Prioritize constraints when designing a Transportation Management Center work schedule to help alleviate the complexity of scheduling problems.
The United States and Canada's experience with Transportation Management Center staffing and scheduling.
- Recognize that equipment availability and the size of a TMC are constraints because they limit the number of employees who can work a shift. The number of operators who can work one shift is limited to the number of workstations available. The number of workstations available may be limited by space or by financial costs. The consideration of equipment must also include contingencies if a piece of equipment should fail or need to be repaired or replaced.
- Prioritize constraints when designing a work schedule. Generating a schedule increases in complexity as the number of constraints increase. One method to help alleviate the complexity of scheduling problems is to prioritize the constraints. A common method used to prioritize constraints using software is to classify each constraint as a hard constraint or a soft constraint. Hard constraints (e.g., laws, contractual obligations) must be satisfied. Soft constraints (e.g., employee preferences) may be violated to resolve scheduling conflicts. A number of common scheduling policies (or constraints) that should be considered before designing a schedule are listed below.
- The start times and duration of the shifts
- The number of hours and days worked per week
- The maximum/minimum number of consecutive work days (e.g., maximum of 7 days, minimum of 2 days)
- The maximum/minimum number of consecutive off days (e.g., maximum of 6 days, minimum of 2 days)
- The minimum number of weekends (e.g., 2 weekends per month)
- Off days over the weekend should be equally spaced throughout the schedule
- Shift rotation policies (e.g., rotation can only occur after at least two off days)
- Permissible shift sequences (e.g., three consecutive day shifts allowed, but an afternoon shift may not follow a night shift)
- Shift changeover procedures
- Alternative, reserve, and contingency scheduling and staffing policies
- The method of shift assignment
- The staffing levels of the shifts
- The start times and duration of breaks
- Overtime and shift differential policies
- Days-off policies for vacation, sick leave, personal time, jury duty, maternity/paternity leave, etc.
- Groups or teams of employees that should remain intact throughout the schedule
Author: Wolf, Mark B., et al.
Published By: U.S. DOT Federal Highway Administration
Prepared by the Human Systems Engineering Branch Georgia Tech Research Institute for the U.S DOT FHWA
Source Date: January 2006URL: http://tmcpfs.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/cfprojects/uploaded_files/Final_Technical_Document1.pdf
Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
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