Our consultants have helped over 300 companies improve their shiftwork operations. Improving these operations often means making major changes to the organization or operating philosophies. Through these experiences, we have refined a change model that incorporates input from the shiftwork stakeholders, while satisfying the goals of the overall organization.
Our members at Electric Boat Corporation successfully changed to an alternative shift schedule to meet operational demands. Dan Capshaw from Shiftwork Solutions was instrumental in helping the company find fair alternatives that met our membersâ€™ needs. If you are thinking about changing schedules, I highly recommend you give Dan a call.
President UAW Local 571
Step 1. Understand your situation and where you want to go
It’s important to realize that different problems require different solutions.
If you are after more capacity, then let’s go after that. If you want a better work-life balance for your workforce, then let’s go after that. If you want both, let’s prioritize and then solve for both.
There are as many shiftwork related issues as there are shiftwork operations. Aside from Cost, Volume and Employees, other typical problems are Sanitation, Overtime, Maintenance, Seasonality, Quality, Training, Safety and Flexibility.
It’s rare for a site to say, “If you solve this one problem, everything else will be fine.” More often than not, there is the main issue and several sub-issues. We need to know all of these so that when we are done, these have all been addressed.
Step 2. Identify business requirements
Our first objective is to understand your business requirements and current operations. In Step 2, we conduct a detailed business analysis that includes:
- Staffing levels and schedules.
- Equipment maintenance. Workload fluctuations and bottlenecks.
- Expansion/consolidation plans.
- Market conditions, and more.
- Cost of time (straight time, overtime, double-time).
Using this information as a benchmark, we compare your current practices to the most successful practices used in similar shiftwork operations. This allows us to quantify the dollar value of changing â€” implementing new schedules that will enable your company to operate more efficiently. Since the business analysis identifies economic drivers for change, we keep the management team updated on our results.
In parallel with this business evaluation, we meet with all affected shift workers and managers to discuss the overall project goals and the steps we will follow to achieve those goals. We also review the importance of their active involvement throughout the process.
Step 3. Develop schedule concepts and solicit employee input
To be clear, Step 2 and Step 3 are concurrent steps. In a project, we do both at the same time.
During this step, we meet with the workforce to discuss the results of the business analysis and review shiftwork alternatives that will satisfy the business requirements. Since the best way to find out what works for the workforce is to ask them, the employees complete an extensive, anonymous survey on their shiftwork preferences.
The results of the survey are summarized and discussed with everyone involved in the project â€“ including those that filled out the survey. These meetings allow us to jointly narrow down the options to two or three final concepts that will result in a successful solution.
Step 4. Customize and implement solutions
After completing Steps 2 and 3, we are ready to refine two to three potential solutions. These â€śshortlistâ€ť proposals are further customized to meet the workforceâ€™s needs by applying the survey results and feedback.
Before the workforce can choose their preferred solution, they need to have as many details as possible worked out. This includes understanding how specific pay and work policies (e.g. vacations, holidays, illness, overtime, etc.) will work on the alternatives. It also includes a discussion of the performance measures that will be used to evaluate the success of the new solution. The better the workforce understands these details, the more comfortable they will be with making changes. Click here for more information on implementation.
After a new shiftwork solution is implemented, we continue to work with management to measure the success of the program. As business conditions change, the shiftwork operation must continually adapt and evolve. Our follow-up program is designed to help you manage this continuous improvement process.
Our process can help you find a shiftwork solution that enables your company to work smarter.
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