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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.