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Operational Research

You can always be more efficient

Operational Research is all about using analysis to improve decision making. Dr Angela Moore uses mathematical modeling, statistical analysis, optimisation, sequencing and scheduling techniques to create simple heuristics you can employ to run your operation more efficiently.

Ryanair's Holiday Problem

If you are one of the many passengers affected by Ryanair’s pilot holiday problems, you may be wondering how a big company like Ryanair can have messed up. However, many companies do not have any control over holidays. And the bigger the company is the worse it is. If you think about how holidays are controlled in your own company, would you consider that they made sure that every person took their full holiday entitlement each year?

If everyone isn’t forced to take their holiday in a controlled manner than situations like Ryanair having to cancel lots of fights will happen again and again. That is because the majority of people are disorganized and like to take their holidays at a time that is convenient to them and not to the company.


So, if your company is worried about holidays what can you do about it?

Most managers don’t have a clue how to manage holidays. That is because nobody teaches them about holiday. So they make it up as they go along. Which for the majority is fine, as Ryanair said after 1st November the problem goes away because of the lighter workload.

However, as an efficiency expert, I am horrified at that response. That tells me that they have no holiday management plans in place and they are current over staffing at the wrong times. Which is stupid, they are an airline company. They know what their workload is because (and this is a very big reason) they set the schedule. They say how many planes they are going to fly, when and where months in advance. This means that they can plan their staff according. They have all the data, they can run a more efficient and cost-effective operation so easily and then either make more profit or lower their prices even more.

At the end of the day if you want to reduce your cost significantly, you need to reorganise your staff. It really is that simple. I can go in to a company, assess their workload, then set up a rota that will match the operation. At the same time, I set up holiday management plans, absence plans and training systems. This means that you end up with a low-cost solution that works.

So if you want to give a consistent level of service, have a holiday management plan.

If you want to reduce your costs, have a holiday management plan.

If you want your people to be where, you want them, when you want them, then have a holiday management plan.

It really is that simple. Here is my book: Holiday Management