Don’t be afraid to change the plan
As mentioned in a previous entry, a schedule is simply a plan for the future and until it happens, it can change. Those of you with experience in planning will know that as soon as you communicate the schedule to someone, some event will happen to make that schedule invalid and force changes.
Any one of these events will cause a schedule to change and force the planner to redo one or more of the previous steps:
- A change in workload (big customer takes priority with a last minute request, last minute sale causes customer traffic increase, etc)
- A change in employee information (an employee forgot to give the planner unavailability, employee has just quit, HR just told you about a new employee starting, etc)
- A change of context (machine just broke down, snow storm is coming tomorrow, etc)
There are hundreds if not thousands of examples where a new piece of information causes a planner to redo the schedule on an on-going basis basically making it a full time job.
The problem here is that once the schedule is posted and communicated, the planner can’t change the whole schedule. Employees now have shifts on which they base their own decisions about their lives. A planner can’t just come in and start from scratch. That published schedule now becomes a constraint and must endure as little changes as possible while answering the change of business.
It is in this step that most last minute decisions cause additional costs. A planner with no tool or no guidelines will make the decision that will make the immediate problem go away with little regards to the final cost.