Research Spotlight: The right stuff, at the right time

holiday-shopper-300.jpgAnyone who has tried in vain to find a Wii console during a holiday shopping excursion knows that supply and demand help drive business success. Not enough inventory or staff means lost sales; too much of either means unnecessary costs. A new approach to estimating demand for products and services has the potential to revolutionize business by allowing organizations to estimate and forecast demand more quickly and accurately. The new technique, which uses an asymmetric model rather than the classic bell-curve distribution to display a “truer” demand curve, was created by Marketing Professor Ed Fox and Operations Management Professors Bezalel Gavish and John Semple of SMU’s Cox School of Business. The researchers derived their distribution by focusing on the purchase timing of individual customers, Fox says: “If we have detailed data about customer transactions, the time between those transactions can be used to derive a distribution for total demand.” Read more at the Cox School website.