Complexities of managing a large staff from planning point of view

Staff planning problems exist in almost all service sectors. With increasing competition and rising economic pressure, organizations want to make best possible use of their staff. However, this is a wish hard to realize. Managing staff successfully involves numerous considerations – task requirements, employee preferences, labor rules, contractual agreements and social obligations that make creating cost-effective and staff-friendly plans far from trivial.

  • Osman Ali
  • 6 oktober 2014

Societies rely on collaborative efforts of people being steered for common goals to meet its needs, both in public and private sectors. For that, there are organizations specializing in different areas, such as public security, healthcare and transportation, which employ staff and manage them to provide services. In such organizations, employees are the key resources whose efficiency determines profitability. Having the right number of staff, at the right time, for the right task is hence crucial for these organizations. Excess staff leads to underutilization that is expansive, whereas lack of staff decreases service levels that unfavourably impacts the organizations. Effective planning of staff is therefore the determinant of effective management of the organizations.

Typically, staff planning is an intensive activity that is performed by dedicated planners. Staff is planned against a certain demand, taking into account numerous business rules and regulations. The planners, on the one hand, aim on having a close match between the demanded staff and planned staff, on the other hand, they are faced with challenges to ensure that employees’ contractual agreements are respected and that they give a fair consideration to their specific requests and preferences. Consequently, staff planning, which usually involves hundreds of employees, becomes no less than a complex planning puzzle to be solved.

Most of the time, the planning is time critical; the plan has to be produced as quickly as possible and get approved by several authorizes, including the labor union, before it can be rolled out. Time pressure coupled with the complexity of the planning, often forces planners to consider a trade-off between the cost-effectiveness and staff-friendliness of the plans. Since, a sacrifice on the latter is rarely acceptable, planner concentrate all their energies on satisfying the rules and preferences of employees, while undermining cost effectiveness of the plans.

However, the current economic situation and rising competition is forcing organization to change the way they operate. Having an underutilized staff or excess capacity is no longer an option. Organizations are investing time and money to develop systems and procedures to support effective decision making for planning. In the quest to generate effective plans, the Supply Chain Optimization team (SCO) at Ordina has assisted several of its client organizations to successfully remove the tradeoff between cost-effective and staff-friendly planning. The planning systems built by SCO automates the tedious task of analyzing tremendous amount of data to generate plans that minimizes the over and under capacity, while giving a fair consideration to employee preferences and requests. The planning automation and improvements in the quality of plans have led to improved profit margins for our clients. To know more about how SCO provided innovative solutions for complex staff planning problems in the service sector, feel free to contact us.

Over de auteur:

Osman Ali

Bedrijven die op grote schaal mensen en middelen inplannen, moeten bij Osman zijn. Hij is gespecialiseerd in het oplossen van planning-problemen, bijvoorbeeld in de logistieke en medische sector.