Let’s start with a different question:
Why is demand forecasting so important?
Ensuring you have the perfect amount of employees working through all the peaks and troughs of a day could save you up to 25% annually on your staff wages. In simple terms, demand forecasting is crucial as it allows a business to create operational forecasts based on real data. No company wants to be over or under staffed as this impacts the revenue, so by using historical data, businesses can use demand forecasting to accurately create a picture of what the future might be like.
In a time where customer service is king, and 96% of people polled by Microsoft in a survey said that it was key to them making a purchase and staying loyal, can you afford to have below perfect customer service?
You now know that you need to forecast your staffing levels, but how do you go about actually doing it?
The process of demand forecast starts with working out what has to be achieved. What are the objectives that must be met. Whether that is ‘everybody must be served at the bar within 60 seconds’ or ‘all new orders must be delivered to the customer the next working day’. Your company will have targets that fluctuate with demand and are important to hit to maintain or improve customer service.
Now you need to look at your historical data. What is the busiest you have ever been? What is the quietest you have ever been? This is the data that shows your peak and your trough, and the chances are you already know exactly when they occur.
Next you need to look at your staff. Do you have enough staff to hit the objectives at the busiest time? Remember to take into account any predicted growth that the company may be going through. If you have enough staff for the busiest time, then great, if not you may need to get a recruitment drive going.
There is a lot of data that can be tracked and mapped to help you improve your scheduling, and this is where an AI-powered solution will help you. You can use it to capture different demand drivers such as the number of transactions, footfall and revenue. These can be tracked not just across the business as a whole, but by location or even by department. Hyperlocal forecasts can identify peak and dull periods right down to a 15 minute accuracy if required. That can allow you to schedule breaks and cover to ensure headcount remains at optimal levels at all times.
When building a rota, AI-powered demand forecasting can alert you of outliers and the impact of events, holidays and even promotions that will impact staffing for that period. And of course, you should look to combine these forecasts with your own workforce standards when calculating headcount.
As soon as people start to mention AI, many people get scared or start to think about it as being too technical or confusing. Our AI-powered workforce management system is not and the words should not put you off. You let it do all the hard work in the background so that you can produce simple, accurate rotas every time.
Find out more about our demand forecasting solution, or alternatively get in touch so we can start a conversation today.