With a single click, Auto-Scheduling will build you the perfect shift structure from scratch, then fill it with the right people to best match your scheduling priorities.
This guide will walk you through how to set your business up with Auto-Scheduling.
To use Auto-Scheduling, you'll need to set up your demand signals (referred to as Metrics in Schedule), and ensure you add or import enough data for Auto-Scheduling to predict your labour demands.
Setting up your demand signals should be a one-off task, though you may need to update them or adjust your Required Staff recipes over time to ensure Auto-Scheduling continues to work for the changing needs of your business.
The Auto button combines the two key functions that make up Auto-Scheduling, Auto-Build (creating optimal empty shift structures) and Auto-Fill (filling your empty schedule with the right people for every shift).
You can also access each of the functions individually by clicking the drop down menu.
Once you have your business set up with Auto-Scheduling, you can simply click this button to create and fill your schedule.
Adding and Editing Metrics
Auto-Scheduling uses artificial intelligence to build you the best shift structure for your business, based on as many metrics (demand signals) as you require. A demand signal is anything that affects how many people you need working at any given time. Some examples of demand signals could be sales, foot traffic, food/drink orders, table bookings, tickets sold etc.
To add a metric, go to the left panel of the Statistics bar in the Schedule page.
To add metrics, scroll to the bottom of your list of variables and click 'Add Metric' as seen in the image below:
When you click Add Metric, a 'Metric Configuration' modal will appear where you can:
- Name your demand signal
- Determine the data type, unit, or $ amount (this can not be changed later)
- Choose the colour as it appears in the Statistics bar
- Set the demand prediction. This will determine how far back Deputy will pull data from, either all-time, last 2/4/6/12 periods, or the same period as last year
For example, if you choose 'Last 6 Periods', it will use the date from the last 6 weeks. Using the 'Same Period as Last Year' allows you to account for staffing impact of one-off major events, like sporting events, public holidays, and holiday seasons.
Once you have added a demand signal, a new modal will open allowing you to edit it. Alternatively, you can click into any demand signals you’ve created previously.
Here, you can input the data related to the demand signal, for example, how many units of coffee will you sell per hour? You can import the data from previous dates (if you have existing data), import CSV/Excel files, or manually enter the values. You can choose to calculate this in hourly or 15 minute blocks.
Import Data From Date
The 'Import from Date' option allows you to import average values from previous schedules. You can use the average values from the past week, fortnight, or the past 6 weeks.
Import Data from File
Import from File allows you to add data associated with the metric from Excel/CSV files. To download a sample file, click here.
To create a file for import you only need 3 columns
Column 1 (Area): this should match with the Area Name that needs to be filled with the data, in this example Barista
Column 2 (Timestamp): this should match whether you have chosen to input the data in hourly or 15-minute blocks
Column 3 (Data Value), this will be the imported data.
See example below -
Once you have imported the file you are prompted to match the Deputy fields with the fields from the file you just imported.
Deputy field AREA should match with the column you have entered in the area name
Deputy field TIMESTAMP should match with the column you have entered the time blocks
Deputy field SALES QTY should match with the column with all the data
Click Next, you’ll see the data populate in the form.
Demand signals can be entered for one or more areas. The required staff
calculation will be based on the metric total for all areas. You can use different metrics to calculate the required staff for each area if required. E.g. if the number of coffees sold determines how many baristas are needed then that metric should be used to calculate demand.
Click the cog icon next to the metric name. This allows you to edit minor options, change the name of the metric, line colour that will appear in the Statistics bar and the time period of the demand prediction.
Building Required Staff
The Required Staff metric specifies the exact number of employees that need to be scheduled in each area by hourly or 15 minute time periods. The number of required staff can be entered manually, directly into the table, or can be calculated using the Demand Builder. To display the data click ‘Required Staff’ on the left panel of the Statistics bar.
The Demand Builder uses a metric (demand signal) to create the Required Staff based on your knowledge of your business.
By specifying how many staff are needed for a particular amount of a metric, Demand Builder will calculate how many staff are needed in each area for every hour or 15 minute period.
You can build the required staff for one day or the entire schedule period.
For every $300 in Total Sales per hour I need 1 cashier, 1 barista and 2 waiters.
To use the Demand Builder click on ‘Demand Builder’ in the Required Staff pop-up.
To configure the Demand Builder:
- Choose the period you want to build required staff for. You can choose a single day or the entire period you have in your current schedule view in the main window.
- Choose the metric you want to use to calculate the required staff.
- Enter the metric value and the staff needed for each multiple of that metric.
- Click on the ‘Build’ button to run the calculation and close the window.
The Demand Builder will use the Total Sales to calculate the required staff and enter the result into the Required Staff table.
In the example below for $300 the Demand Builder will calculate a requirement
for 1 Barista, 1 Cashier and 2 Waiters.
Applying the above calculation to this Sales Data results in the Required Staff numbers below.
- The Demand Builder uses the metric total amount to calculate the required staff.
- It is possible to select only one metric for each build calculation but you can run the build calculation multiple times to add more staff using different metrics. Each subsequent calculation will add more staff to the required staff table.
Example: If you prefer to use the Coffee metric to calculate the number of baristas required and the Sales metric to calculate cashiers and waiters. Run one calculation using the Sales metric with the Barista area set to zero and a second calculation with the Coffee metric selected and only a value for the Barista area.
Clicking the build button will run the demand builder and save the changes automatically.
The bulk update option allows you to increase and decrease numbers across the spreadsheet via percentages.
Hourly / 15 Mins toggle
This option allows you to see and enter the data in hourly or 15-minute intervals. The below is an example of the window in an hourly view.
While the below is an example of the 15-minute view. Please note that after clicking 15 mins there may be a delay due to the spreadsheet rendering.
The Auto button combines the two key functions that make up Auto-Scheduling; Auto-Build (creating optimal empty shift structures) and Auto-Fill (filling your empty shifts with the right people). You can access each of the functions individually by clicking the drop-down menu.
Using data from Auto-Build Shift Structure and Auto-Fill Empty Shifts, Auto-Schedule will build and fill a schedule for the current view. First you need to build your shift structure and set your Auto-Fill preferences.
Auto Build Shift Structure
Click on the Auto drop-down menu and a modal will open with several preferences.
Preferred Shift Lengths
In this box, you can enter the ideal shift lengths (in hours) to be created using Auto-Build. You can add more than one shift length, the order will dictate the priority.
Base model refers to the primary logic you would like Auto-Build to use when building your schedule. You can select one of the three options:
- Required Staff - Looks at your Required Staff metric you’ve built to determine the number of employees scheduled in an area (most common)
- Learn from past worked hours - Checks for previously logged shifts in your areas
- Minimum Coverage - Looks at openings and closing times and ensures that there’s always an employee working in each area from open until close
Starting Hour Block
Allows you to select whether employee shift times can start on hourly, 30-minute or 15-minute intervals.
This button will create EMPTY shifts based on your demand signal metrics and the preferences you added into Auto-Build.
Auto Fill Empty Shifts
This function will only fill any EMPTY shifts, it will not automatically fill OPEN shifts.
Once you have your shift structure from Auto-Build or by creating empty shifts manually you can use the Auto-Fill function (accessed via the Auto drop-down menu). A modal will open with several preferences.
Keep cost as low as possible - Selecting this will ensure that the generated schedule will take into consideration employee costs
Try to provide equal hours for everybody - Selecting this will take into account the hours each employee is scheduled for and will attempt to keep hours equal amongst employees
Learn from Me
Learn my preference from past schedules - Selecting this will look at the previous instances where you have used the auto-fill function and will preference shifts based on what it has learnt from the past
How long do you want to wait?
This drop-down will give you three options:
- A minute or less (for a good result)
- A few minutes (for a better result)
- As long as it takes (grab a coffee, we’ll find the near optimum result)
Auto Fill Shifts
This button will fill all the empty shifts you have.
Advanced Recipes **FOR ADVANCED USERS**
This box allows you to create more articulate parameters behind the autofill process. For example, the following 'recipe' ensures salaried employees work between 40 and 45 hours per week, and makes sure that employees aren't scheduled during early morning and late afternoon regardless of stress profile.
For more assistance with advanced recipes, click here.
To begin the auto-fill process, select your preferences and click 'Auto Fill Shifts'.
Read more about Auto-Scheduling from our CEO, Ashik Ahmed here.