Contact Details

If you require further information on any of our services please do not hesitate to contact us by telephone or e-mail. All enquiries are extremely welcome.

T: 01636 816 466

The Old Vicarage
Station Road, Rolleston
NG23 5SE                              

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.

How to Solve Your Problems

There are five phases to solving any problem.

  1. Definition of problem
  2. Construction of model
  3. Validation of model
  4. Solution of model
  5. Implementation of solution


Fortunately when it comes to staffing we have already come across most problems and have a vast array of models and solutions on hand to help you solve yours.

Absence Example

So if you are having problems with absence; absence rate 2.5% (average), 30 staff on shift, 12 hour shifts. On a 24/7 operation there would be 730 shifts per year.

Now on average that is less than one person absent (0.75) per shift so why when you have allowed for one person to be absence by staffing up to 31 per shift, are your staffing levels still not right?

Firstly averages are deceiving, after all the average human has less than two legs! You need to understand the distribution far more than the average. So we have created a model to estimate the distribution. A model that has been validated against real historical data. So if there is always one extra person on shift how many times per year would you expect to have the correct staffing level? The answer is only 36% of the time or on 263 shifts out of the 730 shifts you would expect to have the correct staffing. This means that on 467 shifts of the 730 shifts per year you will have either too many or too few staff available.

Why is the answer so low? Well on 333 of those shifts no one was absent and on 134 shifts more than one person was absent. So more often than not the operation is incorrectly staffed. So it is no wonder that managers are frowned on by both senior management of over spending on absence and yet not getting it right and by shift workers for not having the cover there when they need it almost every other day.

So what are the solutions? You have one cover person on each shift. Firstly you need to find something for them to do when they are not needed. Secondly, consider what would happen if they could cover both the day and the night shift. Then you would have two people on cover per day. Well that wouldn’t do you any good, because statically you could have up to six people off on any day. A better solution that would come to the same cost; would be to have one person on absence cover every day to cover both shifts. Then have up to four people every day on-call. Even paying an on-call premium of one hour if not used would be the same cost as the two people covering both shifts. Then statically you would only be short one day a year by only one person, not 134 shifts as before.

To help you better understand how your absence rate will affect your shifts, we at C-Desk Technology have written an e-book “Understanding Your Absence Rate” for all managers. This e-book has look-up tables which convert Absence Rate into the number you would expect to be off shift. The look-up tables range from 0.5-10% Absence Rates for up to 50 people on shift. The tables cover 100 shifts per year (probability), 260 shifts per year (office hours), 365 shifts per year (each day), 730 shifts per year (12-hour shifts for 24/7 operations) and 1095 shifts per year (8-hour shifts for 24/7 operations). This can be scaled using the 100 shifts per year tables to make it usable for any combination of shifts.

Absence is a good example of how we can help you. We can help you provide a better service/operation at the same or cheaper cost. We can assess your workloads, review your holidays and absence procedures. Review your shift patterns and solve your problems. C-Desk Technology has helped hundreds of business around the world become more efficient and productive. To find out how we can help you, please email or phone us with your staffing problems.