Forecasts used as a basis for comparison.  Benchmarks are most useful if based on the specific situation, such as forecasts produced by the current method. For general purposes, Mentzer and Cox (1984) examined forecasts errors for various levels in the product hierarchy and for different horizons as shown here:

Typical Errors for Sales Forecasts (Entries are MAPEs)

Level

Forecast Horizon

Under 3 Months

3 Months to 2 Years

Over 2 Years

Industry

Corporate

Product group

Product Line

Product

  8

  7

10

11

16

11

11

15

16

21

15

18

20

20

26

 Source:  Mentzer and Cox’s (1984) survey results from 160 corporations are crude because most firms do not keep systematic records.  Further, the study was ambiguous in its definitions of the time interval.  “Under 3 months” probably refers to “monthly” in most cases, but the length of time is not apparent for “Over 2 years.”