AI Tackles Workforce Shortage:
Ai Jia Nongzuo’s Renovation for the Super-Aged Future
June 12, 2023
“Ai Jia Nongzuo (愛家農作)”, a well-known bakery in the eastern district of Hsinchu, has been a top choice for local residents to purchase bread for over 20 years. In order to provide a better shopping environment, Ai Jia Nongzuo underwent a store renovation in February 2023. Additionally, being keenly aware of the trends of declining birth rates and labor shortage, Ai Jia Nongzuo also decided to completely revamp its operations by introducing Viscovery’s AI-powered image recognition system for the checkout process, preparing for the present and near future.
The ongoing labor shortage crisis
Although the most severe period of the COVID-19 pandemic has passed in 2023, talent in the “domestic service industry” in Taiwan did not return to work. Coupled with an aging population and the trend of declining birth rates, “labor shortage” poses a long-term challenge for the retail service industry.
According to statistics from the National Development Council, in 2018, 14.6% of Taiwan’s total population consisted of people aged 65 and above. This means that out of every 7 people, 1 is a senior citizen, meeting the World Health Organization’s definition of an “aging society.” Furthermore, the National Development Council estimates that by 2025, approximately 20.8% of Taiwan’s total population will be composed of elderly individuals. This means that out of every 5 people, 1 will be an elderly person, marking the transition into a “super-aged society.” 1
AI as a crucial solution to address the labor shortage
With the store’s renovation, Ai Jia Nongzuo’s recruitment strategy has also undergone a complete overhaul. Fearless of the super-aging era, they encourage middle-aged and older colleagues to join the workforce while equipping them with the best tool for the job: AI.
Ai Jia Nongzuo believes that AI plays a supportive role in assisting humans to improve work efficiency and expand their capabilities, like how computers replaced paper documents and ATMs replaced over-the-counter withdrawals. In terms of the checkout process, Ai Jia Nongzuo deployed Viscovery’s AI image recognition system, replacing the “tedious and monotonous checkout operations,” such as manually entering or selecting items on the POS machine and the hassle of memorizing bread items. This achieves human-machine collaboration, automates the checkout process, and is suitable for all age groups, particularly for older individuals who have workplace experience but may struggle with a steep learning curve.
Mr. Peng, the owner of Ai Jia Nongzuo, shared, “It’s not just the elderly; some young people are also not familiar with traditional POS machines, and it takes them time to become proficient. Remembering all the bread and cookies in the store is not an easy task either. Implementing AI saves us a lot of new employee training time, allowing new colleagues to quickly and accurately handle checkout tasks in the shortest time possible. This is beneficial for both the employees and myself.”
Ai Jia Nongzuo takes innovative actions in response to the labor shortage in the domestic service industry, not only to address the current challenges but also to prepare for the rapidly aging social structure in the future. With continuous advancements and optimization of AI, it is believed that businesses can find a balance between manpower, technology, and operations, giving older adults the opportunity to participate in the workforce and continue contributing their wisdom and energy to the society.
1 National Development Council (2022). 人口推估：高齡化時程。URL: https://www.ndc.gov.tw/Content_List.aspx?n=D527207EEEF59B9B.