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Scheduling and route optimisation for labour cost reduction in facility custodial maintenance

Ninad Pradhan (Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA)
Dinesh Patlolla (Department of Industrial and Systems, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA)
Rupy Sawhney (Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA)

Journal of Facilities Management

ISSN: 1472-5967

Publication date: 15 May 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present an optimised scheduling system for facility mangers and custodians. Experience-driven systems currently in use can result in poor ratings for facility maintenance metrics such as overtime hours, utilisation difference and labour costs.

Design/methodology/approach

The cleaning schedule and custodian work assignments defined by the manager are simulated for the entire year. Clustering and routing algorithms assign work to custodians equally and find optimal cleaning routes. The manager may use the resulting feedback to iteratively find a suitable schedule which lowers costs.

Findings

Data were collected at a large university building in consultation with facility management and custodians. Results indicate a significant reduction in overtime hours, improvement in utilisation difference and a lowering of labour costs.

Research limitations/implications

The methodology was validated at a single building in the facility. Variable selection and optimisation model design will benefit from a comprehensive case study which spans the entire facility.

Practical implications

The methodology may easily be integrated with existing facility maintenance software, adding to it features such as a manager scheduling interface with feedback on critical cleaning metrics and a custodian user interface which highlights room visitation routes and task times.

Originality/value

This study acts on the need for facility cleaning labour cost management highlighted in literature. It achieves its goals using a novel combination of scheduling, simulation and optimisation. It is designed to empower key decision-makers, i.e. facility managers and custodians, with better information.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to acknowledge that the corresponding (first) author and second author of the work contributed equally to its conceptual development and implementation.

Citation

Pradhan, N., Patlolla, D. and Sawhney, R. (2017), "Scheduling and route optimisation for labour cost reduction in facility custodial maintenance", Journal of Facilities Management, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 190-206. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFM-11-2016-0048

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited