In the latest instalment of our supply chain industry executive interview series, we spoke to Quinyx Account Executive Ken Fernée about demand forecasting, the need for agile flexibility, priorities for the coming year and the advantages of a happy workforce…
- Tell us about your company, products and services
Quinyx is a workforce management solution that makes the complex tasks of scheduling, time reporting, communicating, budgeting, and forecasting deskless workers simple, helping people and businesses thrive.
The company was founded by CEO Erik Fjellborg, when he was an employee at McDonald’s. After seeing how difficult it was for managers to sort shifts manually, Erik created Quinyx. McDonald’s loved Erik’s solution and became the brand’s first customer. Today, Quinyx is a market-leading tool that transforms and radically improves the way businesses schedule their staff.
The company helps more than 1,000 businesses around the world reduce labour costs, remain compliant, improve workforce efficiency and engage with employees – while boosting their bottom line, employee satisfaction, and retention.
- What have been the biggest challenges the Supply Chain industry has faced over the past 12 months?
The single biggest challenge caused by the pandemic over the last 12 months has been the difficulty in demand forecasting.
COVID shattered forecasts for organisations across every sector. Supply and demand became impossible to predict; historical data became irrelevant when patterns of behaviour changed overnight. From a workforce management perspective, it was near-impossible to predict labour demand, and understaffing and absences exacerbated the challenges. The picture is starting to improve but these challenges continue to be faced by many organisations.
- And what have been the biggest opportunities?
On the upside, organisations have been forced to become more flexible and agile.
We know from the initial COVID wave that companies with legacy or no software in place faced major operational hurdles. These businesses just weren’t able to meet frequent shifts in demand or deal with mass absences and changing legislation.
Our studies show that companies not utilising AI-fuelled workforce management software overspent by an average of 25% on salary costs and lost up to 15% revenue, due to ineffective staff schedules. They were also either overstaffed by 30% or understaffed by 16%.
Having automated systems in place makes it far easier to be flexible, and to successfully manage a flexible approach.
- What is the biggest priority for the Supply Chain industry in 2022?
I believe there are several priorities:
1 – Become (even more) agile and flexible
While organisations may have had challenges forced upon them during the pandemic, these challenges have allowed them to re-examine their processes and remove potential bottlenecks. So while it’s been a very difficult time, those who have improved and streamlined processes are now optimally placed for continuous improvement and will be ready to adapt to change when it’s needed in the future.
2 – Improve visibility
There are two key areas where organisations need to improve their visibility. One is visibility over their demand. Being able to accurately forecast demand in order to match it with supply. The second aspect is visibility over your workforce to ensure organisations have the right number of employees, right contract mix and right skills to meet forecasted demand. Right person, right place, right time!
3 – Support your workforce
The past 18 months have taken a huge toll on the workforce. Organisations must have employee engagement at the centre of their people strategy. Every year, Quinyx surveys more than 10,000 deskless workers globally as part of our State of the Deskless Workforce report, and we know how much it matters that employees feel valued and able to speak to their managers about any potential problems.
- What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2022?
While we’re all hoping for an immediate bounceback from the challenges of the last two years, unfortunately I think it’s inevitable that we’ll see continued disruptions to logistics. Awareness and acceptance of this, and being able to adapt quickly, will therefore be essential.
Digital transformation will continue too, with new tools that let us see the bigger business picture, and help to identify where time can be saved (and better spent).
Employee wellness, quite rightly, is becoming a big focus for more and more organisations. The pandemic further highlighted the challenges and opportunities for managers of looking after staff, and particularly underlined the demands and issues facing deskless workers across all sectors. With understaffing an ongoing problem for many organisations, staff retention is of utmost importance, and it really is vital that businesses prioritise employee wellbeing.
- What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market this year?
We’re biased, of course, but workforce management technology has the potential to transform organisations and sectors. AI-powered scheduling software can forecast staffing requirements at the touch of a button and based on several different scenarios. As mentioned, COVID was completely unforeseen and made forecasting near-impossible, yet workforce management systems provide the ability to factor in worst-case scenarios – and best-case scenarios, too. We’re now all much more prepared to ‘expect the unexpected’ and software like Quinyx’s facilitates this.
- In 2025 we’ll all be talking about…?
Hopefully anything but COVID, or Brexit! Aren’t we supposed to have been replaced by robots by 2025?! Actually, I think in 2025 we’ll be talking about how technology is making human connection even easier. So the technology will be just as advanced as we once envisaged, but rather than it being used to replace humans – as once pessimistically predicted – we’ll be utilising it even more effectively, to help people stay connected, to help them do their jobs more efficiently and help them feel happier and more empowered.
- What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
It’s exciting and refreshing to work for a company that embodies what it aims to deliver for our clients. The Quinyx company motto is ‘Happy Workforce, Happy Business’ – an ethos which is believed and practised throughout the organisation every day.
- And what’s the most challenging?
I love a challenge, but sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day – I realise this is quite ironic when providing scheduling solutions.
- When I’m not at work you can find me….
Spending time with family, watching and playing sport