For most companies, the employees are the most important – and most costly – resource they have. Therefore, it is important to optimise the scheduling of the employees’ working time, so that it is consistent with the tasks that have to be performed at all times. Otherwise, it can be very expensive for the company!
Ensuring that the right employees are present when they are needed can be a complicated and time-consuming task – especially in companies with many hourly-paid employees with flexible working hours and a large number of temporary workers. Often, there are numerous elements to take into account when it comes to employee scheduling:
- Employees’ working time and planned holidays and absence
- Working time regulations, collective and local agreements
- Employees’ qualifications
- Staffing requirements in relation to the tasks to be performed
- Employee requests for changes to working hours and/or holidays
- Budgeted hours
If you succeed in taking everything to a higher level, you can maximise productivity and keep costs within the company’s budgetary limits. On the other hand, overstaffing or unnecessary overtime will get the costs off the track.
And once the plan is finalised, changes can occur. This could be, for example, changes in demand which can either increase or reduce the need for employees, or sudden absence due to illness, meetings and the like. Changes that the company needs to respond to – and preferably as soon as possible.
Effective employee scheduling is a must
The dynamics of many companies’ day-to-day life create a demand for effective employee scheduling across the organisation. The typical challenges are:
- A person-dependent manual process creates the need for simple and flexible scheduling to optimise resources
- A central planning function without integrated system support creates inefficiency and unwanted dependencies
- A large number of hourly-paid and casual employees increases the need for flexibility and the ability to move employees around
- Automated production lines require constant staffing – and, often, specific sets of employee skills
- Having employees working outside premises with the company’s clients means that the work plan must be able to reach the individual employee
- Information on deviations from the plan often comes late, which makes it difficult to react in time
With a digital solution for employee scheduling, the company can create the optimal plan with fewer resources. It also provides an excellent starting point for making adjustments for any unexpected events once the plan is in place.
Beckett’s Foods is a leading supplier of bacon to the foodservice & retail industries in the UK, and throughout Europe. As a family business with international backing, they’re dedicated to providing bacon at its best.
The ProMark scheduling tools for staff administration helps with managing staff and shift patterns throughout the business, giving a lot of flexibility to the planning department for the multiple production runs within the company, says Tamar Butkhuzi, Human Resources Advisor.
Move planning to the shop floor
With ProMark, the company gets a modern tool for transferring employee scheduling all the way to the individual team manager – close to the individual employee. This provides a better overview and opportunities for streamlining planning.
ProMark offers two scheduling tools that can be used together:
- Staff rostering based on rotations and employee work hours
- Shift scheduling based on demands for manpower (and qualifications, if relevant) and subsequently assigning the shifts to the relevant employees
Staff rostering is based on the employees’ normal working hours/rotations. With a comprehensive overview of staffing, the planner can easily adapt each employee’s clock-in and clock-out times and swap shifts between employees before the roster is published. This makes it easy to adapt the normal work schedule.
Hartmann is one of the world’s leading producers of moulded cardboard packaging, and operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Their 300 production employees are split between 5 shift teams, all of whom work in 3 daily shifts.
For a production company like ours, it is important to always be able to adapt our production to the demand. That requires a flexible IT solution which is what we have with ProMark and the mobile solution, says Jan Andreasen, IT officer with responsibility for ProMark.
With shift scheduling, on the other hand, the schedule is built by defining the demands as blocks of shifts to be covered by employees in order to create the full schedule. Once the shifts have been planned, they are assigned to the relevant employees – and the solution keeps track of any requirements in relation to employees’ qualifications. If the shifts are not manned during the planning process, or if shifts become vacant due to illness or other absence, they may be offered to relevant employees or to casual workers.
The option also offers self-service for the employees. They have easy access to view any available shifts they can take over and they can swap or sell their shifts. Employees can also indicate wishes for holiday and time off, which is reflected in the shift scheduling tool when the plan is being prepared.
Common for the options are:
- It is possible to plan multiple shifts on the same day for employees – both for the same function or for different roles which may have a different remuneration
- The impact of the plan in terms of time is visible along the way. This allows the planner to verify that it is within the limits before the plan is released
- All plans are stored and validated centrally by ProMark, thereby ensuring compliance with working time regulations
- When the plan is ready, it can be accessed by employees on platforms such as portal and mobile phones. Thus, employees always have an overview of their working hours. And, if the plan is changed, the affected employees can be notified. The mobile phone becomes an important tool for communicating with employees
Ahlsell is the leading Nordic distributor of installation products, tools and machinery. Since 2019, Ahlsell has had its own temporary workers pool instead of using an external agency. In early 2020, the mobile app and self-service functions were put into operation.
The need for extra shifts is created from forecasts on the number of orders to be picked and employee absence that has already been entered into ProMark. All available shifts are published in the app and temporary workers can bid for them on a first-come, first-served basis based on the rights they have been allocated.
The app simplifies and streamlines the entire management of the temporary workers pool. Ahlsell saves time and money by having a flexible pool of temporary workers where the management of these employees in ProMark supports the rules applicable to casual workers. And, as an employer, we get a modern image by using cutting-edge tools for our employees, says Ingela Tholin Carlos, production planner.
Win-win for all parties
Dynamic workforce scheduling not only helps to increase the company’s productivity and keep costs within budgetary limits so that the company can stay profitable and competitive. It also increases flexibility and the ability to respond quickly to changes – both for the company and the employees.
A win-win situation for all parties!