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
    1. 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.
    2. The advantage of this type of scheduling is that you are able to specify the worker's shift calendar using specific capacity intervals and allows you to indicate any offline periods they might have due to sick days or vacation days. 
    3. In addition, this type of scheduling allows you to specify the individual worker's capabilities and skill level. 
    4. Product rules can be used to define varying production rates depending on the personnel completing each operation. Product rules will override the standard values set in the job operation to accommodate companies with varying production rates based on worker capabilities. For example, if a new employee is hired and is still in the training phase, their performance may be slower than their more experienced counterparts. Product rules can accommodate those variations by changing the cycle time of the resource (worker) based on the product being produced. 
  2. Resource = Generic Worker
    1. This method allows you to define labor resources using more generic names such as "Operator 1".
    2. In this case, it does not matter who performs the operation, as long as the worker has the required capabilities.
    3. This is a good option for companies that have a high employee turnover rate or who want more flexibility in scheduling employees.
  3. Resource = "Pool" of People
    1. This method allows you to define a resource that represents several workers, such as an assembly area.
    2. The resource may contain many workers and is ideal in situations where many people in one area are working on a job together. 
    3. The more people are defined in the 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. 

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 poor 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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