Régis Bourbonnais is a specialist in business-orientated quantitative methods and lectures in econometrics and forecasting techniques at Paris Dauphine University. He also directs the international Supply Chain Master’s degree course. He complements his university activities as a consultant to firms from a variety of sectors – food-processing, automotive, retail chain stores, industry, pharmaceuticals and so on.
- You are a sales forecasting and econometrics expert. Could you describe these disciplines and their strengths?
Sales forecasting is a discipline that applies statistical methods to the world of business. All businesses make more or less formalized forecasts because it gives them a fine projection of their future activity.
Econometrics is a method used both in economics (e.g.: macroeconomic forecasting by INSEE the French statistics office) and by businesses. It aims to quantify and interpret an economic phenomenon by combining explanatory factors (for example explaining a company’s sales through its advertising expenses, climate variables, special promotions and so on).
- You work regularly with the Eurodecision, how did this partnership come about?
I know one of the Eurodecision founders, Eric Jacquet-Lagrèze, who taught at Paris Dauphine University. About five years ago, SNECMA contacted me to set up a macroeconomic forecasting tool for (freight and passenger) air traffic. We decided to pool our expertise to submit a bid for the tender with my offer of econometrics and computer modeling by Eurodecision. The engine manufacturer selected our proposal and it was my first partnership with Eurodecision.
- Could you give us some other examples of some assignments that you have worked on with our team?
Analyzing salaries across the genders is another topic where amalgamating our expertise is relevant, as many variables come into play and create grounds for wage differences. Thus in partnership with Arkanta*, we analyzed the wage packages of Valeo Group’s employees in France. We then developed a decision-support tool to enable the Group’s HRDs to check whether specific wage differences can be explained on legitimate grounds or whether gender is the discriminating factor.
Furthermore, in 2009, we initiated a two-day training course devoted to “Sales forecasting methods and practices” for firms seeking to improve their forecasting processes. It has been so successful that we are ready to run the course twice a year.
- What do you particularly like about this approach that brings your expertise and optimization specialists together today?
These two disciplines that are both related to applied mathematics are complementary. By working with Eurodecision, my econometrics expertise has been applied to a wide variety of topics because their clients come from many business sectors. I also find it very interesting to see the results of an economic study through an IT tool carried out in close collaboration with a team of consultants who are not fazed when I use statistical terms!
*Arkanta : engineering company