July 1, 2021

Harnessing the Power of Prescriptive Analytics for Workforce Rostering

Prescriptive analytics is a school of data analytics that harnesses the power of technology to enable businesses to make highly analytical and informed decisions.  

Through the analysis of raw data, prescriptive analytics enables companies to take a proactive approach for holistic planning as it models all possible situations and scenarios and considers resources, past and current performance to determine the best course of action. This form of analytics can also simulate the probability of various outcomes, which in turn helps organisations better understand risks that are present in their workplaces.  

However, before generating these automated recommendations, a specific set of information – including algorithmic models and clear direction from the requesting company – are required. This type of analytic data cannot be generated without knowing what problem it is trying to solve as there is no indication to what it is to look for. Therefore, prescriptive analytics must begin with a problem definition. Consider this, a large-scale mining company operates a remote mine site hundreds of kilometres from the closest urban centre. It maintains a significant FIFO workforce, drawing staff from multiple different locations. The total number and cost of flights is significant at over 1,000 flights per annum, costing millions of dollars.  

The company would like to understand if they can further optimise flight capacities by using prescriptive analytics technology to analyse their data. Taking into consideration only the number of staff mobilised over the year, they discovered that only 59% of those flights are needed. Flights are not being utilised to their full potential and there is room for optimisation improvements when booking flights for employees. That’s a huge potential of savings and need for more robust workforce roster optimisation.  

The perennial challenge with rostering is to ensure that a balance of different skills and capabilities are available for each shift, whilst keeping in mind work cycles may vary from department to department, and even within teams.  To ensure continuity of skills onsite, the standard approach is to have different teams within each capability group assigned different starting days that minimally overlap each other. Humans simplify the problem by grouping staff into fixed teams within each capability, but prescriptive analytics can complete this task much more efficiently.  

Prescriptive analytics can be used to make well-informed decisions to achieve the best scenario outcome for your business. One that, not only ensures all flights are fully utilised, but also ensures the correct capability and skill groups are rostered on as required. This has benefits that bleed into time savings, efficiency, and human capital. Among these benefits, prescriptive analytics can also: 

  • Streamline the decision-making process by using real-time data. This allows your business to remain ahead of the competition and take advantage of new and well-informed opportunities. 
  • Solve issues that may be putting your company at a standstill. 
  • Use the data to enhance user experience for all customers. 

Optimising rostering requires robust tools capable of accessing all your employees’ roster, flight and accommodation needs, bringing real-time information together from those various silos to create a holistic view. Here at INX software, we help companies gain clear visibility across rostering and travel management, increasing efficiency and operational performance. To learn more about how superior workforce and travel management solution can benefit your organisation, contact us for a free demo.  

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