Shift scheduling with artificial intelligence in ProMark

Shift scheduling can be a complex and time-consuming task but now there is even more help to get. With the use of artificial intelligence (AI), a draft of the optimal roster plan that meets both company and employee needs can be served to you.

Most people who work with shift scheduling know that it can be a complex task to make a plan for the employees’ working hours that adds up. And the more employees and shifts the company must plan, the more options there are.

The goal is to make a plan that makes the best possible use of each employee’s total working hours and ensures that there are neither too few nor too many employees at work. Too many employees will result in unnecessary labour costs whereas too few employees can affect the production and sales negatively – and possibly require overtime of the employees who are present.

To make the optimal plan, the company must take the following into account:

  • Need for manpower: What is the actual need for manpower at specific times during the day or period in relation to the tasks to be solved and which qualifications are needed
  • Working time regulations: It is important to comply with current working time rules, collective and local agreements, including the 11-hour rule and the total number of worked hours per week. Violation of these regulations may result in fines
  • Employee wishes for working time: E.g. leave early, arrive late as well as wishes for holiday leave and days off

Our employee scheduling tools help companies make the optimal plan with less administrative work. They contribute to ensuring that the right employees are present according to company demands – and keep track of working time rules and all the other elements that affect the planning. Now we’re taking the next step by including artificial intelligence in the planning process.

Let ProMark come up with the best draft for the plan

Artificial intelligence is entering more and more industries, products and services. The AI technology enables IT systems to perform tasks that usually require human intelligence – only faster and better.

We have initiated a collaboration with the consulting company Datapult on development and utilisation of AI to optimise the shift scheduling even further.

By using artificial intelligence, the planner will be presented with a draft of the optimal plan that takes forecast, working time regulations and employee qualifications and wishes into account. This saves the planner the work of allocating employees to the shifts – and makes it faster and simpler to make the best plan and man in accordance with the needs.

How AI for ProMark works

With AI for ProMark, the planner starts out with a completely blank plan and then defines the specific demands (shifts) that must be covered by the employees during the period.

In just few minutes, ProMark will run a very large number of simulations and present a draft for the best plan based on the following parameters:

  • Employees
  • Qualifications/competences
  • Teams/department/group
  • Demands, split in shifts
  • Forecast
  • Working time regulations for each employee (employee category) as well as ability to accommodate ’unwritten rules’ such as e.g. 5 work days in a row must always trigger 2 days off and if you work late on Friday, you should not show up early on Monday
  • Absence (planned holiday leave/time off)
  • Availability (employee wishes for working time indicated via the portal or on the mobile)
  • Historical data from previous periods in the form of actual clock-in and clock-out registrations in ProMark revealing information about deviations from what was originally planned

ProMark will automatically find the best balance between being able to fulfil as many employee wishes as possible and at the same time meeting the demand for staff based on planned production/forecast or budget. This makes it easy for the planner to determine which requests can be approved and which must be declined.

The suggested plan can then be accepted and distributed to the employees.

This also applies if/when the plan subsequently needs to be adjusted due to sickness absence or unforeseen peak loads. In this situation, it can also be difficult to find the best adjustment of the original plan, but ProMark will quickly come up with a suggestion for a new plan.

AI-optimised scheduling increases efficiency

AI in shift scheduling has great potential to streamline the planning task further and ensure even better use of the workforce. This will allow the company to:

  • Save administrative time for the planner that can be used on other value-creating tasks
  • Reduce over- and understaffing, overtime payment while ensuring that the right qualifications are present in relation to the tasks to be solved
  • Avoid violation of working time rules and any fines as a result
  • Quickly find the most optimal adjustment of a plan in case of unexpected changes such as sickness absence
  • Give the employees more influence on when they want to work and accommodate as many of their wishes as possible

The perfect scenario for most companies is to have shift plans that are always in perfect balance – and that requires good data. AI is the technique that makes it possible to utilise and analyse data in real time so the company can focus on creating results.

Ready to join the development journey?

AI is a focus area that we want to develop much further – both in relation to shift scheduling and staff rostering but also when it comes to automating the planning of employees for specific tasks.

If you want to be part of an active collaboration with us on further development of AI functionality, please contact us.