Labour and schedule forecasting is an important part of the service industry, and specifically workforce management. How many people does a task need, how many people are required to serve customers and at what time and more, are decisions that labour and schedule forecasting helps with. Additionally, it also helps in making managing labour cost efficient.
For years, organizations have been struggling with how to manage their human resources to ensure that the division is cost-effective while also ensuring that the staff is satisfied. Here are some things that need to be done to forecast labour and schedule for them, efficiently.
- Estimate: Make sure that you have details on the kind of resources that you will require at different times in the day. A headcount of the resources helps forecast how effectively you can manage them.
- Organize: With the information you have forecasting the data for a particular location or across locations becomes easier. The nature of service is also an important aspect of the forecast. Also, finding out the customer demand also helps you plan better. Keeping track of the resources available and needs of customers help make better decisions and cut costs and increases customer satisfaction. In the case of IT, you can organize how many people you need to put in a project as opposed to assigning them to a new feature development.
- Forecast: Once all the information is collected and estimated, it will then be easier to forecast. For instance, if the organization is a store, you can decide how many people are required at a particular period of time, what the peak hours are and how to increase the staff based on the timing or day. You will need to develop a work schedule based on the employees’ skills; not excluding their desires and requests and then decide who will do what work at what time. Forecasting helps to make informed decisions about a bunch of things like scheduling of production, people and transportation. It also provides a guide to long-term strategic planning.
- Optimize: Once the forecast is done, it is important to optimize and shift the resources around, based on the needs, to make management more effective. Make changes to the algorithms to control costs, and reassign schedules based on how well things worked. You will need to change the work arrangement, as required, based on actual demand. You can then optimize schedules for your staff members. Reuse the understanding and implement them across locations, wherever applicable.
Overall forecasting is an important aspect of the organization to improve ease of business. This needs to be done for every business and must be done constantly and dynamically. However, this is a hard process and requires some planning and tedious work. There are many tools that can help you forecast, schedule, and adapt easily. They also help you manage your services when you have issues like under staffing. Systems can automatically reassign labour to suit your needs. With the help of these tools and your own instinct managing your labour can both be efficient and cost effective, making for happy staff and happy customers.