The problem

Marston’s currently have over 1100 managed pubs placed up and down the UK. Working in the retail industry can be very competitive with a constant high demand for something new, something bigger and something better. For Marston’s to remain competitive it’s really important to control costs and one of the biggest costs is staff. Marston’s already had controls in place throughout the organisation which were there to help manage cost expenditure – they were searching for a solution that enabled the organisation to create a more tailored weekly rota sheet, which would also allow for each Marston’s pub to control how many people need to be working that week (ensuring that the costs being spent were more accurate, managed and controlled).

Marston’s were already aware that to achieve much more control with its spending they needed to ensure each pub manager is able to supply accurate weekly forecast. Marston’s needed the relevant information prior to each week to create a controlled weekly rota for its staff – the organisation wanted to ensure the pubs had the right staff to customers ratio.

The solution

Due to a pre-existing relationship and with risual being located locally, Marston’s began working with risual to use their expertise and knowledge with Machine Learning. Marston’s approached risual already with a high understanding of the Microsoft stack, they knew what they wanted, but needed a highly skilled professional team who can complete the project.

The benefits

Marston’s and risual worked together to integrate Microsoft’s Azure Machine Learning into Marston’s current environment, allowing them to gain data from start to finish. Marston’s now have the capabilities to begin generating more accurate and tailored rotas for each pub across the UK.

Currently Marston’s are still in its early days with the project so have not yet seen the benefits from the Azure Machine Learning implementation. Expected benefits are as follows;

  • Accuracy – Azure Machine Learning will allow Marston’s to gather more accurate sales forecasts and at varying intervals. Currently, forecasting is produced daily which is wonderful, but to provide better and more impactful data predictions, Marston’s are working towards generating hourly forecasts.
  • Efficiency – Azure Machine learning will be able to provide quick and accurate data at the touch of a button, helping to save costs, produce accurate and reliable decisions and free up pub management to spend time front of house delivering fantastic experiences to their customers.
  • Trends – Azure Machine Learning can allow Marston’s to view insight they usually wouldn’t see from pubs, the data provided will allow trends to be identified and used to support the staffing of the pubs.
  • ROI – All areas in Marston’s are generating forecasting including, the operations team, operation managers, finance team, information team and more. Marston’s have embarked on the Azure Machine Learning journey to begin immediate cost savings and see an ROI in the short and long term.

Marston’s upcoming plans over the next six months are to integrate automated forecasting into existing systems.

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