WFM Scenario Planning – What If…
There are a number of different scenarios a planning team will be asked to provide direction for within a business. This may involve long term capacity planning to support target operating models down to intra-day ‘what if’ type analysis.
Some examples of WFM scenario planning are:
- Multi Skilling – what does our skills matrix look like and is it fit for purpose?
- Site Strategy – what’s the impact of opening our new site?
- Opening Hours – should we open longer, what’s the demand before and after we close?
- Recruitment profiling – what if scenarios providing shift patterns to the operation and human resources
- New Product Launch – what if we launch a product, what are the implications on our resource plan?
- Process Change – if we change an internal process how does this impact on handling time?
- Mailings – what is the impact of our annual mailing drop, how do we cope with volumes?
Assessing the Impact
If we take the example of an annual mailing then how can we approach this? Initially it is imperative to agree on the parameters for the analysis. Sending out white mail or email statements will result in an uplift in enquiries so do you have access to the impact from prior years? Do the dates coincide compared to last year and are the volumes the same?
If you have access to the volumes and handle times for the previous year you can use these to create special distribution patterns. Workforce Management applications can store special patterns and distribution that can be applied to calculate the impact on requirements.
It is worthwhile to produce a number of what if scenarios and then agree with the business which scenarios suit.
Once the forecast requirements have been agreed, the next step is to provide insight into how this will be resourced. Meeting increased demand can be achieved in a number of ways and again a number of staffing profiles can be created.
There is the option to staff with overtime or re-align shifts. It may require the utilisation of other staff in the business or engagement with an outsourcer to provide the additional buffer. If recruitment is required then again it may be useful to produce a number of staffing scenarios based on the business goals. The benefit of using WFM is the ability to quickly produce varied shift patterns that can demonstrate how the service level can be achieved.
Measure the Impact
Once the scenario has been agreed don’t forget to measure the accuracy against the actual volumes. So if you are staffing to meet demand through a statement drop, measure the actual volumes versus the scenario. If you are using a WFM application, the intra-day variances will be captured and retained for further analysis.
– Ensure the parameters for scenario planning are agreed and visible
– If this is a repeat event, what happened last year and use special days/patterns where available
– Provide a couple of options and agree with the business the most suitable
– Make sure the actual impact is captured and retained for use on the next occasion
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