Context and Perspective

Sarah is a regional sales manager for a nationwide supplier of fossil fuels for home heating. Recent volatility in market prices for heating oil specifically, coupled with wide variability in the size of each order for home heating oil, has Sarah concerned. She feels a need to understand the types of behaviors and other factors that may influence the demand for heating oil in the domestic market. What factors are related to heating oil usage, and how might she use a knowledge of such factors to better manage her inventory and anticipate demand? Sarah believes that data mining can help her begin to formulate an understanding of these factors and interactions.