Why spend money on IT for shift planning?

Article written by Thomas Aagaard,
Head of Business Development at PDC.

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

 

Until the turn of the millennium, a “shift plan” was something you got when you acquired a payroll system. The purpose of a payroll system does not need a long explanation – it is the payment of correct salaries to the employees. In the “old days” salary payment was considered a difficult discipline. With today’s technology, it is no longer associated with great complexity but can be extensive in large organizations. On the other hand, the complexity of “shift planning” has increased dramatically.

 

Over the past 10 years, IT for shift planning has become a central part of the modern company’s tools for delivering scheduled production on time. It requires the company to have the right number of human resources, with the right qualifications, at the right time. A number of basic features must be available in the advanced shift planning IT, e.g. (i) it must be easy to create a plan, (ii) working time rules and laws are complied with and (iii) the budget is complied with. These are expected requirements today.

In the new generation of shift planning two aspects are particularly in demand – (i) communication between employees and (ii) generation of business-critical data for decision support and optimization.

The shift planning program is one of the few systems that includes and involves most employees in a company. Therefore, it is obvious to use the program for communication as well. Messages with important work content can be sent simultaneously to all relevant employees or teams. Likewise, communication can be conveyed from employees to both colleagues and managers. There are several different channels that cover the needs for both formal and informal communication – and they all eliminate the need for dissemination through public channels such as Facebook.

Happy and satisfied employees increase productivity. Therefore, we experience a growing desire to involve employees in the planning process so that they have influence, insight and trust. It can i.e. happen in the form of being able to register one’s own working hours and better understand the paycheck. Communication with employees creates transparency in decisions and has the advantage that a lot of questions and time are saved. Employees can already, once they have registered their shift, see how it will affect the salary in the form of hours and allowances.

“Data is the new gold”. Think of Google, Facebook, and other social media, which retrieve data on anything and everyone to compile statistics and evaluate our user behavior. All employees appear in the shift planning system with their shifts, illness, vacation, what tasks they have performed, how long it has taken, and much more. This data can also be collected, analyzed cross-sectionally and presented in clear graphs. In this way, data is transformed into important knowledge on many levels in your company.

This means that in addition to the actual planning function and the ability to record working hours (and complete salary data), the shift planning system plays a significant role in saying something about the “temperature” of the company. Ordinary statistics such as sick days and other absences, overviews of earned time off and overtime help to give an impression of the status of the employees. In addition, it is possible to look at how many changes that occur after a plan has been put into operation. Are there patterns in which shift changes take place? What is the relationship between what we produce and the amount of labor? Are we able to measure the effect of the various changes/steps towards economy and efficiency? Are there correlations that need to be addressed?

The companies that have discovered the possibilities of modern roster systems get a great insight into the quality of their work planning. A proper roster system is a significant competitive factor in most industries.

PDC are shift planning specialists. Contact us if you have questions or want to know more.

Thomas Aagard,
Head of Business Development

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