Automation solutions for providers of workforce management software
Over a decade of advanced research has resulted in the development of automation engines
that can be linked with most workforce management software solutions on the market today.
This has the effect of dramatically improving the capability of currently available systems,
providing faster and better staff scheduling. Staff Roster Solutions can work with developers of
workforce management software using unique plug-in packages that will add greater power
Ten years of advanced research at the University of
Nottingham in automated scheduling systems resulted in the development of an automation
engine suitable for workforce management systems. Originally addressing the complex nature
of shift workers in healthcare, the automation engines and associated models have since been
adapted for a broader range of workforce requirements by Staff Roster Solutions. We now offer
software in the form of two plug-in products,
ScheduleSolver and ShiftSolver, that can directly link with existing solutions to enhance their
Working with Developers:
Staff Roster Solutions works directly with workforce solution
developers and providers to ensure that the plug-in packages are suited to the needs of their
clients. Our early customers were mainly providers of workforce software-based solutions who
needed the added automation and modelling capabilities provided by our engines
to ensure their products and services were best suited to their client's needs.
Staff Roster Solutions are equally willing to work with in house development teams within
organisations that develop their own software for their specific workforce scheduling
The technology behind our workforce scheduling engines was originally researched at the University
of Nottingham. It was published in several peer-reviewed, top ranking, international
scientific journals. The algorithms use a combination of techniques taken from the
fields of metaheuristics and mathematical programming.
An important element of the research was establishing that the solutions gained
through automation met with expectations of suitable solutions in real-world situations. We
always sought to ensure the algorithms gave better and more suitable results than would be
likely through other techniques.
ScheduleSolver and ShiftSolver:
Both plug-in products from Staff Roster Solutions include
an automation engine focussing on specific scheduling scenarios.
Our products are designed to seamlessly plug-in to existing systems and provide the
automation required. Nevertheless, we tend to work with clients to ensure that the software
packages do link well together without causing unforeseen issues.
We offer two key products - ScheduleSolver and ShiftSolver.
ScheduleSolver automatically assigns individuals to user-defined shifts based on the
rules and preferences of the employer and employees.
These include constraints such as those relating to:
ScheduleSolver takes all the data on individuals and associated constraint data
and using the Staff Roster Solutions unique automation engine, the best automated roster
solution is created, depending on the time allowed for analysis. A quick automated solution
can be found in seconds. Better solutions can take longer depending on the complexity of the
ShiftSolver: ShiftSolver is designed for problems
in which the start and end times of shifts also need to be decided for each employee for each day.
It will also position breaks and assign activities within shifts according to the user-defined
rules and preferences. The demand/cover constraints are specified by activity (and optionally skill)
for each user-defined time interval within the planning horizon (such as every 15 minutes for example).
Originally our research and validation were done using models specifically designed for the
healthcare market. However, as Staff Roster Solutions began its further development using a
broader range of experts it was quickly apparent that the models and automation engines could
be modified to satisfy the needs of a much wider market. Working closely with our early
adopters across Europe and the USA we were able to identify and incorporate some very
useful adjustments, which are always done with a view to expanding the products and/or
the product portfolio to fit with the ever-changing needs of the workforce management market
place. The creation of ShiftSolver is a perfect example,
since it was developed after working closely with a provider of workforce solutions which had
several clients with particular needs relating to shift design.
The automation engines were developed over several years of
research, development and
validation. State-of-the art algorithms from the fields of combinatorial optimisation and
artificial intelligence are used to search for optimal solutions as quickly as possible.
Different algorithms are combined such as local search and metaheuristics as well as
exact algorithms such as dynamic programming and branch and bound are used to solve
the variety of problems that can be created using the interfaces.