Labor Scheduling

Key Concepts

One of the largest costs within production comes from the labor required to perform the scheduled operations. There are many factors that come into play when scheduling operations on labor resources such as the worker's availability, capability, experience, and cost. Fortunately, PlanetTogether provides schedulers with tools to schedule operations on labor resources efficiently.

Monitoring Labor Capabilities

PlanetTogether allows managers to track employee performance on particular production lines, while making certain products, and even during specific shifts. This allows schedulers to determine when and where to schedule workers to improve the efficiency of the schedule and increase production numbers.

The Resource Performance monitor creates a performance report based on the expected hours and quantities produced compared to the actual hours and quantities. This monitor can be accessed from the Gantt toolbar under the "Reports" drop-down menu.

Labor Scheduling

There are three ways to schedule labor resources in PlanetTogether:

1. Resource = Specific Person

This method allows you to define specific Labor Resources by name. This type of labor scheduling is helpful if you have skilled workers who perform specific capabilities.

Advantages:

  • You can specify the worker's shift calendar using specific capacity intervals. This allows you to indicate any offline periods they might have due to sick days or vacation days.
  • You can also specify the individual worker's capabilities and skill level. There are 2 ways to schedule skilled labor:
    1. Product Rules: Product Rules can be used to define varying production rates depending on the person completing each operation. These rules override the standard values set in the Job Operation to accommodate companies that have varying production rates based on worker capabilities. 
      1. For example, a new employee that is still in the training phase will usually have slower performance than a more experienced co-worker. Product rules can accommodate those variations by changing the cycle time of the resource (worker) based on the product being produced. The size of the activity block will be automatically adjusted, depending on the worker it is assigned to. 
    2. Allowed Helper: For every Primary Resource (machine), you can specify which Helper Resource (labor) is allowed to work on those specific machines. A person can be an allowed Helper on multiple resources and Primary Resources (machines) can have multiple Allowed Helpers. This is useful to model facilities where specific skill sets are required to operate certain machines. 
      1. For example, Machine A requires a specific skill set so that only Jane can perform work on it, but Machine B does not. Therefore, Jane can work on both Machine A and B, but the other workers are only able to work on Machine B.

2. Resource = Generic Worker 

This method allows you to define Labor Resources using more generic names such as "Operator 1".

  • In this case, it does not matter who performs the operation, as long as the worker has the required capabilities defined for the resource.
  • This is a good option for companies that have a high employee turnover rate or who want more flexibility in scheduling employees.

3. Resource = Labor Pool

This method allows you to define a resource that represents several workers, such as an assembly area. There are two ways to model this:

  1. The first way is used when there are multiple workers in one area working on a job together. The more people defined in a pool, the faster the operation will run. If a worker is unavailable for a shift, the number of people can be adjusted from the Capacity Interval dialog by reducing the "Nbr Of People" field by 1. This will automatically adjust the length of the activity blocks scheduled on the resource pool to accommodate the reduced number of workers available to work on the jobs.
  2. Another way to model this is when you have multiple people working in the same area that are each working on different jobs. For example, if 3 people are present, then 3 different jobs can schedule on the resource simultaneously. If one person calls in sick, then only 2 jobs are able to schedule.
    1. This can be done by right-clicking on a resource in the Gantt and changing the capacity type to "Multitasking" in the capacity tab. When you optimize, operations will appear stacked on top of each other within the same resource in the Gantt. 

Changing the Number of People Assigned to a Resource: 

You can adjust the number of people assigned to a task or resource. This is helpful if you have unexpected employee absences as changing the number of people assigned will automatically regenerate the schedule to take those changes into account. 

The number of people can also be changed to model a labor pool. The capacity interval dialog can be accessed by right-clicking on a capacity interval from the Gantt view and selecting "open occurrence". Alternatively, capacity intervals can be managed in Settings | Scenario Data | Capacity / Capacity (Recurring). To modify an existing capacity interval, select it and click "Open". Inside the capacity internal dialog, specify the duration of the shift, then define the "Nbr Of People" found within the pool.

When assigning a job to a labor pool resource, you can specify the number of workers it requires. You can choose to use all available workers or only a subset of workers by using "Use Specified Number" under the Status tab of the job dialog. 

Running Multiple Operations on a Resource

You can have multiple simultaneous operations worked on the same resource when using labor pool resources by specifying the capacity type. This can be done by right-clicking on a resource in the Gantt and changing the capacity type to "Multitasking" in the capacity tab. When you optimize, operations will appear stacked on top of each other within the same resource in the Gantt. 

Demand Forecasting

Accurate demand forecasting can also help with the challenges of scheduling employees. You can forecast based on past sales orders to determine what the workload is expected to be. If you predict increases in the demand, you may want to schedule more employees to keep up with the demand. Additionally, you may want to reduce the number of staff for periods where demand is lower to avoid overstaffing. This will further help reduce the costs associated with labor resources.

 

Watch: Modeling Skilled Labor & Labor Pools in PlanetTogether

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