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What is AI-based workforce optimization and who should use it

AI-based workforce optimization is the secret for staffing success. When staffing a business, there can be numerous challenges when it comes to scheduling.  For many businesses, demand must be forecasted in advance.  For service-based businesses like arenas, call centers, banks, restaurants or retailers, to prevent overstaffing and understaffing, they must accurately forecast how many visitors, callers, patrons, or shoppers they are going to get each day. The secret to accurate forecasting is artificial intelligence (AI).  AI-based workforce optimization forecasts the amount of client interaction, determining the number of employees needed and at what time.  This enhances customer and employee experience while simultaneously reducing operating costs.

To really understand how it works and how it can improve your business, you need to know what it is.  Let’s break it down.

What is AI-based workforce optimization?

AI (artificial intelligence) could be descried as any job performed by a machine or software.  When we refer to AI, we are usually referring to the human-like capabilities.  These include motion, problem solving, data, planning and reasoning.  As technology advances, so does AI, making big improvements to many industries.  AI can improve business by making tasks easier, allowing talented employees to focus on things AI can’t quite do, like build relationships and focus on customer interactions. AI can also optimize the workforce though software that can preform an analysis of company demand and schedule accordingly.

Workforce optimization is a business strategy that finds deficiencies in the workplace and then executes solutions.  It reduces time spent on time-consuming tasks, frees up employee’s time to work on other projects and improves the bottom line.  Workforce optimization involves areas like work scheduling, performance tracking and time and attendance management.

AI-based workforce optimization combines the two.  AI-based workforce optimization is when artificial intelligence (AI), or software, finds and execute these efficiencies.   An advanced AI system is able to optimize a workforce by identifying problems and providing solutions. It leverages artificial intelligence to forecast variability in demand and generates employee schedules, matching workforce to workload.

A solid AI-based workforce optimization software will have some, if not all, of the following features:

  • AI-based forecasting and algorithm-enhanced scheduling
  • Transparent reporting, including a dashboard and financial statistics
  • Programmed shift assignments based on employee performance

AI-based workforce optimization can have a significant impact when applied to the right business.

Who is AI-based workforce optimization for?

This type of system is great for any business that has found themselves either overstaffed, understaffed or both at various times.  This system originated in telemarketing call centers but has since found success in various industries.   Simply put, AI-based workforce optimization is for any business that experiences fluctuation in busy and slow periods, has customers sensitive to wait times and has difficulty predicting demand.   AI-based workforce optimization is great for service-oriented businesses such as:

  • Automotive: employees in factories manufacturing automobiles, parts or tires may experience peaks and valleys based on current needs and orders. Those offering repairs, automotive services or retail may also experience similar discrepancies in demand.
  • Healthcare: healthcare staff including doctors, nurses and administrative staff may be overwhelmed one shift and bored the next. AI-based workforce optimization and can help monitor the workload so that employees have the optimal amount of work for productivity and hospitals don’t find themselves overstaffed or understaffed at any time.
  • Hospitality: hospitality workers can include airport, hotel or restaurant employees. Anyone who has worked in the industry can recall a time when they were swamped with customers because there weren’t enough people working to support demand as well as those very slow shifts where time creeped by.  Scheduling the appropriate number of employees at the right time will reduce costs and avoid negative customer experiences.

 

  • Retail: In retail there are those times that are predictably busier, like the holiday season, but that is not enough to avoid lost labor costs. AI-based workforce optimization can allow retail stores to schedule the right number of employees each day and at specific times to keep employees engaged at work.

An AI-based workforce optimization software can help in numerous areas for these industries.  Weave Workforce, for example, designs algorithms to unite a client’s operational data with relevant external data and applies artificial intelligence to provide scheduling choices based on reliable analysis.  Their software matches a businesses workload with their workforce creating a positive impact. This matching increases employee satisfaction, enhances customer experience, reduces operating costs and increases profits.

A Case Study: Automotive Industry

Belle Tire is a tire retailer located in Michigan, Northern Ohio and Indiana. A large corporation with over 100 stores, they offer automotive repair services in addition to retail.  Before using AI-based workforce optimization software, they knew they were overstaffing and losing money on labor yet couldn’t accurately forecast when these periods would occur.  The times they miscalculated and understaffed, customer wait times increased.  Belle Tire used the Weave Workforce demand protection and scheduling software and improved their profitability.   After an analysis of the results, Belle Tire saw a 14% hourly labor cost reduction and 2.1% increase in store sales – a significant improvement in any industry!

Over the past year, service-related industries have seen significant changes to their business and have had to adapt.  These changes have highlighted the need for businesses to track data and remain flexible.  AI-based workforce optimization does just that by helping businesses schedule employees accordingly, to prevent both overstaffing and understaffing.  By adopting a system of AI-based workforce optimization, businesses can improve the customer experience, reduce operating costs and improve utilization.  This will result in happier employees, increased customer retention and better business results.