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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
E: alec@oranalysts.com

The Old Vicarage
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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.

angelamoore@visualrota.co.uk

Staffing for the Workload

Staffing for the workload may sound obvious but it is very difficult to get right.

If the workload is flat, that is it doesn’t change from hour to hour, then you can have flat staffing.

If the workload changes, you have to decided how to change the staffing levels along with that fluctuation. Do you want that change to happen a) ahead of the increase and decline after the work starts to reduce, or b) after the increase and before it declines.

workload variation v2

The graph shows a fluctuating workload across the day. The Workload is very variable, on Wednesday they have between 12 and 52 jobs per hour. That’s a variation of 40 jobs per hour across the day. The blue area indicates how much work the staff could do if you over staff for the workload i.e. ahead of the increase and behind the decline. So the staff could cover the workload and there would be some spare capacity in the system (blue area). The pale green area indicates how much work the staff could do if you understaffed. Understaffing would mean that your staff were fully utilized at all times. However the yellow area shows the work that would not get done.

You also need to consider if the workload fluctuates, some days could be very quiet while others are very busy. Hence do you staff for a) an average, b) the quiet days or c) the busiest days. Your SLAs (Service Level Agreements) will guide you to some extent. The graph below shows the workload over 20 Sundays. During the day the workload changes but each day is different too. Between 206 and 393 jobs came in on each Sunday. So how do you staff for this workload? Do you staff for 206 jobs and always staff so that your workers are fully utilized? Or do you staff for the average? The average could be the Mean (290.8), the Median (290.5), or the Mode (254). Maybe you choose a percentile (90%=345.6). Perhaps you need to always have someone there because the cost of missing the work is just too great. So do you staff for the maximum 393 jobs or even give yourself some leeway and go for 500 jobs?

Sunday Workload

Once you have decided you need to set up the shifts to match your staffing levels.