The unpleasant truth about automatic shift scheduling

Article written by Tue Vestergaard Nielsen,
StaffPlan Consultant at PDC.

Feel free to contact me on tel +45 3636 0000 for a chat about options. Or, write at pdc@pdc.com or visit www.pdc.com for more information.
Business development manager of workforce management solutions

 

All too often, customers experience that “automatic” planning does not meet their expectations. Why is that? Some customers expect “total automation” and some sales people promise “total automation”. It immediately sounds like a nice match. But can it be done? Yes and no.

It depends on what is meant by “automation”. Some sell simple copy/paste rollout of shift plans as automatic scheduling. It is also sufficient in certain types of planning, but there are many companies where the details and complexity of planning far exceed what simple rollout of shift plans can satisfy. When you want to optimize your shift schedule and staff usage based on e.g. employee wishes, qualifications, requirements for staffing, production needs, costs etc. – then it is a completely different matter.
Here, technology can rarely fulfill the ambition of full automation. You can go a long way with automating both trivial and complicated tasks, but you usually must put the last “pieces” with human help and decision-making. High-end solutions, such as PDC Plan, can handle automatic planning in the advanced way, but at a different price and with greater benefits than the simpler solutions.

So, the unpleasant truth about automatic shift planning is that you rarely get more than you pay for. The old saying that “If something sounds too good to be true – it probably is” is also workable when it comes to automatic planning.

Tue Vestergaard Nielsen,
Department Manager

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