When you walk into an ice cream or gelato shop, besides the gust of cold air that greets you, so does the wide array of flavours for you to choose from. There are the all-time favourites of chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, then there are the exotic flavours, coconut, avocado, butter pecan…and the list goes on and on. How does one even choose?
Rising consuming power
Most of us face this question at least two or three times a day on an average (hopefully not just about ice cream), and the funny thing is, the answer never seems to get any easier. This has become the new norm, simply because we as consumers are spoilt for choices, for everything. Having endless options in terms of price, choice, availability, and even the corporate social responsibility (CSR) that products or services stand for, has led to consumers yielding more power.
This has in no small part been an outcome of globalization. With the playing field now expanded without borders, it has fanned the flames of desires and demands of consumers. Fancy that gadget produced halfway round the world? Not at all an issue. And to meet the demand came the rise of hyper competition. It’s like suddenly having to choose from 10 different ice-cream shops in your neighbourhood from just choosing 10 different flavours of ice-cream in one shop. World of difference it makes.
Image source: Ideasaur
It has been increasingly harder to predict demand, just simply for the fact that there are too many choices, and therefore, increasing the factors that affect consumer choice. These forces simply serve as fodder for volatility in the global market. Few would disagree that volatility, whilst not a new concept, has evolved and erupted tremendously in the past few years.
Good news for consumers, not so pleasant news for businesses
Businesses therefore, must be equipped to tackle this trend, and must do so quickly because if they don’t, the sea of competitors will.
Predictive workload has surfaced as one of key solutions that businesses have adopted to overcome this challenge. Leveraging data and trends of the business, analysis can be churned out to forecast demand. Former Google and Foursquare engineer Andrew Hogue portrays it interestingly, “For every two degrees the temperature goes up, check-ins at ice cream shops go up by 2%.”
By extension, having a predictive workload also enables organizations to adjust its operational and manpower structure to navigate the fluctuations in demand, regardless of seasons or trends. The full potential of a predictive strategy lies in its ability to be programmed to cater prediction at the various function levels across organizations. Take a supermarket for instance, given that there are varying seasonal demands for the different produce and products that it sells, a prediction therefore, can analyze the differing fluctuations in demand at the specific departmental level and predict the workload and resources required to meet the demand.
Therefore, predictive workload and analytics equips businesses to be operationally ready to wax and wane in the appropriate seasons, across different functions. Furthermore, given that control over demand is getting harder to grasp, it is therefore even more vital for businesses to gain an upper hand on things it has control over – supply.
Hence, when strategically capitalized, a predictive workload and its forecasting of requisite staffing requirements would go a long way in mitigating the risks that come along with the volatile business environment of today.