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5 Signs that you may need a new shift schedule


Shift schedules rarely fail overnight.  Typically, there are plenty of warning signs; signs that tell you to take action before it’s too late.  Here are the 5 biggest warning signs.

#1: You have idle equipment while still not producing enough to meet customer demands.  There can be a lot of reasons for this; nearly all of which point to a schedule that does not have the right people in the right place at the right time.  Product flow, staffing, maintenance and production order variability can all be addressed with the right shiftwork structure.

#2: Maintenance is blaming equipment availability for a downward trend in equipment up-time.  You can’t fix something while it’s running.  The result is often and solution like “We’ll wait until the weekend to fix it.”  This is fine until you find that leaving too much to the weekend ends up with an overly fatigued maintenance group with not enough hours on the weekend to fix everything.  Scheduling equipment, like scheduling people, can improve maintenance accomplishment while still getting the production hours you need.

#3: Absenteeism is going up as overtime starts to wear down your workforce.  As overtime goes up, two things will happen.  First of all, your workforce will start to get tired.  Secondly, they will notice that they are now making a lot of money and can afford to take time off.  This is a “death spiral”  situation in that it is self-perpetuating and will only get worse.  Staffing will impact overtime but to do so effectively, you must have a shiftwork structure to support the newly resized workforce.

#4: Local competition for labor is causing problems with recruitment and retention.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard something like “Amazon just opened a mega-facility down the street and is hiring all of our employees away from us.”  The right schedule, one that is a good fit for your workforce as well as your business can help with this.  If wages are a concern, look for ways to get overtime to that 20% of your workforce that wants all they can get.  Overtime costs your company about the same as fully loaded straight time.  This means when you pay overtime, your employees make 50% more but your cost per hour is virtually unaffected.  Don’t lose your workforce because of wage pressures or quality of life issues.  The right shiftwork structure can help.

#5: Productivity metrics are dropping as equipment runtime-hours are on the rise.  If you are running more an more hours with the same old schedule, then you are probably seeing an increase in overtime.  While overtime is not a bad idea in many instances, it can eventually lead to worker fatigue.  This is especially true if you spread it evenly across all shifts.  Remember, not all employees want the same amount of overtime.  As fatigue goes up, so will accidents, quality issues and absenteeism.  You make find, for example, that running 6 days a week yields more output than running 5 days.  However, if you didn’t change schedules, a 20% increase in runtime will yield significantly less than a 20% increase in output.

In summary, don’t underestimate the impact of having the right shiftwork structure.  Fixing this issue is often the most expeditious and cost effective way of improving your overall operations.

For more information, call me, Jim Dillingham, at (415) 265-1621 or drop me a line at Jim@shift-work.com

Shiftwork Software


It’s finally here.

After more than twenty years, we have finally found the software that we, and you, have been looking for.

Shiftwork Solutions has partnered with an international software development company to design a software package that is certain to help improve the management of your workforce.

Imagine a software that does the following:

  1. Tells you days, weeks and months in advance where your staffing shortfall and overages will be.
  2. Allows a supervisor to send email and text messages to an entire shift or a select group.
  3. Notifies shiftworkers via email and text messages when overtime is available.
  4. Allows shiftworkers to go online and apply for vacations and shift swaps, sign up overtime or request time off for sickness, FMLA or any other type of time off your company recognizes.
  5. Allows supervisors to approve time off and shift swaps, post overtime opportunities, assign overtime and communicate special needs, all over the internet.
  6. Generates reports on overtime, various types of time off and hours worked.
  7. Provides instant decision making information to supervisors such as hours already worked that week, seniority and wage rates.
  8. Frees up one or more hours of supervisor time per shift by greatly easing the burden of staffing management.
  9. Is managed off site, with no installation required. The entire software is maintained, protected and regularly upgraded without you having to do a thing.
  10. Provides all of these services for a small fraction of what bulky, ineffective software packages frequently cost.

We have this software today! Call us now at (415) 763-5005 for a free demonstration.