be underestimated since without effective forecasting it is impossible to evaluate and assess perspectives of an organization in the future, future market trends, changes in business environment, etc.

At the same time, it should be said that there exist a variety of approaches to the forecasting process. Basically, it is possible to distinguish tree major groups of approaches to forecasting: time series methods, causal/econometric methods, and judgmental methods (Armstrong, 178). In fact, each method has its own advantageous and drawbacks and it is impossible to estimate that there exists an ideal approach to forecasting which may be equally effective in different situations.

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Speaking about time series methods, it should be pointed out that these are methods are based on the use of historical data collected during certain period of time and applied to forecast future outcomes. For instance, among such approaches it is possible to name extrapolation, linear prediction, trend estimation, and others. The characteristic feature of these methods is its time limitedness. This means that they are based on the use information related to a definite time period and forecasts basically reflect the common trends observed by researchers within this period.

Consequently, these forecasts approaches do not take into consideration the possibility of radical changes but, instead, they rather suggest the steady development with relatively slight variations.

As for causal/econometric methods, it should be said that they are based on the assumption that it is possible to identify certain factors that can influence the development of the situation and affect the variable that is being forecast. To put it in simple words, these approaches, which include regression analysis, econometrics, and others, focus on the causes of possible of possible changes in the market situation or development of a company, for instance. As the causes are understood, it is possible to develop projections on the further development and, thus, make a forecast.

Finally, judgmental forecasting approaches are based on the use of intuitive judgments, opinions and probability estimates. Among such approaches it is possible to name surveys, scenario building, forecast by analogy. These approaches provide an opportunity to take into consideration factors that may be perceived on the intuitive level but remain unnoticed in the case of application of time series approaches, but judgmental forecasting is quite subjective.

This is why, ideally, it is possible to combine both time series and judgmental approaches in order to combine the current factors existing historically and probable estimates that may be perceived intuitionally.

2. Quality control
In the contemporary business environment quality becomes one of the determinant factors that define the competitive power of a company in the market. Basically, many companies focus on the quality management in order to improve their position and gain customers approval through customers’ satisfaction with the quality of products and services of the company that naturally contributes to the formation of the positive customer experience.
At the same time, it should be said that under the impact of the process of globalization many companies tend to localize their production in developing countries. For instance, leading automobile manufacturers from Europe, Japan, and the US, attempt to localize production in developing countries. However, the problem of the quality control naturally arises in such a situation, because the qualification of the local personnel is lower compared to developed countries.

In this respect, it is necessary to develop an effective program of the quality control. First of all, it is necessary to create standards of the quality of the production which could be identical to all plants and units of a company. Identical standards will facilitate the quality control. At the same time, it is not always possible to send well-qualified specialists to control the production or assembling of cars, for instance. This is why it is necessary to introduce IT which could help control the quality. The current technologies permit to use computers to control the quality of the production. In addition, it is necessary to minimize the manual labor and the functions performed by humans and substitute them by machines which could be controlled by a few well-qualified specialists that have undergone special training or that have been sent from abroad.

3. Supply chain management
As the technologies progress and the process of globalization stimulates the rapid development of interaction between countries and companies, as well as between units within companies, the role of the effective supply chain management increases consistently. In fact, nowadays, it is extremely important to provide really effective supply chain which could guarantee the stable and reliable supply of materials, equipment, essential hardware and software for the production of commodities, their delivery to dealers and further sale to customers.

Basically, there are a lot of models of effective supply chains, but the one developed by Toyota seems to be particularly effective and noteworthy. To put it more precisely, it is a very approach as Just-in-Time (JIT) strategy. In fact, this strategy implies that the essential materials and products are delivered accurately at the moment when they are actually needed and to the place where they are needed. In practice, this means that for the manufacturing of a vehicle, for instance, Toyota uses the JIT strategy that provides the possibility to provide the assembling plant with all essential materials and details for the assembling of a vehicle. As soon as the vehicle is assembled it is sent to a dealer and after that the dealer sells it to customers. Ideally, the vehicle is delivered and immediately sold to customer that is willing to buy it.

The application of such a strategy makes the supply chain extremely effective since the company can save costs on the storage of its products and essential materials while the production process is uninterruptable because the supply chain works stably.

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