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Planning for workforce scheduling in dynamic environments

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According to Andrew Carwardine, Managing Director at Dynama the only real constant is change, but it needn’t prevent effective management of a complex, multi-skilled global workforce

The old adage “change is the only constant” still holds true especially in complex, resource intensive industries.  Those responsible for scheduling large, disparate workforces face the constant challenge of how to ensure resources are optimised as demand changes. In addition, there are questions of how to cope with changing regulation without impacting performance and how to adapt resources to meet changing requirements in ways that enhance efficiency and profitability.

Fortunately, it’s easier than you might think.  With the right approach and a little forward planning, it is possible to create a flexible workforce management (WFM) environment that works now and in the future.  The latest automated WFM solutions, such as Dynama OneView, are designed to help organisations tackle both external changes (such as regulation) as well as those much closer to home; such as a fluctuating talent pool and staff numbers within a geographically dispersed workforce operating in different time zones.

Here are three features to look for in technology when scheduling in dynamic environments:

1) The ability to support fast, proactive and informed decision-making is a feature with 3 broad sub components:

• Powerful analytics – typically scheduling systems are unable to quickly react to new opportunities, changing demand and circumstances.  However the latest advanced resource optimisation and scheduling solutions can handle the complexities of a dynamic environment by providing a sophisticated set of analytics that facilitate swift and informed decision-making

• One centralised, fully automated platform – accelerate the decision-making process further by deploying a single, automated platform that aggregates all existing and new information in one place including; staff and equipment assignment and deployment, staff qualifications and competencies, travel plans and documentation, regulatory compliance, timeline management and logistical support.

The availability of timely, accurate information removes duplicated effort and reduces administrative time, whilst automation streamlines processes from resource deployment through to associated logistics, to the impact on payroll and full compliance management.

What is more, having relevant and critical information all in one place contributes strategically to the business.  It encourages pro-activity by enabling organisations to evaluate the impact of different resource scenarios before they are introduced.  This leads to effective decisions that drive demonstrable margin and service improvements

• Integration – the latest technology brings together data from various sources and links seamlessly with other critical business systems such as strategic HR and project management solutions.  This provides an enterprise-wide view of staff and resources versus changing demands, and enables organisations to make the right decision, first time around, to maximise business performance. Any integration application can drive rationalisation and cost saving, but don’t underestimate the cultural resistance to replacement. Dynama OneView is built to utilise existing databases and applications to minimise cultural resistance from the outset, while ultimately offering a cost effective replacement where appropriate

2)  A way to look into the future – today’s sophisticated technology supports personnel, training and compliance management as well as core scheduling activities.  In particular, advanced modelling functionally allows organisations to compare the impact of differently costed options for workforce management and deployment.  Managers gain a comprehensive understanding and analysis of existing capabilities and can forecast future staffing and physical resource demands.  This maximises time, people and profits and ultimately boosts overall business performance.

3) Easy compliance management – coping with regulatory changes is a major and costly management challenge, made more difficult by regulatory bodies, seeking to refine or enhance standards and to improve safety and working practices.  The latest advancements in resource optimisation cater for ongoing change in three important ways:

  • Configuration – they are highly configurable and easily customised to accommodate a variety of rules that can be quickly adapted when change arises
  • Analytics – they can be used to analyse the potential of future changes driven by compliance or business need
  • Audit – they provide a valuable audit trail; the hard evidence necessary to demonstrate compliance, satisfy compliance requirements and ensure personnel safety and competences.

A well thought-out strategy combined with the latest technology will transform your resource optimisation activities.  Keeping ahead of the game will help make the most efficient use of people, talent and precious resources while unlocking new business performance improvement opportunities, no matter how dynamic the environment.

To find out more, download Dynama’s latest White Paper entitled “Scheduling in Dynamic Environments” here.