Digital Transformation of Emergency Medicine: How commercial mathematics is helping hospitals adapt to COVID challenges

As travel restrictions began to ease across Australia at the start of 2022, hospitals experienced an increased strain on resources, brought about by a peak in COVID cases.

Planning to expand their emergency department (ED) to compensate for lost space from accommodating COVID query patients, one of SEQ’s largest public hospitals engaged the services of Biarri to ensure they were achieving optimal utilisation of their facilities.

Though the new building was originally designed for the treatment of minor injuries, the impact of COVID, as well as historically high levels of demand on the ED prompted a reconsideration of the design and intended usage for the expansion. 

The hospital needed to understand how they should change the existing ED whilst utilising the beds and resources of this new physical area, to best improve the flow of patients, reduce their waiting times, and treat them as efficiently as possible while continuing to provide excellent patient outcomes.

Over the 4 months in 2021, the average time a patient spent waiting for a ward bed exceeding the expected time of 75 minutes by 25%. 

Within a restricted time frame, Biarri was able to deliver insights based on a custom-built simulation model, that showed the department how best to optimise throughput, maximise their use of space, and minimise the overall time patients spent in the ED. 

Simulation Modelling

You have a problem. You’ve come up with some possible solutions that work in principle, but you want to be certain of their effectiveness prior to implementation. Often, it’s impractical to test them in reality, as they’re either too expensive, too time consuming, or there would simply be too much interference with the normal operation of your business. You may need a simulation

Simulation is a time and cost effective way of testing ideas and theories across a huge number of disciplines, from wind tunnel testing on scale models in the aerospace industry, to predicting animal behaviour in large groups, or recreating the formation of our Milky Way galaxy. 

Because they are easily configured to take advantage of randomness, running a simulation multiple times can produce a wide spectrum of possible outcomes, which sometimes makes them a better choice to model reality than more traditional techniques. 

Using this method of exploring the problem space, a business can develop their operational plans based on a typical or likely day (or month), while also gaining visibility of, and preparing for the worst-case scenarios. 

By representing the allocation and flow of resources as a series of discrete events, simulations can serve as a digital testing ground for a business, and provide the opportunity for fine tuning and optimisation of business processes. 

Hospital Emergency Department – A Case Study

A simulation algorithm was developed for the ED that allowed the identification of bottlenecks in the department, and could be used to explore the impact of reducing wait times, reallocating beds to different types of patients, and expanding the areas reserved for COVID patients. 

The simulation treated patients as individual agents who were tracked from arrival, through to triage, into a particular area in the ED, where they could then either leave after being examined, or be admitted to the ward. 

The algorithm made use of 4 months of historic data regarding the expected frequency of patient arrivals, expected time in triage for each patient type, and processing treatment times by ED area. Expected flows between the areas of the ED, for example the percentage of acute patients admitted to ward were also estimated. 

The outcomes of the simulations were measured in terms of a NEAT score. 

“The National Emergency Access Target (NEAT) stipulates that a predetermined proportion of patients should be admitted, discharged or transferred from Australian emergency departments (EDs) within 4 hours of presentation”

For example, it was found that reducing the time that patients wait for a ward bed could significantly improve flow in the ED. If patients only waited 45-60 minutes for a ward bed, compared to the current average, the NEAT for Resuscitation patients could increase around 25%.

By tweaking the parameters of the simulation, different scenarios could be investigated. In one such scenario, it was found that if the COVID area was not expanded, even 40 additional patients per day would lead to significant queuing, as the current allocation of 10 beds would be insufficient to handle the demand. 

COVID queue length (10 beds)

Length of queue for beds over a two day period for COVID patients in the situation where the COVID area has not been expanded. The green curve represents the “average” (or 50th percentile), the yellow a worst case scenario (95th percentile) and the blue a best case scenario (5th percentile).  

COVID bed utilisation (10 beds)

The utilisation of beds in the situation where the COVID area has not been expanded. Within a few hours there is no longer any capacity for additional COVID patients. 


However, expanding the COVID area into the acute and clinical decision units (adding 12 beds) meant the ED could handle an increase of roughly 70 COVID query patients per day.

COVID bed utilisation (22 beds)


The utilisation of beds once an additional 12 beds have been added, in the case of 70 additional COVID query patients. If the COVID pod was expanded into the Clinical Decision Unit area, this amount of space should be enough to meet the anticipated capacity.

Simulation in Mining and Construction

Biarri has used simulation modelling in a variety of industries, such as modelling the movement of roof supports in longwall mining applications to significantly reduce the time taken for their recovery, transport, and installation. Another application for simulation is traffic and the movement of goods through a network. In the animation below, trucks with a random arrival time move through an underground parking structure to deliver pallets to a goods lift, which might have a randomised waiting time. The bottleneck in the structure acts like a traffic light system to control the flow of trucks through the structure. 


Would you like to know more? 

Speak to an expert today and discover how your business can begin leveraging the power of commercial mathematics and simulation today. 

Get in touch

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reactive to proactive in supply chain with ai

From Reactive to Proactive in Supply Chains with AI

As companies move to using more data to help them make better decisions, they are often left with an uncomfortable feeling. This feeling has nothing to do with going outside comfort zones or changing the way of working, it is based on the fact that even after using the data many people feel like their questions still aren’t answered properly. 

And it is really common.

Research published in the Journal of Organizational Effectiveness People and Performance showed how more measurements, data and visualisation of HR processes lacked the ability to diagnose problems with business performance and lead to relevant and actionable insights. Our experience shows that this is not just limited to HR, it is across the whole business.

So why does this happen?

During COVID-19 (and even before it), supply chain companies around the world underwent significant digital transformations that led to the collection of more and varied data on all aspects of their businesses. To manage and understand this data, organisations invested heavily in BI tools such as Qlik, Tableau, PowerBI and more. Even though these tools are able to present good dashboards of the historic business operations, they haven’t produced revolutionary ways of doing business and, most importantly, they aren’t helping organisations deal with their most important challenge – the future.

From reactive to proactive

When businesses look at their dashboards full of data, they see patterns but are never 100% sure if they are real or not. In their historic data lies the answers to their future questions but how do we reveal them with confidence and precision? 

Where BI provides you with the review view mirror, AI (artificial intelligence) provides you with a well calibrated telescope of the future. By using advanced analytics, companies are able to go from reactive to proactive by statistically validating intuitions about the future hidden in their data to give decision makers the confidence to place bold bets and target ambitious goals – a step change in the way of doing business. Often what the analytics discovers are things you “knew” but now you have quantified them and can properly compute the effects of your decisions on your bottom line.

Those sectors that stand to benefit most from using AI go from reactive to proactive are where there exists high variability in inputs and processes or demand for outputs. For example, industries which use inputs from nature such as mining, resources and agribusiness need to be able to deal with natural variation in their inputs. Any company selling into markets with volatile demand also needs ways to deal with this challenge. 

And then there are a number of industries like logistics and agribusiness which face, and solve, volatility on both inputs and outputs.

How supply chains solve their predictive challenges

Biarri has worked with many logistics companies and agribusinesses to help them move from reactive to proactive. Instead of organisations harvesting crops or moving goods around trying their best to manage their volatility via inventory overcapacity, staff overtime and high wastage, they are now moving to scalable analytics with the business preemptively selling and optimising the expected yield from their crops, animals and delivery trucks. 

A good example of this is Alliance Group in New Zealand who use Biarri’s supply and demand management tool Wolf, which has allowed them to better allocate supply to demand and smooth out their production cycles while simultaneously increasing their profit margins by selling more high margin products in niche markets in a scalable and low effort way. During COVID, this tool allowed them to quickly respond to changes in volatile global and local markets managing both high volatility on the input side (lamb sizes and grades) to the high volatility on the outputs side (COVID lockdowns drastically affecting demand). 

In addition, moving to proactive can have other surprising benefits. Work Biarri has done with Australia’s largest grain exporters shows how a proactive view can reduce storage requirements, lower labour costs as well as save energy – let alone better serve their customers more confidently. Although not always the goal of predictive tools, the ancillary benefits can sometimes outweigh the initial business goals.

Why we all must do this

In moving to proactive thinking via advanced analytics companies are not only improving their bottom line and making better decisions, they are improving local and global markets. By smoothing out supply and demand, market volatility reduces and creates a better business environment for all. The benefits of this accrue to society via a better management of our resources leading to lower prices and higher living standards for all. 

Moving from reactive to proactive via AI tools allows businesses to disrupt their current markets in a scalable way. Not only can you look around corners to know what is coming next, you can do it in a scalable way. Reach out to Biarri now to find out how.

Speak to an expert

AI Driven Business Decisions

AI Driven Business Decisions

As COVID descended upon the assisted care industry, many were unsure how they would survive. Providing education services for children with disabilities such as autism is not something that can be easily carried out remotely. As the healthcare crisis mushroomed into a potential years long drama, people were questioning whether the service providers could even survive.

This feeling of despair was facing most industries as they tried to desperately pivot their businesses to stay afloat. Organisations in sectors like e-commerce were well positioned to grow, others like the assisted care providers less so. 

However, there have been some pioneers who have thrived. We can learn from their successes.

All businesses which have pivoted to digital have discovered one thing – a deluge of data. This deluge of data means that the next phase of growth out of COVID will be defined by two paradigms:

  • Businesses harnessing their digitally generated data to enter a new phase of growth defined by:
    • Cheaper and personalised marketing, 
    • Extended flexibility in delivery of services and products
    • Better operating margins
  • Businesses who are unable to leverage their digital assets and will continue to struggle throughout the crisis praying for it to end unable to meet the challenge.

The AEIOU Challenge

AEIOU is a provider of educational services to children with autism. Their mission is to provide early intervention that enables children with autism to live their best lives. 

In early 2020, it became clear to their dedicated team that the year was going to be different. As the global economy grinded to a halt and social distancing became the norm, the staff began worrying that possible COVID outbreaks in their centres could shut them down.

However, they had a trick up their sleeve – the Little Steps educational platform.

Over the previous nine months, the AEIOU team had been working indefatigably with Biarri to bring a disruptive new technology to the industry which would:

  • Remove the need for large paper folders transported around in trolleys;
  • Improve the efficiency of staff content delivery;
  • Make home based delivery possible and
  • Create a treasure trove of digitally collected, consistent and high quality data to be analysed for deep treatment and progress insights

And it would be this final point which has the potential to not only revolutionise the disability care sector but all sectors.

But how? And why?

AI Driven Business Decisions

Like AEIOU, across the globe many businesses are in the final stages of a planned digital transformation or one brought on by COVID. Those businesses which have already completed this process are now looking for ways to leverage the data being collected by the new digital processes and turn it into value.

So what is the best way to do this?

By combining your data with intelligent analytical tools to help make better decisions.

Having good quality data in a consistent format, collected by digital channels, allows companies to apply powerful analytical tools to this information and use it to help understand:

  • What will the future look like? I.e. make reliable predictions
  • What is the best decision to make? I.e. optimise choices to maximise returns and organisational growth
The Biarri Workbench

The problem is that data driven, decision-making normally begins with the in-house development of low-tech tools to manually solve key business problems. As businesses grow, they must move their Excel sheets to the automation of core business processes via mathematical tools to enable better decision making. Why?

Replacing error prone, slow, manual and insecure processes with robust, fast, automated and secure AI tools enable new phases of growth.

By providing digital tools to make optimal decisions, front line staff can move from manual, repetitive and error prone tasks to high value scenario analysis and answer key questions for senior management around future states and optimal strategies. What does this achieve?

It increases the value output per employee via automation and outmaneuvers competitors with better decisions

The above activities are the core of an AI Driven Business Decisions and form part of an AI Driven Digital Transformation which you can read more about here.

AI Driven Value Creation

By using AI to create value, companies can begin the AI driven digital transformation journey as shown in the below image.

But how can a company climb this curve? The details of this transformation are represented in the following diagram.

With the early learning platform, AEIOU have built the foundation of their digital strategy and the logical next step in their transformation is ground-breaking. By digitally capturing the data on learning outcome improvements for children with autism, they can discover new methods that can transform the journey for some of society’s disadvantaged.

Even greater for AEIOU was that their digital platform, Little Steps, was ready as Australia went into lock down. They were able to leverage it to continue the challenging remote learning regime required to not interrupt the learning process for their children.

This wasn’t the first app Biarri had built to enable companies to thrive during the COVID challenge. Biarri has built over a hundred apps to help companies all along the journey of turning data into value.

What role does Biarri play in this transformation?

Biarri’s main value proposition is to help clients realise operational excellence in the way they run their business. The core of this is excellent, data driven decision making.

How do we do this?

Biarri catalyses AI driven business decisions by employing its cutting edge Workbench platform. The Workbench platform empowers Biarri’s customer base in the form of value-creating production tools. 

In the words of businesses we work with, the benefits of a data driven approach leveraging mathematics are that it:

  • Helps make better decisions
  • Improves efficiencies & saves time
  • Reduces cost
  • Improves a business’ core product / service delivery
  • Is easier to use than alternatives (e.g. better than Excel)
  • Allows real time and scenario planning abilities

In AEIOU’s case we built a digital platform with plug and play analytical capabilities. This could tap into automated and optimised rostering tools and lead a true AI driven digital transformation. In the words of their CFO:

The development process with Biarri has been a great success. The team went above and beyond to deliver on our requirements and were engaged, helpful and responsive in understanding the complex needs of our business. The challenge Biarri solved was complex, however, the entire process from development to operation was collaborative and professional and we look forward to continuing our partnership with them.

Matthew Walsh, CFO, AEIOU

Does this apply to me?

Biarri delivers solutions to a wide range of industries. The mathematics which powers our AI knows no boundaries and one powerful model can underpin the efficiency gains in profoundly different industries, from aviation through to the healthcare.

To discuss how you can leverage your data and turn it into value, with AI Driven Business Decisions, reach out with the form below.

Get in touch

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Route planning

Lead the way with the right route planning tool for you and your business


Introduction

Navigating through last-mile delivery offerings can be a daunting task, as you figure out which route planning software tool is the most applicable for your team, your business operation needs and budget. When considering Scopta’s Run and Route planning software, there can be a range of important factors to consider, such as:

  • Finding the best tool to reduce your operational costs and improve your bottom line;
  • Purchasing the necessary functionality to streamline current business planning and supply chain management,
  • Identifying gaps within your current operations that could benefit from an automated software solution, as you seek to make technological advancements,
  • Selecting the correct route planning tool that has the capacity to deal with your business intricacies and complexities, such as delivery windows, drop off specifications and vehicle compatibility.

As you work through the finer details of other route planning software providers, understand Scopta’s Run and Route and take a look through our customer profiles to see which one best aligns with you and your business.


Customer Type Summary

Customer ProfilePain Points and Challenges
General ManagerReducing operational costs Managing day to day to operations
Vice President of Logistics and PlanningMeeting customer demand and ensuring a safe and smooth operation Supply chain management and refining processes
Digital Transformation ManagerImproving business processes through AI solutions Simplifying and streamlining procedures
Delivery Schedule PlannerCreating a efficient delivery schedule that meets customer demand

Are you a General Manager?


Scopta’s Run and Route’s first customer profile describes General Managers of medium to large sized LPG Gas Distributors (1000+ employees). They hold a management position within the organisation – and are charged with overseeing the day to day service and deliveries of their distribution centre. With broad industry experience and academic qualifications, this GM drives strategy and performance across his business in revenue growth, cost reduction, operational efficiency and customer experience

As business and demand continues to grow so does the business’s costs; mindful of their bottom line and an eye into the future, they seek for alternative options that can aid the delivery scheduling team in being able to meet their customers’ needs by making deliveries on time and on demand, and reducing the man hours spent on creating schedules through old hand method ways like excel and google maps.


Does this sound familiar? If so, our Run and Route tool helps solve the above challenges by creating an optimal and efficient set of routes, reducing drivers’ travel distance and accelerating the delivery process.

Are you a Vice President of Logistics and Planning?

Aligned closely with the General Manager, Scopta’s Run and Route next profile holds an executive role within the company and leads the logistics and planning functions. Tasked with ensuring the quality, efficiency and scalability of the supply chain, the Vice President of Logistics and Planning is constantly looking for systems, processes and technical solutions to gain and maintain competitive advantage

Overseeing the supply chain processes of a large distribution centre of a goods company, they take a great deal of interest in business processes and delivery outcomes and performance, with a desire to stay at the forefront of the industry. Taking a measured approach to how best to improve the service and delivery of their goods, they are on the constant lookout for solutions that can streamline the planning of delivery schedules and achieve efficient and cost effective planning

Open to technology advancement, they see the implementation of a route planning software program as a great advantage for route planning for more efficient delivery schedules. 
Does this sound familiar? If so, our Run and Route tool helps solve the above challenges by being market leaders in route optimisation, and being a functional and agile tool that simplifies the way you plan and deal with last minute adjustments.

Are you a Digital Transformation Officer?

With an eye to the future and a strong understanding of current business operations, our next profile looks to advance the company through digitalisation and with the integration of  artificial intelligence. As a key decision maker with a background in information technology, they are motivated by efficiency and productivity, constantly looking to refine and improve streamlining supply chain processes. With a view to automating and digitising where possible, the Digital Transformation Officer sees potential to improve the last-mile delivery planning process, which currently involves a mixture of data sources, manual processes, online mapping tools and excel spreadsheets.  This results in labour intensive processes, a lack of optimisation, barriers to scalability and key personnel risk. 

The Digital Transformation Officer plays a vital role in the continual refinement of these practices, looking to streamline their processes through optimisation as they look for the best route planning software for their business requirements. 


Does this sound familiar? If so, our Run and Route tool helps solve the above challenges through automated route planning solutions. Streamline the way your team plan and organise their trucking fleet, with a single tool containing all the functionality your team needs to deal with your business requirements.

Are you a Delivery Scheduler Planner?

Last but not least, the Delivery Scheduler. They have the critical role of planning the routes and delivery schedules for their 20+ trucking fleet. Equipped with nothing more than a spreadsheet, an online map and vast experience (perhaps having been a delivery driver themselves), they spend the better part of their week organising delivery schedules. 

Motivated by meeting customers’ demand and ensuring deliveries are completed, there are many variables and barriers that they face. Dealing with the complexities of considering delivery windows, driver availability, infrastructure and truck requirements and specific load types, all while making sure delivery schedules are ready by the first delivery is a time-consuming and extremely difficult task when completed by hand. 

Perhaps a route planning software tool could help?

Does this sound familiar? If so, our Run and Route tool helps solve the above challenges through its powerful optimisation engine. Be enabled to do more with a centralised system that deals with complex scenarios and variables, ensuring that you produce not only an error free delivery schedule but an efficient and cost effective set of routes.

Speak to our team now based on your above persona

If any of the following profiles or challenges resonate with you and your business, please reach out to one of our team members to discuss how Scopta Run and Route can assist, using the below contact form. 


With a strong understanding of the constraints and challenges last mile delivery and route planning entail, the team behind Scopta Run and Route are dedicated to working along side you to improve your business processes and route planning through automation and optimisation.

Run and Route Contact Form

Biarri Workforce New Feature Release: July Edition

With the end of the Financial year coming to close, and as Businesses continue to adjust to our new normal, the team behind Biarri Workforce continue our commitment to improve and simplify workforce rostering and planning. With our users in mind, our development team has updated and created additional functionality to equip you the user with the necessary tools to improve the way you:

  • View KPI’s and create reporting for exporting;
  • Manage your employees work schedules across multiple rosters 
  • Improve visibility of rosters when planning with simplified user interface functionality and
  • The way employers manage employees fatigue and qualification compliance 

Read on to see how Biarri Workforce continues to simplify and prepare your workforce scheduler to create optimised workforce rosters and work schedules. 

  1. Roster Export Additional Employee Columns  

Reduce confusion and assure your employees with the option to increase your employees visibility with additional ‘Employee Fields’. When downloading or exporting your roster, you have the choice to include or exclude the following employee details from your roster. Better manage your employees’ details with the new employee columns. 

2. Include shifts from non-primary roster

Better manage individual employee rosters by being able to include shifts from non-primary rosters. When downloading rosters, include or exclude shifts from non-primary rosters with Biarri Workforce’s new toggle option. Perfect for employees who work across multiple departments and perform multiple functions, keep track and improve the way you plan and organise their roster.


3. Customisable report titles

Create clearer reports and configure ‘titles’ and ‘subtitles’ before downloading your roster. With the ‘Suggested Titles’ selector – correctly title and label your rosters based on intelligent suggestions.



4. Roster KPI’s – Paid hours/ total days sub totals 

Make more informed decisions with Biarri Workforce’s improved ‘RosterKPI’s’. With the enhanced KPI functionality, users will have the option to view the sub-total paid working hours and total days. Helpful and useful when dealing and managing fatigue, increase your workforce planners and users visibility over working hours, ensuring employee hours do not exceed CBA regulations.

5. Powerful roster view filters

Improve your user experience with the new Biarri Workforce filter options. By clicking on the following ‘filter’ icon dropdown in the Rostering’ tab, your user will now be able to organise and switch views by selecting the necessary filters, creating a more clearer and purposeful roster.

6. Fatigue and Qualification Compliance Reporting 

Found in the ‘Admin’ tab, users will now be able to export fatigue and qualification reports under the ‘Roster Validation’ sub header.
Make compliance and safety a priority by ensuring you have the correct employee with the correct qualification, to perform the necessary tasks. With Roster Validation’ reporting, your Workforce Planners and users will be able to stay up to date with employees who do not satisfy the requirements to perform specific tasks and roles. From alcohol tests to site compliance, roster validation will highlight when employees are in breach of rule specifications outlined.

If you want to know more about any of the features mentioned above, we invite you to leave your contact details in the contact form below and one of our team members will get in touch with you. Or if you want to know more about Biarri Workforce follow this link.

Workforce Contact Form

Changing the landscape of Route Optimisation

Introduction

Getting from point A to point B is a simple enough task to be completed on most devices, through various different apps and software. But what happens when you have to get from point A to point B and now point C with consideration of other factors like availability windows and route preference? Scopta have developed Run and Route a route optimisation software that deals with the complexities of vehicle and delivery routing.

Read on to discover Run and Route and how it is changing route optimisation and vehicle routing.

Scenario

Barry is the Operations Manager at a warehouse depot for a biscuit company and is in charge of the planning and organising of the distribution of goods sold across Sydney. Barry is tasked with delivering 400 orders to be delivered between 20 trucks, exactly 20 orders per truck. For the last 10 years Barry has used a combination of Excel and Google Maps to figure out their delivery routes. He plans his delivery schedule a week in advance, and spends a large portion of the week carefully mapping out delivery routes. Barry is restricted by both time and cost, trying to figure out the fastest and most efficient route.

Planning out a delivery schedule by hand is notoriously difficult and time consuming, not to mention subject to human error. Manually working between Excel and Google Maps to find the best delivery order is inefficient and also raises challenges such as the Travelling Salesman Problem or TSP, which is simply finding the best order in which to visit a set of locations. Through traditional methods of Excel and Google Maps it won’t tell you the best way to order those stops to give you the overall shortest or fastest route but instead show you the quickest route from point A to point B. Now say you throw in point C and point D? An extra level of complexity is added with additional locations. How is Barry to know which location to begin with and the order to complete the rest of his deliveries?

With Run and Route, Barry will have a centralised solution that will allow him to input information about his locations and trucks, and automatically configure the fastest and most cost effective delivery routing schedule. Traditionally, Barry might have begun his route at point A, followed by point B, C and D in that order. By inputting this data in Run and Route, Run and Route will determine the optimal delivery schedule that would show that this particular truck should begin his delivery route at point C, then point A, then point D and finishing at point B. 

Another challenge Barry and other Operations Managers face is creating a schedule that considers delivery time windows and customer availability. Factoring customer availability and time windows is a crucial and important aspect of determining the optimal routes for a fleet of delivery vehicles. For example one shop in Bondi has a strict 2 hour delivery window between 5:00am and 7:00 am, while another customer in Redfern is a bit more flexible and is open for deliveries from 6:00 am to 12:00 am. Manually working through these intricacies one truck at a time not only requires an incredible amount of thought and time, the level of complexity dramatically increases with scale

run and route

Solution

Run and Route is Scopta’s Vehicle Routing offering, designed to simplify the planning process for last-mile delivery. It is useful for businesses with multiple vehicles that each perform multiple deliveries per day. Run and Route can help your business cut variable costs and improve your customer service. Remain efficient and competitive with a quality Vehicle Routing Solver that simplifies the role of your Operations Manager and the way you plan and schedule your deliveries. Be confident and assured with the quality and accuracy of your schedules with Run and Routes powerful engine.

Want to know more? Speak to a team member today and find out how Scopta Run and Route can automate your vehicle routing.

Run and Route Contact Form

Sales forecasting tool

Sales Forecasting Tool to Plan Accurately With Some Simple AI

Throughout my career I’ve worked with salespeople, as a salesman, and in roles supporting sales activities. Sales is one of the most important functions of a business as without sales, you have no business, no matter how great your product or service is. 

Sales is the fuel for any business to survive and thrive and this makes planning and forecasting sales one of the most important activities a business does.

That’s why running a business without effective and accurate sales forecasting is a bit like flying a plane without a fuel gauge. Of course, an accurate fuel gauge is not necessary or sufficient for generating or maintaining lift – the Wright brothers got away without one. But there’s a reason why modern planes have them – it gives pilots access to data to make the flight decisions to get from A to B. 

So how are you flying your venture?

Probably the same as most other businesses. 

You gather your sales team and ask them, ”how many sales will we have this year?” 

In the best case scenario, they review last year’s sales and make a guess based on gut feeling and intuition (which is not always wrong). 

Commonly enough though, a misalignment of incentives and company sales culture can manifest as a mismatch between targets (optimised for remuneration incentives) and forecasts (optimised for accuracy).

We can do better. 

And to do this we need to use data. But why is data so important?

According to the Professor of Digital Practice at QUT, Mal Thatcher, the 21st century will be the century where,

“By the middle of the century the only tangible asset on an organisation’s balance sheet will be data”

and this is true for your sales too.

To give you and your business a competitive advantage, we at Biarri have developed a simple, easy-to-use Excel sales forecasting tool for you. So it is time to become data driven now and with Biarri’s new tool this is extremely easy. 

Biarri has taken some basic AI techniques and put them into a spreadsheet that requires no macros, no plugins and nothing to install. The AI techniques in this Excel tool will help guide your sales team to make more accurate predictions for the coming year. 

You don’t need to be an expert in AI to leverage the tool. It does all of the hard work for you and provides you with data driven monthly predictions for the coming year based on quarterly sales patterns. You don’t need to know cutting edge AI to use the tool, just how to copy and base a small amount of data.

You can download the tool below for free. There is no need to leave your email address or anything. Biarri’s mission is to make the world more efficient via better decisions powered with mathematics and we believe this tool has the potential to make a difference for your organisation.

Your New Sales Forecasting Tool

Before you download the tool, it is worthwhile telling you what it is, and how to use it.

It uses historic data to establish a pattern and then extrapolates this pattern to be able to predict the coming year’s sales. 

Not only does the tool provide monthly predictions, it also takes into account quarterly sales cycles. Forecasting quarter-by-quarter aligns it with typical quarterly reporting and also captures the variance in quarterly sales. This quarter-by-quarter approach is designed for industries like retail which have some quarters with greater sales (e.g. Xmas). 

There is also a “bad month flag”. This allows users to indicate if something bad has happened in the past during months (e.g. COVID) and if similar events are predicted to occur in the future (in the PREDICTIONS tab). 

This spreadsheet comes prefilled with data to show you what it should look like. To use it for yourself, remove the data from the Monthly Sales column in the Data tab and replace it with your own data. The calculations and updates will be carried out automatically. All other cells are locked for your safety. 

How do I use the sales forecasting tool?

The steps to using the sales forecasting tool are as follows:

1. Collect exactly 36 months of contiguous sales data leading up to the month you would like to predict from. E.g. if you want to predict the yearly sales from January 2022 until December 2022, then collect the 36 months of sales data from January 2019 until December 2021. The model is set up for exactly 36 months of data, not more or less.

2. Copy this sales data into the Monthly Sales column in the Data tab (in green). The top most entry should be the oldest (e.g. in the example in 1., January 2019) and the bottom most entry should be the newest (e.g. December 2021 in the example in 1.).

Sales forecasting tool monthly sales column

3. In the Data tab now enter the first month for the monthly sales data in the month tab by choosing from the drop down menu (this cell is green). Also choose the year in the year column from the drop down menu (this cell is also in green).

Sales forecasting tool month selection

4. For each month, choose whether a bad event occurred (or not) by selecting Yes or No in the Bad Event column. If normal trading and fluctuations were occuring, then put No. Otherwise, if something truly unusual (e.g. COVID) occurred that significantly impacted your sales volumes, select Yes on the months which were affected by this (this column is coloured green).

Sales forecasting tool bad event input column

5. Once this data has been entered, go to the Model Analysis tab to see the outputs of the model. In the Predictions tab, if you predict that there will be any bad months in the future, select Yes in the corresponding months in the Bad Event column (which is in green). For this to have effect, similar Bad Events need to have occurred in the past otherwise this will have no effect.

Bad event output column

6. Finally, your predictions are shown in a graph in the Dashboard tab, with a table showing the cumulative results for each quarter.

Monthly sales prediction graph

Download the sales forecasting tool by clicking on the button below.

What does Biarri do?

Most companies begin with Excel sheets like the one provided here to start making once off decisions on key parts of their business. It is like the first flight of a plane with an often inaccurate fuel gauge caused by data issues. At some point, organisations need to lift up from Excel to correct, secure, easy to use and more powerful tools and this is where Biarri helps.

Biarri’s main value proposition is to help clients realise operational excellence in the way they run their business via AI. The core of this is excellent, data driven decision making. Biarri catalyses AI driven business decisions by using its cloud based set of mathematical tools, the Workbench.

To discuss how you can leverage your data and turn it into value to reach new operational heights, reach out with the form below now.

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Agribusiness Optimisation Solutions

Maths and Machine Learning for Agribusinesses

Mathematics powered by computers is changing the world we live in. At Biarri we see this everywhere, across every industry, and I’m sure you do too. Recently we have delivered a number of Machine Learning and Mathematical Optimisation solutions for Agriculture businesses in Australia and were fortunate enough to be invited to speak at the recent Case IH agri-business conference in Mackay.

Ash Nelson, Biarri’s co-founder, presented on Maths and Predictive Analytics for better business decisions. He described how our everyday lives are being changed by corporations leveraging large data sets, advanced statistical analysis and powerful computing resources. Ash then outlined how these same set of technologies can be utilised to improve business decisions in agriculture. This includes optimising agricultural supply chains and port operations, reducing unplanned equipment failures by using intelligent predictive maintenance algorithms or to improve health and safety outcomes for farm workers by better identifying areas of best practice to inform injury prevention initiatives.

Are you interested in leveraging your data using advanced maths to make better business decisions? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team.

Supply Chain planning

Making the most of storage facilities in large construction projects

Large construction projects have a huge logistics component often requiring equipment from all over the globe to be brought together through a complex supply chain. In an ideal world, our suppliers would produce items on time and they would be transported to our construction contractors just as they needed them.

Unfortunately, we don’t work in an ideal world – suppliers can fail to produce on time, problems can occur in transit, and external forces outside our control can interrupt the construction schedule. For this reason, we want a contingency plan – usually in the form of a storage facility where we can hold spare or excess items if our supply and demand schedules don’t match up.

These facilities are used heavily over a short period of time, meaning that any inefficiencies quickly add up to large, unnecessary costs. However, given the size of these projects, identifying and fixing these issues is far from easy or intuitive. It is through analytics that you can drive quantitative answers and support effective decisions in your logistics and facility planning.

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Mitigation by Iteration

Mitigation by Iteration – Facilitating the Optimisation Journey

For companies to remain competitive, they require smart systems that solve their unique day to day business problems. However, when applying these systems many decision makers get lost in the complexity due to limited communication and collaboration within the implementation process.

We are at the cutting edge of the latest optimisation methodologies and web technologies. However, unlike many other optimisation, and analytics companies out there, one of our main goals is to make powerful optimisation accessible in the real world to bring value to our clients.

We specialise in the development of web applications and smart optimisation engines– delivered in less time than you would probably think. It’s not unusual for us to go from an initial workshop with a client, to understanding their problem, and then having a fully functional optimiser in a production environment within three months.

On top of this the same people are often involved through the entire SDLC (software development life cycle) i.e. from the spec/design, theory, implementation and delivery/support. This reduces the overhead many organisations incur by having different people in business analytics and developer positions. The people implementing the solution actually understand and work with you to solve your problem.

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