Forecasting and Inventory Management

In this Penn State Executive Program you will explore the impact of inflated inventory levels, diagnose process constraints, and leverage techniques to improve performance through accurate forecasts and inventory levels.


  • When May 16, 2019 to May 17, 2019 (America/New_York / UTC-400)
  • Where University Park, PA
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Session Date: May 16-17, 2019

A joint venture with the Penn State Smeal College of Business' Center for Supply Chain Research

Complete multiple supply chain offerings from Penn State Executive Programs to earn a professional certificate.

Program Objectives

This course will provide participants with practical techniques to generate more accurate forecasts and desired inventory levels as well as to monitor and improve forecasting and inventory management performance over time.  We will discuss what sources of information can be used to improve forecast and inventory management performance.  In addition, we will investigate the critical financial impacts that overinflated inventory levels may cause.

Who Should Attend

This introductory program is for managers or analysts who are new to supply chain processes and particularly those new to working in demand management (forecasting and inventory management) or who want to improve their knowledge in this area. Those who work as functional counterparts in finance, information systems, manufacturing, or marketing will also benefit. This program is among the options for those pursuing a Professional Certificate in Supply Chain Operations.

Program Benefits

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Calculate and use measures of forecast accuracy and bias
  • Forecast future sales using past sales data (time series models)
  • Explain the importance of inventory management to the firm, with a focus on financial impacts including inventory carrying cost calculation and application
  • Understand how inventory can be reduced while maintaining or even raising customer service levels
  • Identify opportunities to reduce inventory or make it more productive
  • Determine how inventory objectives that differ among products having different demand patterns (e.g. stable, seasonal, short life cycle) can be managed differently
This program awards 1.5 CEUs. Penn State Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available based on a standard of one unit per ten hours of classroom instruction.

Value Created for You and Your Company

In most business contexts, forecasts are needed to support resource allocation decisions.  More accurate forecasts lead to better resource allocation and thus improved financial performance, particularly by reducing the amount of inventory that must be carried.  The direct relationship that exists between forecasting and inventory management is why this course will address both key supply chain concepts together. Inventory management may be the most important “lever” in the supply chain in its overall effect on corporate profitability.  This course is designed to strengthen understanding of the foundational concepts in forecasting and inventory management and to provide participants with the contextual knowledge of how to use these concepts to drive improvements.

Program Content

Purpose and Importance of Forecasting and Inventory Management

  • Understanding the resource decisions supported by the forecasting process
  • How the forecasting process fits in the sales and operations planning process of the business
  • Forecasting techniques
    • Time series and causal models
    • Ensuring the right time lag and level of aggregation
    • Incorporating expert judgment and market intelligence

Measuring and Improving Forecast Performance

  • Measuring forecast accuracy
  • Measuring forecast bias

Relationship Between Forecasting and Inventory

Importance of Inventory Management

  • Financial impact of inventory
  • Inventory metrics to support and measure inventory performance
    • Inventory turns
    • Days of supply
    • Return on Assets and Return on Investment
  • Calculating inventory carrying cost
  • Using inventory costs to make decisions

Determining Inventory Levels to Ensure In-Stock Levels While Minimizing Obsolescence

  • How to set levels
  • Discussion of how to determine best parameters (inputs) for product inventory levels

Evaluating Software Used to Enable Forecasting and Inventory Management


Our programs are taught by world-class faculty leaders from Penn State, as well as supply chain professionals. Each instructor has an extensive background in research and consulting, and in educating executives. Each brings to the classroom best-practice tools and implementation processes for achieving world-class results.

Faculty Director

Dr. Christopher D. Norek, Affiliated Faculty in Supply Chain Management, Penn State Executive Programs. Chris was chosen by DC Velocity as a "Rainmaker" for 2018.  Read about his impact in the supply chain industry

Download: Read about effective implementation practices of an S&OP program in a brief article written by Dr. Norek in Logistics Quarterly.

Mr. Michael Mazzanti, Confections Demand Planning Lead, Mondelez International


Our enrollment coordinator will be happy to hold a seat for you in this program. A reservation does not commit you to the program until you register online.

Questions? Please call 800-311-6364 or 814-865-3435

Related Programs

This program is among the options for those pursuing a Professional Certificate in Supply Chain Operations. Participants must take two others from the topics below to complete the certificate:

Programs may be taken in any order over any period of time. An Executive Programs representative will be happy to help you select the appropriate program for your current level of responsibility.



NEW TIERED PRICING! We have modified our rates to provide you with a choice in accommodations. The new program fee of $2,150 covers tuition, materials, lunch, breaks, and a group dinner. You may select our traditional meals and lodging package (for the Nittany Lion Inn or The Penn Stater as program dictates) for an additional $400. If booking your own hotel, you are responsible for your lodging, travel to and from the program, and "on your own" dinners. 

Active military personnel, PSU alumni, and teams of three or more attending this program from one company are eligible for a 20% program discount.