If proven credentials are the yardstick, Francis Kanoi will easily be the most accomplished in the field of demand forecasting for products in India.

Forecasting is every summer trainee's pet passion. The power that the latest software puts in the hands of even the half-initiated, makes the most sophisticated of forecasting models, a child's play.

However, serious forecasting is so complex a discipline that there are many economists who question whether reliable forecasting is at all possible. And this is especially so with regard to turning points. Examples of accurate forecasts of turning points are extremely hard to come by in any field because it requires more than just expertise with tools and techniques. It requires an intimate knowledge of the field, over time, encompassing the micro level processes leading to demand formation and their relationship to the activities of the companies and the environment.

Developing an intimate knowledge of the fields of interest to it is precisely what Francis Kanoi has been doing consciously over the last two decades. And this has translated into some outstanding work in forecasting.

In 1999, the colour television market in India had grown 35%. Its average growth since 1992 was 28%. The industry forecast for the calendar year 2000 was a 30% growth to reach 6.5 million units. The forecast that Francis Kanoi came up with was a 7% growth to reach 5.4 million units.

The difference was so large, and the decline in the growth that was predicted, so sharp, that Francis Kanoi had to go public with the forecast to reflect confidence and inject credibility. At the end of year 2000, the market size was 5 million !

Francis Kanoi had, similarly, predicted the turning points that occurred in the field in 1990 and 1992, as well.

Thus, the demand for colour television sets has had 3 turning points in 26 years since its launch. Francis Kanoi has predicted all three of them.

In the field of two-wheelers, Francis Kanoi handled a forecasting exercise for the first time in 1999. The forecast then, for the year 2004, was 5.7 million. The actual was 5.9 million, a deviation of only 3.5%.

The revolving forecasting made each year, for the next year, predicted the year-to-year volatility accurately.

Francis Kanoi predicted a 17% growth for 2002-2003 when the field was growing at only 6% in 2001. When the field was at its peak in 2002. Francis Kanoi predicted a crash in the demand in the following year (2003).

This pioneering work in forecasting the demand for two-wheelers was done, using a segmental demand formation approach. It reconstructed the segmental behaviour over the years, using a large and complex cross-sectional study to be the input in this forecasting.

A similar approach was used in forecasting the demand for air-conditioning equipment.

Francis Kanoi has been forecasting the demand for a host of fields, periodically, since the late eighties. Wherever independent data has been available, it has checked the forecasts against the actuals, to gain insights and to refine the methodology, including the models.

Since demand forecasting is seen as a core competence of the company, Francis Kanoi monitors the state of the economy very closely. It also monitors the relationship between the state of the economy and the demand for new and established products, irrespective of whether or not it has been involved in the forecasting of the demand for these products.