Shift Scheduling, Moving Beyond Rostering 101 (Part 2)
Author: Simon Arazi
In the last post we explained the difference between rostering 101 (determining who works when) and the actual staffing need of incorporating the specifics of who does what within the shift. This is the enterprise wide scheduling approach.
As an example we discussed a police agency responsible for the security arrangements in a rock festival with a need to staff multiple positions within a shift, including multiple commanders, media coordinator, drug investigation teams, traffic coordinators for several hours before and after the festival, hidden patrol teams and, more. So it is not enough to say who works when (rostering 101) but it is important to allocate specific police officers to the different positions, this is the only way to make sure that the demand is covered. Let’s say we expected 3,000 people in attendance at the festival, but then a twist, Lady Gaga announces she will perform.
The police commissioner now estimates 10,000 festival attendees. He needs to double the drug investigation teams, and have an additional special media coordination team (a politically correct name for paparazzi removal). The local police agency will not be able to fulfill these activities alone, and will need help from other agencies in the county. In this case, the mission of staffing resources to specific positions is not trivial; it requires high level coordination throughout a large and multi-unit workforce. When the planning is broken down to this level of detail it is necessary to reschedule shifts of many police officers, allocate officers to positions based on their skills, experience and familiarity with the specific area and mission.
Another consideration is how to staff all positions with minimal impact to the other routine policing activities and previously scheduled shifts. This kind of scheduling is far beyond rostering 101. There is a need for visibility into a high-level view of the whole county over the span of the entire day, as well as a very deep view to all policing assignments for each time slot during the festival. Only the enterprise wide Scheduling approach will provide management and employees with a way to coordinate this information in a timely fashion.