David Evans gives five reasons from on exactly why you should be using workforce management (WFM) software today.
1. Historical Data
Without WFM it becomes increasingly difficult to manage the historical information that drives the forecasting model. Each year, month and day will be impacted by seasonality, business drivers and other events that will create a base for forecasting. With WFM, this data can be stored in a consistent and centralised format. The modelling can consider the peaks and troughs that all businesses incur.
Without WFM, it’s often a “finger in the air” type forecast – can you really remember exactly what happened last week, let alone a year ago! This is where the planning team can really be proactive in pre-empting changes to arrival patterns.
2. Intraday Arrival and Special Days
WFM will also provide the arrival volumes across the day. The intraday volumes are critical to ensure that resources can be deployed at the right time. For example, the call-arrival patterns on a Monday morning in October may be completely different from a Monday in December. By looking at the intraday 15-minute intervals it becomes possible to schedule employees at exactly the right times.
There are also special events or days where the arrival deviates from the norm – the list is endless. It could be a public holiday, one-off event such as a promotion, system issues, or even a mention in the media. Whatever the reason for the deviation, WFM can capture this and you have the choice to include or exclude these special patterns in your forecasting.
3. “What if” Planning
It’s not just call volumes that change over the year, businesses are constantly evolving to meet customer expectations. This may mean a new structure, a new site or a change in opening hours.
This is where WFM can provide “What if” scenario planning. Using a safe sandbox approach, you can create scenarios based on the business objective and calculate the impact on service levels and cost to the business.
A good example is recruitment planning for a peak or special event. You can try out different work patterns that could be more lifestyle focused than the current schedules.
4. Long-Term Forecasting
It’s not just the intraday forecasts that help shape the business. Longer-term operating model forecasting is also possible via WFM. This may be a long-term daily, weekly, or monthly forecast that can be used for planning shrinkage across the year.
5. Real-Time Optimisation
Finally, as an ex-planner I can safely say that not all forecasts using a WFM are going to be consistently accurate. With unexpected events, it’s sometimes impossible to get it right on the day. This is where a planner can proactively look at re-forecasting on the day. If volumes are way over forecast, let the WFM technology take control of the movement of staff through auto-optimisation. This makes the movement of resources more agile and will help to save your service levels and keep customers happy.