Rota: a research project on algorithms for workforce scheduling and shift design optimization By: Kevin Drakes MBA 513 Dr. Edmonds
Why Rota? Help with typical process of planning and scheduling a workforce in an organization consists in designing shifts and then assigning employees to these shifts and to periods of rest (days-off) Successfully solving these problems has high practical relevance: Results from ergonomics indicate that shift schedules have a profound impact on the health and satisfaction of employees as well as on their performance at work. In the research project Rota, undertaken by the Database and Artificial Intelligence Group at the Vienna University of Technology A system for generation of rotating workforce schedules - First Class Scheduler (FCS) A system for the design of shifts - Operating Hours Assistant (OPA)
Workforce Scheduling and shift design optimization Stages First Stage Determine the temporal requirements. Required number of employees with certain qualifications is determined for every time slot of the planning period.
Second Stage Want to determine total number of employees needed Design shifts and assign shifts and days-off to employees (Approaches) Design shifts and match employees with shifts. Consider days off after the shifts are created.
Fig. 2. A possible rotating schedule for 4 groups and 18 shifts per week.
Cyclic vs. non-cyclic After the shifts are generated, the assignment of employees to shifts or days-off for a given period of time can be made. Rotating (or cyclic) workforce schedules: all employees have the same basic schedule but start with different offsets. Therefore, while the individual preferences of the employees cannot be taken into account. Aim is to find a schedule that on average is optimal for all employees.
non-cyclic Workforce schedules the individual preferences of the employees can be taken into consideration. The aim is to achieve schedules that fulfill the preferences of most employees. Both variations of workforce schedules other constraints such as the minimum number of employees required for each shift have to be met.
Shift design problem Given was the workforce requirements for a certain period of time. Constraints Possible start and the length of shifts period of time average number of duties per week per employee. The Aim: Generate solutions that contain shifts (and the number of employees per shift) that fulfill all hard constraints about the shifts minimize the number of shifts, over- and understaffing, and differences in the average number of duties per week.
Questions What are the advantages of using FCS (First Class Scheduler) over the traditional algorithms, for any organization? Do you feel that these scheduling techniques make it easier to do scheduling or should business just hire people for certain shifts?