Flexible Production Scheduling

Balancing Customer and Employee Needs so Everyone Wins

On January 18, David Lighthiser, our Vice President of Operations, was the presenter on the Continuous Improvement Journey Webinar Serious Hosted by F4SS – The Foundation for Strategic Sourcing. Thank you F4SS for giving David the chance to share what we’ve found at PacMoore to be a much better scheduling system for our blending team!

If you deal with problems like overtime cost, employee attendance, and turnover, the ideas presented by David could be very beneficial to you. There is no substitute for listening to the webinar directly, so you may wish to watch the recording below of the webinar provided by F4SS.

Webinar Recording

The Problem

Volume growth in our blending operation meant that we had to begin consistently using Saturdays for production. Saturday attendance for production staff became mandatory. Overtime costs increased, employee attendance was very low, and as a result of poor attendance the turnover rate increased.

The Solution: Forming Teams

  • We hired additional employees to ensure total work hours were staffed. Each shift’s staff grew from 8 people to 12 people.
  • The training process for the new employees was very important.
  • Each team was to be balanced with equal talent (skill level, experience, etc.).
  • 1 Lead operator was assigned to each team.
  • Each team on each shift works toward a particular production goal.

The Solution: A New Schedule

A new schedule was laid out for our blending operation only. The requirements and benefits were presented equally to all.

  • Everyone is required to work 4 days per week
  • Production workers can choose to expand to 5 days (40 hours) but they have to ask for it and I dictate what day will be the 5th day
  • Everyone is required to work 2 out of 3 Saturdays
  • Every 3 weeks workers are scheduled off for 5 days in a row

Below is an example of our new schedule for the blending room teams:

Flexible Production Scheduling Balancing Customer and Employee Needs

The Results of our new Flexible Production Scheduling System

  1. Overtime cost has been cut dramatically.
  2. Employees actually ask for more hours – we don’t have to plead with them.
  3. Attendance has improved.
  4. Turnover is close to zero.
  5. The morale and culture of the blending team has improved (the rest of plant is begging to be added to this plan).

Hear directly from one employee who has been enjoying this new work schedule:

How has your company solved problems like overtime costs, employee attendance and turnover? Let us know in the comments below!