Implementation – Early Payback

Even if an application appears to really meet one’s needs, there is always the challenge of implementation. A financial manager for Coca-Cola recently asked, “This application looks like it will do the job but answer this: how much trouble will we uncover when it comes to implementation?” He was specifically referring to the resistance that would likely occur from their schedulers and a unionized workforce.

When it comes to those that actually do the scheduling, most would rather do things the way they’ve been doing them – even if there is a little inefficiency and maybe hidden costs due to some redundancies. When it comes to the workforce, most will naturally want to avoid changes in how jobs are assigned. However assigning them more efficiently takes some analysis of the rules and policies that control how the workforce is currently scheduled.

So how do we implement a fully automated application like SOS without running into resistance from the schedulers and the workforce? Along with getting the data for jobs and people in place, a project usually starts with focus on the existing scheduling rules. However, there’s a lot more to automation than getting all the rules and policies analyzed and here’s a way forward.

Right from the start, even from the Internet at home, Tugboat’s solution enables workers to make requests for:

•    Overtime

•    Days off

•    Vacations

•    Training

•    Open jobs

This interface also makes reports easily available to the workers for:

•    Absences

•    Requests

•    Available OT

•    Scheduled jobs

This is a two-stage approach and it takes the pressure for change off of the schedulers. Automating requests and reports means, right from the start, less paper and less discussion with each and every worker. And the workforce? Automating requests and reports will make life on-the-job a little easier without raising questions about how jobs are assigned. It’s called empowerment. For management, the cost of getting to this level of implementation is fairly low. Having data for your existing workers and jobs uploaded into the application is all that’s required.

To summarize: save the challenge of analyzing and documenting all your rules and policies until a later stage. Get the easy stuff in and running for an early payback and buy-in from the workforce