The Role of a Planning Team


The role of a planning team

Targets for planners

The research shows that targets for planners are changing significantly, with a clearer focus on their effectiveness at forecasting, scheduling and service consistency. Service level and cost are still the areas where they feel able to make most impact.

  • Only 30% feel they can influence first contact resolution, 40% customer satisfaction/loyalty, or 33% attrition/sickness (33%). The higher levels of team leader buy-in in Travel showed up in stronger scores for influencing sickness and attrition.
  • 95% felt they had influenced service level/calls answered and 75% of planning teams are targeted on these metrics. This was common among most sectors and types of centre – reflecting the traditional focus of resource planning teams.
  • 80% felt they had influenced productivity/cost – only the public sector had weaker scores in this area, perhaps reflecting less maturity in resource planning and weak buy-in from team leaders.
  • There was also a very big move towards measuring the effectiveness of the contribution of planning. 72% are targeted on forecast accuracy and 44% on schedule fit, which were questions we asked for the first time. 39% are targeted on consistency of service – up from only 18.5% in 2009.
Image:planners makea difference

Ratios of planners to agents

The impact of a planning team is not only linked to the use and effectiveness of technology, but also to how the planners work within the business and their workload.

  • The ratio of planners to agents is now 1:88. It was 1:100 in 2007. Larger centres benefit from a clear economy of scale. Operations over 1,000 agents have far more planning teams with over 100 agents to one planner.
  • Centres under 500 agents are far more likely to have a ratio of 1:50 or less. Variation by sector mainly reflects the size of centre in each sector.
  • The key driver seems to be business structure (e.g. the number of skills to forecast for, the need for extended real-time coverage) than by agent related tasks (e.g. administration of time off), because larger operations are more likely to have automated admin processes with self-service technology.
  • Buy-in from Marketing is still the No.1 challenge for over 60% of planning teams, followed by IT and Finance. It is great to see that buy-in and support from senior managers and call centre managers is sufficient in over 80% of cases.
  • Crucially, no in-roads are being made in the battle to win support from team leaders – still sitting at 64%. In fact only 10% regard team-leader buy-in as excellent, compared with 36% for other managers. There are marked variations between sector, with some clear evidence of good practice in outsourcing.

Planning team ratios by sector

  • Public Sector 1:57
  • Retail & Leisure 1:58
  • Finance 1:104
  • Outsourcing 1:75
  • Telecoms 1:87
  • Overall 1:88

The overall average without financial services is only 1:77

Obstacles to team leader buy-in and understanding

  • Team leaders get sucked into the day to day
  • Damaged credibility of systems and process
  • Lack of training and education
  • Lack of accurate data to support planning
  • Resourcing/budgeting driven by Finance (top down)
  • Maintaining effective control against pace of change
  • Getting operational managers to understand the impact of adherence and the importance of planning in meeting targets

Not enough team leader buy-in

  • Local Government 73%
  • Insurance/Other FS 50%
  • Retail/Leisure 44%
  • Utilities 30%
  • Travel 25%
  • Banking/Retail FS 22%
  • Outsourcing 18%

Excellent buy-in

  • CC Managers 36%
  • SMs/Directors 36%
  • Team leaders 10%
  • IT 7%
  • Finance 11%
  • Marketing 1%

Training and development

  • Over 56% of those in planning or MI related roles received no training or development in the past 12 months – a worrying figure given the technical aspects of the roles, even though this is down from 65% in 2007
  • While 37% of teams reported that they had all received training, almost three-quarters were in small teams of 4 or fewer and in the larger teams (10+ planners) far fewer had received training
  • Most benefit is being realised with 1-1 personal coaching and training, with 79% feeling this made a significant or extremely useful addition to their team’s ability. This may be partly due to the absence of formal professional training
  • Training by hardware and software vendors scores poorly, with only 54% feeling they got meaningful results from the experience – perhaps where some courses feel ‘off the shelf’. In-house training scores worst at 34%, probably due to the specialist requirements of a uniquely technical team

Recruitment and selection

  • 75% identified lack of suitable candidates as the major problem when recruiting
  • Surprisingly, 56% still expect to have to train and develop new hires, primarily due to what is felt to be a lack of suitable candidates – as in 2008 (58%)
  • Less surprisingly, recruitment has slowed up with only 46% having recruited analysts in the past 12 months, down from 81% in 2008

Top 3 issues when recruiting

  • Lack of suitable candidates 75%
  • Salary expectations 37%
  • Career progression 23%

Further Reading

Contributors

Published On: 14th Mar 2010 - Last modified: 8th Aug 2019
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