Changing to new Shift Patterns
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The British economy fears a recession due to the high interest rates and the high level of the pound against other currencies. Manufacturing for export is especially vulnerable to a downturn in orders, or making a loss on every sale.
At some point, every company has to make plans to match their manpower with their workload if their workload starts to reduce. Gordan Brown would like to see British companies becoming more productive, which I think, means, producing more goods with less staff. Laying off staff is not an easy decision, it requires many man hours of work to rearrange work schedules and new manning levels. Visual Rota can save a lot of time and effort doing just that. It will give you the power to try out various scenarios on the computer, simultaneously, and produce the best solutions.
The data that Visual Rota produces can be exported into a spreadsheet and displayed in graphical format, making it an easy task to distribute, display and influence events. Show the staff the problem as a sloping graph and they soon get the picture. Show them the least painful solution and half the battle is won. Invite opinions and suggestions and input these into Visual Rota. Turn vague ideas into concrete facts.
This problem is split into 2 sections.
1. The correct staffing levels are on duty, however not all the tasks are productive and this becomes a question of effectiveness. This happens when technology changes, products change, or the building layout changes, but the staffing levels are not changed to reflect this. For example, I could send all organisations(hospitals) a type writer produced copy of this webpage on a sheet of paper through the mail. This would keep me employed for a long time and I could become very efficient at my job. To become more effective, I could use a carbon paper and produce 4 copies at a time. And so on , going through technological advances, the duplicator, photo copier, word processor + laser printer, and now the internet. In all of these I could be 100% efficient but not very effective. Similar scenarios happen in organisations(hospitals) all the time, ie.staff schedules are still done using paper and pencil instead of the computer, staffing numbers are still totalled mentally rather than letting the computer do it for you. Similarly some tasks are still performed by qualified highly trained staff which have never been delegated to semi-skilled staff, or assistants who are perfectly capable of doing the task.
It's rather like every bricklayer needing to have to spend 7 years to obtain an architects degree before they could lay one brick on another. No doubt, these bricklayers would build marvellous brick walls with all that training, but the walls would be very expensive and would not do the job any better.
2. The number of staff on each shift consistently exceeds the required staff. The program will tell you the cost of carrying this additional staff and this might well be a cost that you are prepared to pay. There are many occupations which require over manning in order to maximise profits. These situations occur when the service provided is very expensive to the customer, but uses cheap labor. Hair dressing is a typical example, restaurants are another example. These situations have predictable customers who arrive at random intervals and the cost of turning the customer away is far greater than the labor cost wasted in inactivity. This is not the case in most organisations, hospitals and care homes. Work does not arrive as random events, it is pre-planned and scheduled. Patients do not arrive at random, excepting Emergency departments where obviously they do arrive by accident. The workload of hospitals and homes remains constant, more or less, and the staffing requirements should match this.
When the number of staff is consistently excessive, and the cost of keeping the staff is not acceptable, then some staff must leave the schedule they are on. The alternatives are many, such as expansion of services provided, natural wastage, promotion and even dismissal. One alternative is to use annualised hours and natural wastage/promotion. The staff on duty can work reduced numbers of shifts or hours now and extra shifts and hours in the future, rather like a credit card. The staff can borrow leisure time now and repay it in the future. Pay can get a little tricky to deal with where people don't understand the system, but since the alternatives are worse, there is an incentive to learn the system. This is a typical "What if..." scenario which the program makes easy. The steps are as follows, create your existing schedule, eliminate personal names, and use it to create the same schedule for the next year. Look back at previous years for an analysis of staff leaving, promotions, etc. Apply those statistics to your model of the future model and observe how quickly staff are reduced. Note the costs involved and compare the cost with redundancy costs. If they are similar, then let nature take its course. Redundancy fears live on for years after the event and the morale effect on staff effectiveness can devastate the organisation.