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.

Staffing Levels

There are three questions you need to ask about staffing levels:

  • How many staff do I need on at what times?
  • How many staff do I need to meet the workload?
  • What is my current capacity?


How many staff do I need on at what times?

This is all about assessing your workload. Once you have your workload you can convert it into man hours. If you have a flat workload, you just need to know how many staff you need at one time. If you have a time independent workload, you just need the overall yearly workload. If you have a variable workload, you need to make an assessment of the workload for every hour of every day. E.g. if you have a factory and you want a production line with five stations to always be filled then you need five staff on at all times. You then convert this into man hours, so five people mean five man hours. You then take the number of hours you want it to be operational (365 * 24 = 8,760) and multiply it by the man hours per hour giving a workload of 43,800 man hours per year.

You can either attend our workload training course or have us assess your workload as part of our bespoke consultancy.

How many staff do you need?

When setting up any shift pattern this is the second question you need to ask, after "What is the workload?" If you are understaffed then your staff will be stressed with the high workload, the work may not be done, your customers can become disgruntled due to lack of service and you will end up with a high overtime bill. If you are overstaffed, you are inefficient, your staff will be fatigued due to being under-worked, and your operation will be limiting your profits.

 We use your workload requirements, contractual details, skills make up and absence statistics to tell you exactly how many staff you need. Our calculation as well as detailed worked examples are included in our book, How to Manage Your Shift Pattern or our ebook:Calculating How Many Staff Do You NeedWe also do this calculation as part of your Business Health Check package, and our bespoke consultancy.

Knowing how many staff you need is vital, it will allow you to make better decisions and to justify them;

  • How much overtime will be required?
  • Can the capacity be increased?
  • Will the current capacity allow for new work?
  • Are the staff under or over worked?
  • Can project work and training be fitted into the schedule?
  • Does the workforce need to be increased or reduced?

What is my current Capacity?

Most operations are not green-fields sites, so we have to work with what we have. Knowing how many staff you need is all well and good, but if the operation can't afford that staffing level or you don't want to loose key skills just because of a current lull in the workload, then you need to know what your current capacity is. Your capacity is based on how much can you produce given a set amount of people, equipment and infrastructure. Whilst working out your capacity with a given amount of equipment and infrastructure is easy. The people part is far more complicated. Predicting the amount of production a group of people will produce is difficult because of holidays, absences, and rules governing the operation. We take all of these factors into consideration in order to estimate your current capacity, give advice on how you could increase this capacity if required, make the operation more efficient, make the most of your budget and improve your performance by prioritising workload.

It is not just manufacturing operations which need to know their capacity, service operations need to know too and due to the complicated nature of the people management, most use trial and error as opposed to the detailed calculation. Trial and error is a perfectly valid method however the errors are very expensive. If you err on being overstaffed, it is inefficient. If you err on being understaffed it could lead to the loss of customers and lower profits because the work is not completed. We can take any operation, do an assessment of the workload or predict your future workload. Then calculate how many staff you need, what your current capacity is, what the maximum capacity would be given any number of staff and advise you on how to maximise your efficiency.

Capacity estimation is a standard part of our Business Health Check, we can also do these calculations as part of our bespoke consultancy. If you would like to dicuss this topic with us please call or email to find out how we can help you.