For anyone running a business, it’s common knowledge that efficiency is key. Unfortunately, today many business owners fail to keep up to date with the available technology and are subsequently left behind by businesses that are willing to invest in efficiency. For example, new machines are created that shorten or condense mechanical processes. New packaging techniques are discovered that allow produce to stay fresh longer. And business intelligence tools evolve to track and improve other areas of business operations; everything is becoming more efficient. One such area that has made astounding recent advances in improving efficiency is the use of artificial intelligence in the world of workforce scheduling.
The Challenge of the Unpredictable
For service businesses, there are few constants when it comes to forecasting workload because everything depends on seemingly unpredictable customer flow. The result is scheduling based on one-dimensional historical views, hoping for a repeat of customer flow. Not only is this method ineffective, it is also inefficient. When hoping that yesterday’s workload will repeat itself today, or that last Saturday’s customer flow will be the same this Saturday, the results are typically teams that are either understaffed, with too much to do, or overstaffed, with too little to do. And over- and understaffing are just the tip of the inefficiency iceberg. Under the surface you will find exhausted or disengaged employees, frustrated and dissatisfied customers, and, ultimately, high operating costs.
Is Customer Flow Truly Unpredictable?
Thankfully, artificial intelligence has emerged to literally revolutionize the possibilities of workload prediction and workforce scheduling. Everyone knows that supply and demand shifts with the season, time of week, and time of day. But AI-powered software can go even further, tying together businesses’ individual internal data with external data like weather and economic factors, ultimately creating a unique workload forecast for each hour of every day. A businesses’ workforce can then be adequately scheduled to meet that same predicted demand, taking the businesses’ unique team and staffing needs into consideration.
How Technology can Help
Today, there are just too many variables that need to be taken into consideration for a human to accurately forecast upcoming workflow. With the help of software using applied artificial intelligence, however, these insights become quite manageable and are also quite affordable. So not only are you saving money by paying less overtime, but you also take your employee and customer experiences to a higher level by applying technology that will bring you demonstrated return for your investment. Upgrading simple scheduling software to AI-powered prediction and scheduling software is a good choice for any service business struggling to accurately predict upcoming workload. In particular, business owners valuing their own, their team’s and their customer’s time, should explore the emerging options available. Because, after all, time is money.
Author: Mark Sherman
Mark has a passion for the hospitality industry and has just completed an internship at Weave Workforce, a technology company applying artificial intelligence to predict and harmonize employee schedules to match the fluctuating demand of service businesses. He is originally from Mesa, AZ, and is currently studying communications at Brigham Young University.