AmericanHort Mastery Series

Forecasting Mastery Series

Presented By Ken Lane, Hathaway & Lane Direct, LLC

With many horticulture products having either a short shelf life or a long turn around to produce, forecasting in the green industry is often challenging. Even forecasting for non-living products is difficult to manage. There is one certainty when it comes to forecasting – just about every forecast will be inaccurate. Maybe a little inaccurate… maybe a lot. This AmericanHort Mastery Series will give you ways to mitigate forecasting risk by using data analysis and industry insights to predict your business’s future needs as accurately as possible.

Our expert speaker, Ken Lane of Hathaway & Lane Direct, has decades of experience creating forecasts. Responsible for the office supplies superstore, Staples, first billion-dollar sales forecast, he will share his experience working with growers, independent garden centers, other horticulture businesses, and $100M direct-to-consumer businesses from various industries.

This Forecasting Mastery Series will help you:

  • Discover which data sources you have and need to get
  • Understand key performance indicators, and trends that will build the base of your forecasting model
  • Measure and analyze data trends and make forecasting assumptions
  • Run actual forecasting models with mock data based off certain assumptions
  • Determine when to switch to “Plan B”

Ken Lane, Hathaway & Lane Direct

Ken Lane is President of Hathaway & Lane Direct, a Business, Marketing & Strategy consultancy founded in 2003. A career steeped in Retail and Direct-to-Consumer Gardening, he has served as Chief Marketing Officer with Stark Bro’s Nurseries & Orchards Co., Vice President of Marketing & eCommerce for White Flower Farm, and Director of Marketing for Jackson & Perkins. Covid-ready and recession-tested, Lane has expanded his assistance with organizations of various types as they struggle to forecast & maximize revenues in a supply chain-challenged world. By providing data-driven support, he has come to realize that as much as one wants success to be marketing-driven, forecasting success is all about the data, people, having the right plan and striving for flawless execution.

Forecasting Mastery Series

Forecasting Mastery Series: Class One

In the book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey opens with Habit One: start with the end in mind. Accurate forecasts are built when you have organized all the data you need at the start to know where you are going…and to know why you have gotten there.

Class One covers:

  • Data Discovery – What data do you need, what do you already have, where does it come from?
  • Knowing Your Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) – The data from your business is telling you a story through your KPIs.
  • The Understatement of Our Lives – Covid changed everything…so “recency rules.” You need to compile your data so that you can make relevant comparisons and isolate Covid trends –good and bad.
  • The Wrap-Up – Now that we have compiled the data, we need to analyze what we’ve learned, gain consensus on our assumptions and thoughts moving forward, and build a plan so that we can forecast with different iterations.

Forecasting Mastery Series: Class Two

If you’ve ever been responsible for a full physical inventory, you know that success comes down to pre-inventory preparation. The same principles apply to forecasting. The more time and detail put into preparation, the better the process and quality of the output.

Class Two covers:

  • Data Compilation & Forecast Preparation – We will take data from Class One and learn how to structure it in a way that is intuitive and flexible. We will work on how to do this together and review.
  • Review Our Assumptions and Why We Made Them – We will create assumptions as a group and discuss how they might impact our final output. We will discuss having “Plan B’s” and why that is important.
  • Remember a Reasonable Accuracy Goal is not 100% – No forecast is one hundred percent accurate. But if you gain consensus on your assumptions ahead of time, you will be able to assess which assumption went awry and what it means for your current and future forecasts.
  • The Wrap-Up – What’s coming up tomorrow? We’re going to roll up our sleeves and run some actual forecast scenarios based on your assumptions on some mock data.

Forecasting Mastery Series: Class Three

As good as an initial plan may be, creating a “Plan B” to account for inaccuracies and unforeseen circumstances is important. With data and discipline, you will build forecasts that get better and better each season. For this session, bring your laptop, a pencil & paper, and put on your thinking caps – we will be moving from theory to practice.

Class Three covers:

  • Determining if Your Forecast is Off-Base
    Sales are coming in and it’s clear that your forecast is inaccurate. Or is it? We will review ways to confirm what you customers are telling you and how to react and adjust plans.
  • “Plan B”
    When is it time to create of switch to “Plan B”? What factors help you determine that?
  • Constant Measuring and Management of the Plan
    It’s all about measure and management, updating forecast assumptions and building an even more accurate forecast the next time.
  • The Wrap-Up
    You’ve learned techniques to improve your forecasting skills, now it’s time to implement them in your business.

Interested in sponsoring a Mastery Series?

Contact Meagan Nace at to secure an opportunity today.


As a member of AmericanHort, the green industry’s leading association, you will be connected to the mentors, leaders and knowledgeable resources you need – when you need them – so that you can Perform Better day in and day out, Grow Faster than you ever dreamed possible, and Prepare both Yourself and Your Business for the Future.

If you’d like to save $100 on your Mastery Series and receive all the great benefits of membership in AmericanHort, join us today.