Everyone is looking for an edge. Last year, 4.35 million new business applications were filed. But, according to the latest statistics, only about 50% of small businesses survive more than five years, and only 33% last over ten years. Currently, the vast majority of businesses are still using shift scheduling software for time and attendance that merely repeats past schedules. While that may work for some professions, if you are running a service-oriented business with unpredictable, fluctuating workload, this approach is fundamentally flawed. If you are merely duplicating yesterday’s schedule, you will perpetually find yourself improperly staffed for the peaks and valleys of demand.
Artificial Intelligence as a Differentiator for Success
Yes, starting a business is hard, but what is the difference between those who fail and those who succeed? The key is creating maximum value for customers while expending the minimum resources to do so. For service-oriented businesses, artificial intelligence in labor optimization is a powerful tool to achieve this. Astonishing advances have been made in the field of applied AI and this new technology works for small and large businesses alike. And, of course, you don’t need to be starting a business to embrace the world of artificial intelligence; established businesses willing to incorporate AI into their management systems will benefit just the same. The point is: those businesses that last and, ultimately, succeed are those who find that differentiating edge…they are the ones who rock the boat. Venturing into spaces yet unexplored and diving into the unknown presents new opportunities to those who actively pursue progress. Applied artificial intelligence is definitely one of those areas. While tremendous advances with astonishing results have been made over the past years, to-date very few businesses utilize this technology to predict their upcoming workflow. Many business owners are still not aware of its existence and the benefits for employee time scheduling, while others assume that the costs associated with such an advanced technology would be prohibitive for small and medium sized operations. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Frequently, after learning about predictive scheduling and workload forecasting software options, business owners are pleasantly surprised about the affordability of the solution and return on investment from labor cost savings and improved customer service.
What are You Waiting For?
By joining the AI revolution, your business will join the leaders of the pack, and it will be difficult for others to catch up with you. Historically, those who wait to see how new technologies develop may eventually adopt them but will lose valuable time in the interim. Just think of it: the names that are remembered in history are those of the movers and shakers. The leaders, innovators, or artists that inspire us are typically immortalized by history because they were the first to enter a certain space.
Software fueled by artificial intelligence can accurately predict your upcoming workload. If you know what your future demand will be, you can plan for the appropriate staffing levels, avoiding being over- or understaffed. This will not only save you overtime costs, but also enable your team to provide better customer service by having the right number of employees available to provide assistance. Your customers will notice and gladly return to a business with short wait times and efficient service. Your employees, too, will be happier: you can offer extra shifts or part-time work, depending on individual preferences. Additionally, an improved work-life balance will result from reducing overtime, and offering reliable schedules made days in advance.
Make Your Own Scheduling Rules with AI
So, if you’re willing to adjust your game plan to keep up with ever evolving technological advances, you can achieve incredibly productive results. After all, the edge that so many businesses lack is adaptability. And instead of frantically trying to guess and keep up with the changing demand, AI allows you to work smarter not harder. If you use artificial intelligence to predict the demand in employee shifts, you will not only stay ahead of the curve, you will be one of those rocking the boat!
Artificial intelligence is already used in abundance in manufacturing, designing, forecasting, and many other areas. Labor demand prediction and scheduling is another impactful application; it’s up to you if you decide to rock the boat, or just follow in its wake.
Author: Isaac Pendleton
Isaac is a student at Brigham Young University and is currently a marketing intern at Weave Workforce, a labor optimization company, providing AI-based forecasting and scheduling to match the fluctuating demand of service-oriented businesses. Originally from a small town called Spanish Fork in the state of Utah, Isaac is minoring in art history and loves to witness revolutions such as these in art and labor optimization.