Using labour efficiently in service organisations is an important management objective since labour frequently accounts for more than 70 per cent of total operating costs. While most service organisations can use flexible scheduling rules to improve the utilisation of labour, selecting a good or “best” set of work schedules from a large set of alternatives has proved to be a formidable task. A new modelling procedure is described which allows optimal decisions to be made when the desired level of scheduling flexibility results in a very large population of possible schedules. Flexibility in shift scheduling is increased primarily through increasing the number of different shift lengths and allowing flexible placement of breaks. The power of the new modelling approach was used in an experiment described here to assess the relative impact of shift‐length and break‐placement flexibility on labour utilisation. The results indicated that, while either type of flexibility can improve labour utilisation, there was a rather strong synergistic impact from using both simultaneously.
Bechtold, S.E. and Jacobs, L.W. (1991), "Improvement of Labour Utilisation in Shift Scheduling for Services with Implicit Optimal Modelling", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 54-69. https://doi.org/10.1108/EUM0000000001267
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