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Leveraging artificial intelligence for small businesses

Leveraging artificial intelligence for small business

December 28, 2023

Small business owners and fleet managers alike often struggle with the complexities of managing their operations. The solution is already here– taking advantage of automation is key. Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools are revolutionizing all industries no matter the size of your business. It’s not just for tech giants or technical geniuses; AI is becoming more accessible and adaptable for large and small businesses alike. For small business fleets, AI has the potential to run much of your business for you, using cutting edge GPS tracking, and paired with fuel cards, can save you time, money, and effort in your day-to-day operations.

AI can deliver the competitive edge your small business needs

In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, small business owners should make every attempt to stay ahead of the curve and seek innovative ways to stay competitive. Managing a fleet of vehicles for a small business comes with its own set of challenges. From optimizing routes to maintaining vehicles and keeping drivers on the most efficient path at all times, the task can be daunting. AI is a game-changer to simplifying these issues.

Simplify AI for your small business– it’s the underdog’s secret weapon

While AI seems to be a buzzword right now, many still don’t know the scope of its applications. For a long time the term “artificial intelligence” was often associated with science fiction. And while we may not be dealing with sentient robots (at least not yet), we are capable of simulating human intelligence in machine solving and cognition. The turning point has come in the 21st century, with rapid technological advancement, allowing the exponential growth of automated computing. 

A variety of factors led to the explosion of AI:

  • Big data: Vast amounts of diverse data allow AI to demonstrate remarkable machine learning capabilities. The evolution of data analytics contributed to advancing AI’s skills, like improving pattern recognition and mimicking human-like texts. The more data AI has access to, the more experience it gets interacting and learning from all kinds of information.   
  • Hardware advancements: Increased computer power including graphics processing units, made it possible to process large datasets at a time, streamlining the analysis to application process. 
  • Deep learning: This concept is the method behind how AI mimics the human brain. It involves layers of neural networks that allow AI to recognize complex patterns, images, text, sounds, and more. The more developed it gets, the more accurate its insights and predictions get.
  • Accessibility: As learning and use of AI progresses, developers have greater access and create more and more new creative uses for it.
  • AI in everyday life: As it stands now, AI, in its basic forms, is used regularly. From chatbots that are common in many online apps, to prompt-based content creation like ChatGPT, these seemingly advanced uses are just the tip of the iceberg for the evolving capabilities of AI.

The pace of AI development continues to accelerate, with innovative uses emerging in industries such as healthcare, finance, and transportation. It is undoubtedly a force to be aware of, and ideally to embrace as an opportunity to reshape business operations. This is especially the case for small businesses that may have the flexibility to easily implement changes. It would be wise to hop on the AI bandwagon sooner rather than later.

Save time and resources by making AI do the repetitive tasks for your small business

For small businesses, repetitive, time-consuming tasks can bog down productivity and hinder growth. U.S. Chamber of Commerce contributor, Emily Heaslip, lists a variety of fields where AI can take over, from customer service to content marketing to accounting. “Experts estimate that 86% of accounting tasks could be automated,” Heaslip writes. “Artificial intelligence can make bookkeeping more efficient and more accurate, eliminating data entry errors that can delay the accounts payable process and hold up other financial processes.”

Often small businesses rely on a small team of people for the time-consuming tasks that keep a business running. Implementing automation allows your team to focus more of their energy on building the business and leave more room for creativity and innovation.

Achieve optimal efficiency using AI automation for administrative tasks, social media, and customer service

McKinsey researchers conducted extensive studies on the effectiveness of AI in the workplace in 2023. They found that current generative AI can save 60%-70% of an employee’s time by automating work activities. They also found that “generative AI has more impact on knowledge work associated with occupations that have higher wages and educational requirements than on other types of work.” This means managers across all industries could greatly benefit from incorporating AI into their tool belt.

Some activities that AI can help automate are:

  • Customer service: Chatbots are the 24/7 customer service representatives that can handle most routine issues, like directing customers to product information, answering general questions, and even help in processing orders.
  • Email organization: Rather than spending hours categorizing and prioritizing emails, let AI detect and filter out spam, allowing you to see only what’s relevant.
  • Inventory management: AI can look at historical sales data and help analyze market trends, seasonality, and predictions. Vehicle maintenance can be predicted using AI tools paired with GPS tracking solutions to help save time and money. 
  • Social media: AI content creation has come a long way, with many platforms able to generate captions, images, and posting schedules, with minimal effort. 
  • Personalization: Tailored marketing is an essential business practice these days. AI can analyze each consumer’s behavior and deliver personalized recommendations and marketing messages, condensing hours of tedious work into a matter of seconds.

Reporting and analysis: AI tools can retrieve information and create C-level reports in the span of a few minutes. By pairing it with WEXOnline, the digital dashboard for all fleet administrative duties, fleet managers can easily showcase important data, like spending metrics and vehicle analytics.

Simplify fleet management using the AI tools that come with a fleet card

Using any combination of AI tools can help save valuable time and effort, leaving more freedom to innovate, build stronger customer relationships, and ultimately, focus on the most important aspects of your business. While AI won’t completely replace human input, it is certainly a tool that can help the journey to success. But for those that are not ready to dive into the world of AI, WEX fuel cards for small businesses can help simplify management through automated expense tracking and WEX savings that are sure to empower you and your employees.

WEX is a leading, global fintech solutions provider, simplifying payments and back-end business processes in the fleet management, benefits management, and corporate payments areas. To learn more, please visit the company’s About WEX page.

Apply for a fleet card today!

CO by the US Chamber of Commerce
McKinsey Digital

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