Lighthouse: Data and Analytics for Real-Time Demand Forecasting

Lighthouse, BCG’s high-frequency data and analytics platform, allows companies to understand rapid shifts in demand, enabling dynamic planning and resource allocation during uncertain times.

In periods of high volatility, companies need to assess rapidly changing market forces and consumer demand to make the right decisions about commercial and customer investments, capacity and inventory management, and cash allocations. And they must be able to do this across varied product categories, industries, locations, and channels.

Lighthouse is a data and analytics platform built for that purpose. It captures real-time consumer and market-level signals to anticipate the evolution of demand. By combining external data from thousands of dynamic sources, Lighthouse delivers critical intelligence that provides a single source of actionable truth and guides data-driven decision making.

High-Frequency Data and Analytics to Navigate Volatility

Lighthouse brings together BCG’s proprietary analytics to support next-generation forecasting:

    • Epidemiological Model Scenarios. Created for the coronavirus pandemic, these models use the latest machine learning approaches combined with local data to assess the projected spread of COVID-19 around the world.
    • Consumer Mobility Trends and Forecasts. Capture underlying trends in consumer mobility by analyzing traffic, public transit, and other on-the-ground indicators.
    • Consumer Spending Forecasts. Compare and project changes in consumer spending at the industry and merchant level by analyzing consumer sentiment, panel sales data, credit card spending, unemployment data, and price index evolution.
    • Unemployment Forecasts. Estimate the direct economic impacts of job losses driven by volatility in various risk scenarios.
    • Online Leading Demand Indicators. Provide a real-time view of consumers’ online behavior through web traffic, search, and social conversations.
    • Air Travel Forecasting. Leverages real-time booking data to understand travel patterns by origin and destination and predicts the flow of passengers for the next 12 months.
    • Economic Activity Tracking and Forecasting. Data-driven index, with more than 10,000 data points, tracks economic activity on a weekly basis by sector and location. (See Exhibit.)

    These datasets and models are available across 180 locations at a high level of granularity. Fresh data can be generated daily or weekly, allowing companies to immediately sense rapid shifts in demand.

    By adding high-frequency external data to existing forecasting solutions, companies can increase accuracy by 10 to 15 points, catalyzing a shift from insufficient to high-performance forecasting and supporting high-impact business decisions.

    From Intelligence to Action

    High-frequency data and analytics can help companies improve decision making at three levels:

    • Dynamic Scenario Planning. Dynamically adjust sales and financial scenarios in real time based on leading indicators and make strategic adjustments to portfolio cost structures.
    • Commercial Resource Allocation. Adapt offerings and investments in response to shifts in demand: marketing, pricing, sales team deployment, customer risk management, and cash collection.
    • Operational Decisions. Optimize supply chain planning, production planning, production capacity, and inventory management.

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