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Base Schedules

Base schedules, also referred to as static or fixed schedules, are an important part of the scheduling process.
They are typically used in the following situations:

  • Scheduling areas like visual display, store management and other areas that do not have an explicit forecast of requirements or have a forecast that does not fluctuate by time of day and day of week will utilize base schedules.
  • Certain associates with special needs or long tenure with the organization may require base schedules that do not vary from week to week.
  • Some organizations choose to devote a portion of plan hours to full time base schedules and assign associates to these schedules based on an associates's selling performance and time and attendance record. For an associate to be assigned to one these desirable schedules often serves as a performance incentive for associates.
  • When an organization decides to control schedules centrally they may choose to do so using base schedules and restrict modification by store personnel.
  • State or local regulations dictate that associates have consistent schedules, including the timing of meals, from week to week.

A base schedule is typically composed of a two, three or four week rotation. For example, a four week base rotational schedule for an associate might include four weekly schedules that are the same except for the weekend days and early and late shifts. With this scenario an associate could have a Saturday and Sunday off every four weeks and when Saturday is scheduled the Saturday shift could alternate between early and late.

QServ includes several features designed to maximize the efficiency of base schedule creation.

Base Plan

Central administrators can create a weekly plan for a “normal” week and save it as the base plan. The QServ forecast engine includes options for calculating forecasts based on day of week averages. For example, developing a base plan for the upcoming first quarter could use a forecast based on daily averages calculated from the most recent first quarter historical data. Ideal staffing for the base plan can then be calculated using actual customer traffic patterns to provide a basis for building and evaluating base schedules.

Base Schedule Creation

There are three options for creating base schedules

  • If base schedules already exist in the form of a spreadsheet or as part of another system they can be imported into the QServ database.
  • If a base plan has been created then the QServ dynamic scheduling engine can be used to automatically calculate schedules. The system calculated schedules can be refined by central administrators and then saved as base schedules.
  • Central administrators can manually enter base schedules. The QServ schedule editing facility provides many features that make for efficient manual entry of base schedules.
Base Schedule Maintenance

Base schedules will change over time as a result of turnover and revisions to forecasted sales and plan hours.

When associates are no longer available open positions can be created and the base schedule for the associate that has left can be easily reassigned to another associate or an open position.

As plan hours change central administrators can add or delete base schedule shifts.

Calculating Base Schedules for a Specific Week

Once base schedules have been created the calculate schedules process can be run for a specific week. During the calculation process QServ can optionally:

  • Adjust opening and closing shifts for non-standard store hours.
  • Optimize the scheduling of meals and breaks to minimize the impact on coverage.
Controlling Base Schedules

When schedules for a specific week are released to the stores QServ includes features to control and audit how store users manipulate the schedules.

User group permissions can be set to limit the types of schedule edits that can be made by store users:

  • No store user edits allowed.
  • Store users can reassign shifts from one associate to another associate but cannot change the start time, shift length or the timing of meals and breaks.
  • Store users can adjust the timing of shifts and meals and breaks but cannot add or delete a shift.

If store level edits of base schedules are enabled QServ audit reports help central administrators monitor the impact of edits applied by store users.

  • The frequency of edits indicates how much time is being spent editing schedules and the potential need for revising base schedules.
  • The impact on schedule quality is reflected by the overstaffing and understaffing counts before and after store level edits. Quite often store users add hours, increase overstaffing and increase understaffing.
  • Unassigned open shifts represent needed coverage that will not be satisfied.

Base Schedules from QServ Optimizer

The videos below demonstrate how to use the QServ dynamic scheduler to create base schedules.

Step 1 - Create Forecast

The first step is to create a base forecast. In this case we will be developiing base schedules for the fall season of 2016 for the Boston location.

Step 2 - Create Base Plan

During the second step we use the forecast created in step 1 to develop the plan hours and cost by day for each scheduling area.

Step 3 - Calculate Schedules

For step three we calculate schedules using the QServ dynamic scheduler along with the plan hours and cost calculated during step 2.

Step 4 - Save August Schedules as Base

The last step is to save the system calculated schedules for August as the base schedules to be used for the Fall season and to make any edits to fine tune the schedules.

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