Utilizing artificial neural networks to predict demand for weather-sensitive products at retail stores

arXiv.org Machine Learning

One key requirement for effective supply chain management is the quality of its inventory management. Various inventory management methods are typically employed for different types of products based on their demand patterns, product attributes, and supply network. In this paper, our goal is to develop robust demand prediction methods for weather sensitive products at retail stores. We employ historical datasets from Walmart, whose customers and markets are often exposed to extreme weather events which can have a huge impact on sales regarding the affected stores and products. We want to accurately predict the sales of 111 potentially weather-sensitive products around the time of major weather events at 45 of Walmart retails locations in the U.S. Intuitively, we may expect an uptick in the sales of umbrellas before a big thunderstorm, but it is difficult for replenishment managers to predict the level of inventory needed to avoid being out-of-stock or overstock during and after that storm. While they rely on a variety of vendor tools to predict sales around extreme weather events, they mostly employ a time-consuming process that lacks a systematic measure of effectiveness. We employ all the methods critical to any analytics project and start with data exploration. Critical features are extracted from the raw historical dataset for demand forecasting accuracy and robustness. In particular, we employ Artificial Neural Network for forecasting demand for each product sold around the time of major weather events. Finally, we evaluate our model to evaluate their accuracy and robustness.

LSTM Model Architecture for Rare Event Time Series Forecasting


Time series forecasting with LSTMs directly has shown little success. This is surprising as neural networks are known to be able to learn complex non-linear relationships and the LSTM is perhaps the most successful type of recurrent neural network that is capable of directly supporting multivariate sequence prediction problems. A recent study performed at Uber AI Labs demonstrates how both the automatic feature learning capabilities of LSTMs and their ability to handle input sequences can be harnessed in an end-to-end model that can be used for drive demand forecasting for rare events like public holidays. In this post, you will discover an approach to developing a scalable end-to-end LSTM model for time series forecasting. In this post, we will review the 2017 paper titled "Time-series Extreme Event Forecasting with Neural Networks at Uber" by Nikolay Laptev, et al. presented at the Time Series Workshop, ICML 2017.

5 Reasons Why Machine Learning Forecasting Is Better Than Traditional Forecasting Techniques


Machine Learning Forecasting is attracting an essential role in several significant data initiatives today. Year ago, I have mentioned machine learning as top 7 future trends in supply chain. Big retailers, Supply chain, and logistics experts are using Machine Learning Forecasting to aid improve customer engagement and produce more precise demand forecasts better than traditional forecasting techniques. They can also use Machine Learning Forecasting to expand into new sales channels, improve customer service, reduce inventory and improve productivity.

Forecasting Demand with Limited Information Using Gradient Tree Boosting

AAAI Conferences

Demand forecasting is an important challenge for industries seeking to optimize service quality and expenditures. Generating accurate forecasts is difficult because it depends on the quality of the data available to train predictive models, as well as on the model chosen for the task. We evaluate the approach on two datasets of varying complexity and compare the results with three machine learning algorithms. Results show our approach can outperform these approaches.

ARMDN: Associative and Recurrent Mixture Density Networks for eRetail Demand Forecasting

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Accurate demand forecasts can help on-line retail organizations better plan their supply-chain processes. The challenge, however, is the large number of associative factors that result in large, non-stationary shifts in demand, which traditional time series and regression approaches fail to model. In this paper, we propose a Neural Network architecture called AR-MDN, that simultaneously models associative factors, time-series trends and the variance in the demand. We first identify several causal features and use a combination of feature embeddings, MLP and LSTM to represent them. We then model the output density as a learned mixture of Gaussian distributions. The AR-MDN can be trained end-to-end without the need for additional supervision. We experiment on a dataset of an year's worth of data over tens-of-thousands of products from Flipkart. The proposed architecture yields a significant improvement in forecasting accuracy when compared with existing alternatives.