What is Quantitative Analysis?
Quantitative analysis is the process of collecting and evaluating measurable and verifiable data such as revenues, market share, and wages in order to understand the behavior and performance of a business. In the past, business owners and company directors relied heavily on their experience and instinct when making decisions. However, with the era of data technology, quantitative analysis is now considered a better approach to making informed decisions.
A quantitative analyst’s main task is to present a given hypothetical situation in terms of numerical values. Quantitative analysis helps in evaluating performance, assessing financial instruments, and making predictions. It encompasses three main techniques of measuring data: regression analysis, linear programming, and data mining.
Quantitative Analysis Techniques
1. Regression Analysis
Regression analysis is a common technique that is not only employed by business owners but also by statisticians and economists. It involves using statistical equations to predict or estimate the impact of one variable on another. For instance, regression analysis can be used to determine how interest rates affect consumers’ behavior regarding asset investment. One other core application of regression analysis is establishing the effect of education and work experience on employees’ annual earnings.
In the business sector, owners can use regression analysis to determine the impact of advertising expenses on business profits. By using this approach, a business owner can establish whether there’s a positive or negative correlation between two variables.
2. Linear Programming
Most companies occasionally encounter a shortage of resources such as facility space, production machinery, and labor. In such situations, company managers must find ways to allocate resources effectively. Linear programming is a quantitative method that determines how to achieve such an optimal solution. It is also used to determine how a company can make optimal profits and reduce its operating costs, subject to a given set of constraints, such as labor.
3. Data Mining
Data mining is a combination of computer programming skills and statistical methods. The popularity of data mining continues to grow in parallel to the increase in the quantity and size of available data sets. Data mining techniques are used in evaluating very large sets of data, with the aim of finding patterns or correlations concealed within them.
Applications of Quantitative Analysis in the Business Sector
Business owners are often forced to make decisions under conditions of uncertainty. Luckily, quantitative techniques enable them to make the best estimates and thus minimize the risks associated with a particular decision. Ideally, quantitative models provide company owners with a better understanding of information, to enable them to make the best possible decisions.
One area where quantitative analysis is considered an indispensable tool is in project management. As mentioned earlier, quantitative methods are used to find the best ways of allocating resources, especially if these resources are scarce. Projects are then scheduled based on the availability of certain resources.
Quantitative analysis also helps individuals to make informed product-planning decisions. Let’s say a company is finding it challenging to estimate the size and location of a new production facility. Quantitative analysis can be employed to assess different proposals for costs, timing, and location. With effective product planning and scheduling, companies will be more able to meet their customers’ needs while also maximizing their profits.
Every business needs a proper marketing strategy. However, setting a budget for the marketing department can be tricky, especially if its objectives are not set. With the right quantitative method, marketers can find an easy way of setting the required budget and allocating media purchases. The decisions can be based on data obtained from marketing campaigns.
The accounting department of a business also relies heavily on quantitative analysis. Accounting personnel use different quantitative data and methods such as the discounted cash flow model to estimate the value of an investment. Products can also be evaluated, based on the costs of producing them and the profits they generate.
Purchase and Inventory
One of the greatest challenges that businesses face is being able to predict the demand for a product or service. However, with quantitative techniques, companies can be guided on just how many materials they need to purchase, the level of inventory to maintain, and the costs they’re likely to incur when shipping and storing finished goods.
The Bottom Line
Quantitative analysis is the use of mathematical and statistical techniques to assess the performance of a business. Before the advent of quantitative analysis, many company directors based their decisions on experience and gut. Business owners can now use quantitative methods to predict trends, determine the allocation of resources, and manage projects.
Quantitative techniques are also used to evaluate investments. In such a way, organizations can determine the best assets to invest in and the best time to do so. Some of the quantitative analysis methods include regression analysis, linear programming, and data mining.
Thank you for reading CFI’s guide to quantitative analysis. CFI offers the Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)™ certification program for those looking to take their careers to the next level. To keep learning and advancing your career, the following CFI resources will be helpful: