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August 31, 2022

Staff assignment: how to choose the right planning tool?

Posting schedule

Staff scheduling is often a long and tedious task. It is estimated that managers spend 7 hours a week managing their teams' schedules. A large number of companies create schedules on paper or via an Excel-type spreadsheet, which is far from facilitating the task. Fortunately, many tools are available on the market to help you create schedules easily, and share them with your employees. However, it is necessary to choose a tool adapted to the needs of your teams. Let's see how to make the right choice.

Why invest in a staff scheduling and allocation tool

Before getting into the heart of the matter, it is worthwhile to recall the main benefits that you can get from such a tool. 

Benefit n°1 : a considerable time saving

One of the main benefits of a scheduling tool is the time savings for team leaders. They would spend nearly 7h per week to define the best combination to assign their team members. The problem takes on another dimension when last-minute changes are required. An unforeseen absence creates a real headache for the person who makes the schedules. 

Note also that this particularly time-consuming task is often done, at best, on Excel, and at worst, on paper (often forgotten at the coffee machine). These two media make updates complex (as evidenced by phrases like "what is the latest version of next week's schedule?"). Thanks to an adapted software, these problems are solved, which frees up the mental load of the schedule managers. 

Benefit #2: Real-time view of available personnel

As a direct consequence of the previous point, if the files are not up to date, it is difficult to know which employees are available at a given time. It is then necessary to go around the teams to ensure that the information is correct. 

The advantage of scheduling tools is that they are generally integrated with your other personnel management software (which manages vacations, sick leave, etc.). This makes it easier to determine which employee should be placed in which position according to their availability or skills (we will go into more detail on this particular point in the second part of the article).

Benefit #3: Improved productivity

A personnel scheduling software is beneficial for all employees. Employees can access their updated schedules at any time. Managers can focus on more value-added tasks.

Administrative friction points are greatly reduced, which at the same timeimproves communication, information sharing and therefore productivity at all levels of the company. 

The use of scheduling and staffing software is an indispensable factor for any company that aspires to greater agility and versatility. Therefore, the choice of the tool to implement in your company must be in line with your business needs. Let's see what are the main criteria to consider before making your choice.

Criteria for choosing the best planning tool

We will focus on three essential dimensions: data centralization, the analytical aspect, and assignment according to business constraints. 

Criterion n°1 : real time information sharing

Your ideal scheduling tool should be able to take into account data from different human resources tools. For example, vacation dates, which should be easily taken into account in the planning to avoid errors. 

Also, make sure you choose a solution that allows you to share schedules with teams live. This way, everyone can access their schedule, which is always up to date.

Criterion n°2 : activity analysis

The second criterion that should get your attention is the analytical aspect. We advise you to turn to software that helps you access key data, such as the number of hours spent by each employee on your workstations. These are precious indicators, especially to limit the risks of Musculoskeletal Disorders on your lines, but also to value and improve the versatility of your employees.

Criterion 3: Automatic assignment of employees

Finally, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that your staff assignment tool should above all help you place the right employee in the right position at the right time. This is only possible if you can take into account a certain number of business constraints when calculating assignments

Thus, a staffing and planning tool consider : 

  • the skills and authorizations of each employee 
  • the skills and authorizations required for each position 
  • HR data (absences, leave, time off, sick leave, etc.)

This third criterion is essential for any company wishing to implement a forward-looking jobs and skills management plan.  

In summary:

Your planning tool should above all help you place the right person in the right position. To do this, it is necessary to integrate concepts such as skills, authorizations, absences and shifts.

Planning with Mercateam 

Mercateam takes into account the above-mentioned constraints, thus allowing for automated assignment to positions. 

How does it work?

  • Step 1: Operator skills mapping and referencing of all production positions
  • Step 2: Definition of the skills and authorizations required for each production position 
  • Step 3: API integration of existing HRIS data (absences, vacations, etc.) 
  • Step 4: Finally automate your shift schedule according to your constraints!

Want to see for yourself?

To go further, book your demonstration by clicking here

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