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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.

angela@oranalysts.com

Blog

Holiday Management

Wednesday, 13 June 2018 14:56

Holidays are very important to everyone. They are not just about time off, they are about time with family and friends, and about having control over one's life. Because holidays are so important, they need to be managed, and managed well.

beach

When we talk about managing holidays, you need to think about continuity of operations, so that the work is not affected by the absence. You also need to think about equality and fairness. So that everyone has an equal chance of taking good quality time off.

When it comes to managing holidays, there are two solutions. The most common is to create a holiday management plan. So first you need to ask yourself how will you cover for holidays? Will you run short, will you bring people in, will you use overtime? Then you can work out how many people you can allow off at any time. Then you will know when you can grant a holiday request, when you can deny a request and most important, when you need to push people to take their holidays. A typical example could be “first come first served with up three people allowed off on any shift”.

The alternative to a holiday management plan, is that you create a holidays included operation. This is where all of the holidays are planned in advance and scheduled for everybody. This results in a planned approach to holidays where everyone is rostered off in turn. The main advantage that everybody gets guaranteed time off. Both employees and managers have to exert zero effort in order to get good quality time off for everyone. A good example of this is teachers who have their holidays in school holidays and they can't take holidays at any other time. This way they take their holidays when they are not needed.

If you would like to know more about how to manage holidays then we have an ebook Holiday Management available from Amazon and another ebook on Holidays Included also available from Amazon. We also have a video about Holiday Management.

Or you can contact us directly and discuss how you would like your operation to run in the future.

We have created holiday management plans for companies around the world. Why not improve your operation and efficiency by seeing if your current operation needs a new holiday management plan?

 

Ryanair's Holiday Problem

Tuesday, 19 September 2017 15:14

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.

holiday

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

 

 

Fundraising via Team Building

Wednesday, 26 July 2017 11:32

 

Are you tired of your company spending thousands on forcing people to make bridges out of straws, fall over each other and sing happy, clappy songs in the name of team building, then why not try something different?

You could do something for your favorite charity instead. Volunteer your group for a day at a local charity. Cleaning up the grounds for example. Gets everyone working together to help the community and they get to do all of those team building skills too. So, you select one to be the team leader, a sub team leader, just like on the Apprentice. Have them work out where they will get tools, see if they can work out what is appropriate clothing for a day of gardening. And all it will cost the company is a day of training.

Garden v1

If you want to do something a little more ambitious then what about a fundraising event. This will cost you a lot more time and money but then they get a lot more experience. You could do something simple like a coffee morning. That is nice and easy, get a venue and marketing team and give them a few hours to organise the event. They get to learn budgeting skills, marketing skills, and you have to do minimal effort. Then you just need to have the cakes and the coffee made on the morning. Send them all off for a baking course the day before or give them a budget for cake buying as see what they come up with. Do they know how to make tea and coffee for 100 people or is there a queue waiting for the kettle to boil? (This is not an exaggeration I have been to events and waited 10 minutes for a cup of coffee since 10 people wanted it and they had to boil the kettle twice! Good job some people settled for cold drinks.)

Or you could be more ambitious. This week I organized a Royal Tea Party for Cancer Research UK. A wonderful charity and last year I joined my local fundraising committee. So if you need help organizing an event I suggest that you contact your local committee of your chosen charity and ask for help and advice on setting up a fundraising event.

So, I decided that my event would be a tea party with a speaker. Having been to lots of charity talks over the years I had a good idea of what is a good speaker. Firstly, think about your audience and pick appropriately, e.g. a motivational speaker in a tracksuit is not appropriate as a speaker for successful bankers and academics. Than you need to think of someone people will pay to see and thirdly you want them to go away happy so they will give more money and come back to your events. So, there was one name that stuck in my head as witty, interesting and would appeal to a large audience. Hence, I gave William French, a Falkland’s veteran, butler to the Royal Family and other celebrities, a call. You can see why he would appeal to large audiences, those interesting in the military, the Royal Family and film stars would want to listen. But the real reason I asked him was that he is a very good speaker with a great story to tell.

william French

So, I had my speaker, now I needed a venue. I went for my local theatre (which is also a charity), a lovely old theatre called the Robin Hood Theatre. A real gem, which helped me loads in organizing the event. Then there was advertising, amazing how much free publicity you can get for interesting charity events, in newspapers and on local radio. Food I organized and got for the Cancer Research committee, (great set of bakers), local WI and a few other contacts. Raffle prizes I begged off everyone.

On the day, the committee stepped in once again to help me in the kitchen and selling raffle tickets, the theatre helped me in the box office and with lighting. Within 4 hours we set up, got everyone into their seats, laughed over William’s life story, stuffed people with cake, delighted half the crowd with prizes and cleaned up. We raised over £1,300 for Cancer Research UK.

Now doesn’t that sound like more fun than your typical team building exercise?

 

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