Development of a workforce management system for a customer hotline service

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)987-1004
Journal / PublicationComputers and Operations Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2000


An integrated workforce management system was developed for a 24-h hotline service. It first applies either a regression model or simulation model to relate the target abandonment rates with the required hourly staffing level, which is then converted into the daily requirements of senior and junior officers by use of a mixed integer programming approach. The last phase involves extending Burns and Carter algorithm to schedule the monthly roster with emphasis on both employee equity and management specifications. Implementation is under Microsoft Office 95 on a 586 PC. Comparison with the manual schedule shows significant savings in time and a higher degree of constraint satisfaction. Scope and purpose With the booming mobile telephone business, a 24-h customer hotline service in a mobile communications company faced increasing challenges in scheduling its growing workforce to be distributed into eight daily shifts. The complex constraints and goals set by the company demand a tailor-made workforce management system where existing packages cannot be directly applied. This paper reports on the development of a decision support system for the forecasts of hourly demand calls, leading to the estimation of staffing requirements and scheduling of the monthly roster. Fast rescheduling can be achieved and more scheduling constraints are satisifed. Useful management information is generated to enable better understanding of the manpower supply and demand situations. The computerization process brings together the management and interdisciplinary teams to realize the tradeoffs between various scheduling constraints, and possible modifications in anticipation of future changes. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Research Area(s)

  • Heuristic scheduling, Linear programming, Simulation, Workforce management