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How AI Can Help Australian Retailers Reduce Operational Cost

By Liam Osawa, WFM Sales Development Representative APAC

 

Australian retailers are under pressure. The typical Australian retail consumer is changing, labour laws are volatile, and on-going costs like rent and energy seem to keep going up in perpetuity. Meanwhile, global retailers are rapidly expanding their brick and mortar presence, bringing new marketing techniques and operational experience with them.

 

How can Aussie retailers use AI to stay one step ahead?

On the surface, you might not see the value of AI in a retailer. You’re running a brick and mortar business after all. But one of the most powerful uses of artificial intelligence is in making better staffing decisions.

 

Why Staffing?

Think about all the lost revenue and service levels compromises that happen when your stores are too busy and you’ve understaffed that shift. Or the inefficiency that happens when you over-staff and your staff are bored, underutilised and increasing your operational cost. Using AI can eliminate that issue – saving you millions of dollars a year and improve employee satisfaction and customer experience nationally.

 

How does it work?

AI driven algorithms tap into the essence of your business: data. Using advanced algorithms, Widget Brain help to automate workforce capacity planning, demand forecasting, and creating optimal rosters.

 

Our algorithms use historical data on demand and labour standards make accurate labour demand forecasts. They use demand and supply data together with business specified constraints and inputs to make optimised staffing recommendations. Add employee data, break rules and labour laws to the mix and you will be able to automate optimal scheduling decisions to create and fill shifts.

 

What’s the outcome?

By implementing Widget Brain’s labour demand forecasting algorithms into your company, you get accurate insights into future required headcount that match your demand. You’ll also receive quantifications of seasonality, holidays and events on demand that otherwise might have gone unnoticed.

 

Taking this a step further, you can also implement our workforce capacity planning solution to strategically plan your workforce for the next quarter. This helps you to manage your skill inventory, calculate possible scenarios that can impact future staffing, and optimise your future workforce landscape.

 

Managing your skill inventory helps you close gaps in your current workforce and lets you make better decisions in the hiring process. You can find the optimal number of full-time to part-time employees in each store.

 

Finally, you can act on the provided demand forecasts and optimise every shift using our algorithms. Widget Brain help you to minimise day-to-day costs by centralising scheduling and only creating shifts necessary to cover demand while balancing service levels and costs. You can even improve your shift filling by assigning shifts to employees to reduce overtime and maximise compliance with labour laws.

 

But my company already has a workforce management software?

Widget Brain doesn’t aim to replace your workforce management software; we work alongside it. We close any gaps that your workforce management software can’t reach. In-fact, we’ve worked with many international and Australian workforce management vendors to improve their client’s efficiency and reduce operational costs.

 

Want to learn more about our solutions? Go to https://widgetbrain.com/retail-hospitality/ or schedule a demo to see them in action.

 

By Liam Osawa, WFM Sales Development Representative APAC.