One might think that the longest part of an implementation project for workforce scheduling would be the customization of the software. Our customers at Tugboat have taught us that more often it’s entering local data for job skills into the SOS system that holds up the “go live” date. So this spring, we added a new offering to our services. In February of 2009, I traveled to McComb, Ohio to the Consolidated Biscuit Corporation plant to jump-start that process.
Schedulers and managers worked in advance of my visit to get that information pulled together. Once on site, I was able to enter about 95% of the employee qualifications and job preferences in four days. If the plant had decided to do this work themselves, the project might have stretched into weeks or months, while personnel who already had full-time work squeezed data entry into the nooks and crannies of their workday.
One of the keys to success for this approach was that the plant made it a priority to collect their data in advance, in order to make the best use of my time while there – this helped them set a “data deadline”. Working with their data also raised questions about how the client organized their jobs into categories and departments, giving an early heads up to the project coders who were automating this customer’s employee scheduling solution. Informal conversations with management helped pave the way for understanding of how the implementation would proceed, and for a bit of preliminary training on the system. This was a sort of value-add informed the entire data organization service process in a way that couldn’t really be accomplished by hiring a local temp just to do data entry.
CBC signed on for this project in January, and now in late April we’re in the fine tuning of customization and testing. This might be our fastest workforce scheduling implementation ever, at least in some part because the challenging task of data collection and entry got an early boost from this new service from Tugboat.
Posted by Colleen Fitzpatrick, Project Specialist