Machine learning (ML) allows computers to turn hard data into applications that enhance productivity and efficiency. As computers have gotten smarter, they've begun to think more logically and in ways similar to the human brain. Programmers now teach machines to rationalize and come up with solutions to complex problems — tasks that only the human brain could accomplish before now.
Algorithma conducted a state of enterprise machine learning survey for 2020 and found in one group of respondents that about 38% used machine learning to reduce costs. If you run a business that has any repetitive tasks at all, then adding an ML platform into the mix creates higher efficiency for your brand. The computer takes over and automatically performs tasks humans completed in the past. There are different levels of machine algorithms, from unsupervised to supervised and a few in between.
There is no denying that implementing AI into your business model saves you money. However, there are numerous ways in which it helps different types of businesses. Here are six key ways machine learning can save you money today and take your firm to the next level.
1. Increase Productivity
Robotics are a big component in machine learning. Repetitive tasks are easily programmed into a computer and a robot used to complete those movements. Letting machines do the work prevents injury to workers who might wind up with carpal tunnel syndrome or tennis elbow from making the same motion hundreds of times a day.
Manufacturing facilities have begun to replace workers in roles where the human touch isn't needed. So, for example, the machine might complete sorting and packaging tasks and a human oversees quality control. Workers shouldn't fear automation, but companies do need to train them in the roles that will become prominent as robots grow smarter and better able to take on tasks employees once did.
Even small components such as pneumatic actuators improve performance on manufacturing lines alongside machine learning. The cost of robots will likely fall as more companies utilize them over electric actuators and production ramps up. Increasing productivity through robotics will become more achievable even by small companies.
2. Maximize Efficiency
Taking advantage of ML doesn't have to mean investing in equipment or robots. You can also use machines to analyze data you already have and help you find more efficient ways of completing tasks.
For example, if you run a restaurant, you might order too many steaks and they wind up going bad before you serve them. After you run a big data program and come up with visual representations of what food is ordered, and when, you notice you sell 50 steaks every weekend and only a few during the week.
You can then use the data and make a decision to offer a weekend special of steak and not have it during the week unless you have some left over. This saves your business money because you're no longer wasting food. It also puts your popular weekend dish in the spotlight and helps you sell even more on the weekends. Forbes advises seeking out large data sets and figuring out where you can remove unneeded touchpoints.
3. Prevent Damage to Machinery
Another way that artificial intelligence (AI) can help you save money is through monitoring machines for stress and potential damage. Imagine a manufacturing facility where you reduce downtime because your engineers know to order and replace a part before it breaks.
Sensors on various sections of an assembly line can send reports back to smart computers. Alarms sound if certain parameters apply, which allows repairs to be made before the line stops. In addition to sensing stress on a particular area of the machinery, the sensors can also report back on speed and quality, allowing companies to improve over time by addressing weak areas.
4. Assess Risk
ML takes complex data sets and analyzes them so you can clearly see the risk versus the benefit for big changes before you make them. Modify the results to meet your specific needs. If you're thinking about buying out another company, run reports to see how the two businesses mesh together. Run different scenarios so you make the best decision possible for the future health of your firm.
5. Nail Personalization
You're competing against businesses in your local area and around the globe. If you want to grab business, you have to stand out.
One way of setting yourself apart from other companies is creating personalized interactions with your customers. Show them you care about gaining and keeping their business. Greet them by name, make suggestions on items they might like based on past buying behavior and remember their important dates.
Program your customer relationship management (CRM) software to run algorithms that personalize their experience. Find out who is most interested in the new product that just arrived. Wish them a happy birthday and offer a discount. Thank them for their last order and repeat what that order was. Or, show them choices of items they might be interested in.
6. Add Livechat
Users enjoy instant answers to their questions. One survey of 1,000 respondents showed that 82% of consumers feel an instant response to their question is important. However, a big problem in the past with using chatbots was that they sounded ridiculous most of the time.
Machine learning has now advanced to a point where computers better understand natural language patterns (NLP). They can comprehend the gist of the question and give a sensible response. This means you can install a chatbot to engage customers and answer most of their questions.
While you may still need to hire live agents to close the sale, you'll save time and money by using a bot for basic tasks, such as gathering names and information on why people are there.
Embrace Tech Changes
The way the world of business interacts with computers changes on a quarterly basis. The key to staying competitive is embracing the changes that make sense for your company and your customers. If you can automate some tasks and free up time for more creative endeavors, don't be afraid to try new things to accomplish that goal.
On the other hand, if the investment is too much for you right now, go forward with other tools and keep an eye on the pie-in-the-sky offerings that may become more affordable over time. Machine learning will only improve in the coming years, so stay informed about what's new in the industry and watch how other businesses handle the changes.