Labor scheduler system (LSS)
[Schedule Optimization System (SOS)]

Featured in "Post Technology International," September 2002

The Labor scheduler system(LSS) was created for service-oriented customers faced with the problem of optimally allocating personnel to operations. Schedule Optimization System (SOS), as it was known back then, was developed as an answer for postal organizations that have the need for a better utilization of personnel under rapidly changing conditions prompted by:

  • Mail volume pattern shifts resulted from the usage of information services through the internet
  • Process improvements required to utilize emerging mail processing technology
Under the new conditions, traditional scheduling practices became too expensive and inadequate. As a result, Planmatics created LSS based on a linear optimization methodology. With Planmatics' expert engineers and consultants at work, LSS was successfully deployed in over six sites of the United States Postal Service.

Labor scheduler system(LSS) is a powerful management support tool for service delivery organizations. It provides significant cost-saving options through optimized labor scheduling. It applies special value to 24/7 operations with potential of flexibility in shifts, days off, break periods, etc. It can minimize one of many elements such as cost and idle time. LSS encapsulates advanced mathematical optimization technology in an easy to use software package. It has been applied successfully at eight large (in excess of 50,000 square meters) mail sorting centers. LSS develops a flexible and cost optimal labor schedule to satisfy the demand for labor created by the operating plan of equipment or other work-defined requirements. LSS is web-enabled, so management can access and use it from anywhere in the world.

The specific functions of the LSS are listed below. LSS is a strategic planning tool as well as a weekly adjustment tool. The LSS

  1. Intelligently determines the appropriate size of a facility's workforce according to the facility's operating requirements, local management, and other rules
  2. Matches staff schedule to labor demand (employees at the right time, at the right area, in the right quantities)
  3. Adjusts workers' shift structure (shift start times across the facility and shift durations), if allowed
  4. Re-assigns employees to work areas/operations within a shift and skills
  5. Prescribes labor positions replenishing requirements due to attrition
  6. Maximizes the assignment of days off within the week, if desired
  7. Maximizes the number of flexible part-time workers allowed if these are used
  8. Maximizes the number of regular part-time workers allowed if these are used
  9. Determines possible labor resource re-assignments to other facilities
  10. Stores employee work schedule details in order to enable matching work load requirement and employee availability
  11. LSS is enabled for interfacing with the HR system to obtain employee details (including employee ID, assigned facility, level) for all employees assigned to a mail operations facility (i.e. post office, mail processing centre, transit mail office, etc)
  12. LSS allows users to enter the following information for employees: on-the-job skills and competencies, discontinue date, work assignment, scheduled work hours, scheduled leaves, scheduled days off
  13. LSS will obtain the job description of different roles from the HR system.