Smart schedules

Deep dive - Human Resources and Smart Schedules

Staff management

With a decade of restaurant experience behind him, our Product Manager Erik Friberg became a systems scientist. It was his interest in scheduling and curiosity about digital solutions that attracted him to systems science and then on to Caspeco.


In this interview, we delve into the process behind Caspeco Personal - how is development prioritized, what is the driving force and what will the personnel system of the future look like? Our Product Manager for HR has the floor!

We start with a new launch, Smart Schedules - what is it and how does it work?

- Our goal is to constantly reduce the number of admin hours for our customers. The HR team's latest project has explored the possibility of using AI technology to achieve just that. The result is Smart Schedules - a tool that uses the customer's sales forecast and desired pay rate to find an optimal schedule. Without getting too technical, we can say that the tool takes the customer's goals and tries to find a previous staffing that has resulted in a similar outcome. 


The tool allows the scheduler to think only about staff and to hand over time and job role planning to the system. Furthermore, it can help when taking over scheduling from someone else, as the tool can provide a guideline on how it should be designed.

How to best use Smart Schedules?

- More data, better results - or so it seems. The more data the tool has to work with, the more accurate the suggestions will be. It is best suited to businesses with variable sales where the schedule needs to be adjusted. Larger businesses with lots of staff can benefit from more detailed schedules at the quarterly level to reduce staff costs.


From physical documents to AI.

- When I started working in restaurants, the scheduler wrote down everyone's start times on a piece of paper. Today, developments have made it possible to fully digitalize scheduling, starting times have been replaced by shifts and you can get the times directly on your mobile phone. In addition, there are digital solutions for punch clocks, drink distribution and sales forecasts, etc.

This is a major and very interesting development, but there is always room for improvement. Advances in AI technology are enabling many new innovative solutions. Not least in scheduling, where tools such as Smart Schedules are one of many future solutions.


How do staff choose what to develop?

- Usually it is a combination of the industry's direct demand and our reconnaissance of what the industry would benefit from. Once a problem is identified, we first want to understand its entirety. When we lift the lid, we often discover that several problems can share the same solution. As in the case of Smart Schedules - we want to both simplify and streamline scheduling for our users. The result is a tool that facilitates both.  


How to choose the best solution?

- The best approach is usually to start with a simple solution that first solves the problem. Over time, collect customer feedback and develop it further.

If you want to facilitate the journey from A to B, you don't start by building a car. The first solution could be a scooter. This can then be further developed with more wheels, seats and a roof according to the customer's wishes. In the end, the car has emerged. While the scooter fulfills its purpose, the car is likely to have a higher percentage of satisfied users. It is easier to get it right when we develop our solutions together with the customer. Therefore, a good product with great potential is what we strive for when creating a new solution.


What do you think about the future solution?


- Smart schedules are a first version of an AI tool, it challenges previous solutions and can give a hint of the future. 

I believe that future versions will increasingly take over the strategic work. For those who work with scheduling, this means less manual work and more time to spend on other things. A realistic end goal is a tool that can create schedules that can be approved without manual assistance. 

Furthermore, the solutions of the future are widely speculated, but they all have in common that they will be smarter and require less manual work. It's an exciting time with lots of new developments. For those who want a hint of the future already, I can tell you that exciting functionality is on its way. Without saying too much, we have come a long way with how you as a user will be able to communicate with our HR system. Stay tuned for the future.