Great! Your organization is going to implement an automated, optimized planning solution. This will make the organization more efficient and probably generate a positive business case from day one. A no-brainer! Just make sure to foresee and include all work-streams required to make the implementation project a success…
To make an “optimized planning implementation“ project a success, it makes a lot of sense to set up a number of different work-streams as part of the project effort. In this article, six relevant work-streams are listed, including a brief description. Recognizing that each of these different tracks is an important driver for the success of the overall project is a very good starting point and a big part of the project definition and initialization.
The people that know all the rules, constraints and limitations to take into account when assigning resources to activities, are crucial for the success of the project. Their experience and knowledge will be essential to properly configure and find out what information has to be passed to the planning calculation engine. Proper configuration and fine-tuning of the solution assures a maximum return for the organization and its workforce.
Just like for every project, a delivery work stream is needed with a team that has the responsibility to put the technical solution in place, to integrate it in the existing IT landscape and make sure the full solution is properly tested.
It can be smart to team up your internal people with a software integration company that has knowledge of and experience with a state-of-the-art automated planning solution and has experienced, delivery-focused people on board that know how to get things done in an agile way…
As long as planning was done (semi-)manually, missing or low-data quality situations could be handled by making phone calls or asking for more information via mail or internal people-to-people communication. For example, the HR department could be contacted to learn about holidays, qualifications, etc.
To allow automation of the planning process, you have to make sure all relevant data is available, reasonably structured, “clean” and accessible without manual intervention. Be aware that:
This work-stream might involve other departments (e.g. HR department, training department, …)
Locally managed and maintained spreadsheets are a typical attention point (aka “the Excel-hell challenge”) …
But also, on the (very) positive side:
Clean, accessible, structured data is a very valuable asset for you organization. All data improvements will not only benefit the automated planning project, but will also be very valuable for other use cases in the future.
Once it’s clear which information needs to be gather from which systems and which systems have to receive the calculated planning output (schedules / rosters) and reports, the integration flows have to be implemented technically. All components and data flows have to be connected and integrated in line with the organization’s standards and architecture. This implies the involvement of a solution architect, middleware and technical connectors and teams required to integrate all data streams properly.
Putting in place optimized, automated planning will imply changes in the organization. A change management effort will be very relevant. Implicit, un-official, vague and informal rules and approaches will disappear. Increased efficiency will have an impact on the daily life of people. Employees will have access to new tools and ways to improve their well-being and work-life balance. Maybe, some people were used to “arrange things” by making phone calls to their friend at the planning department. This will change and they will now have to use the same tools and processes as all other colleagues, …
It’s important to inform, align with and involve the social partners very early in the project to make sure the implementation will be a success.
Typically, before starting the project, a proof-of-concept is done to validate the added value of the automated planning solution. The outcome of this is used by the benchmarking work-stream to define a clear business case.
The benchmarking team will also be involved during the project to continue to document and fine-tune the business case and provide additional feedback to allow tuning the solution configuration. This work-stream is typically taken up by a team that combines domain expertise and data analytics capabilities.
Our company, MOTULUS, offers advanced optimized planning solutions, built on unique, proprietary solvers. Do not hesitate to get in contact if you want to align on how we can work together – always very eager to discuss and all feedback is really appreciated! firstname.lastname@example.org