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.
Each demand signal should relate to at least one area or crossover between multiple areas.
Example, if the demand signal is Food Order this would affect both waiter and kitchen staff. The data values should be the same for both areas since the waiter will need to take the orders. You can also calculate the Waiter area with a demand signal called Foot Traffic if you want it separated.
Using artificial intelligence, Auto-Scheduling will analyse the data from multiple demand signals, like sales, foot traffic, and table bookings, to accurately forecast how many staff you need for each hour of the day.
Click the cog icon next to the signal name. This allows you to edit minor demand signal options, change the name of the metric, line colour that will appear in the Statistics bar, the time period of the demand prediction.
Building Required Staff Recipes
Add Required Staff Recipe
Next, you need to enter the data for how many staff you need per hour based on the metrics you just entered for the demand signals.
Click into Required Staff on the left panel of the Statistics bar.
Here, you can determine the exact number of employees scheduled in each area based on the demand signals you added prior. These are called “Required Staff Recipes”.
To do this click Build and here’s how you should translate the form:
For every [X amount] of [demand signal], [X amount] employees in [area 1]
For every  of [Food Order],  employees in [Kitchen]
AND for every  of [Food Order],  employees in [Waiter]
AND for every  of [Coffee],  employees in [Barista]
Click 'Build' to save the recipe, and the number of staff needed every hour will populate in those areas. If needed, you can manually edit it.
If an area doesn’t have any metrics (demand signals) related to it, it’s important to leave that area field blank when building a recipe.
Remember to save all of your changes when editing a demand signal or building a recipe. To do this, click on the blue button at the corner of the modals. You have two options:
‘Save changes to the date’ you have selected in the Schedule view
‘Save to current weekly view’ to save entire week view (click the drop-down menu of the button)
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.