Workforce management is achievable without automation Specifically, supervisor’s engagement with daily operations flow of work and resources is necessary to manage the workforce. Automation assumes that these elements are in place and they are being sped up through automation. If any of these elements are not in place (or not optimized), automating them may simply mean that inefficient practices are automated (occasionally), or that the tool will not be used effectively (a more common occurrence).
Why is workforce management a struggle? A simple problem is repeated over and over in virtually every company. The typical model is that the best tech or customer service agent will be promoted to supervisor, leaving a bad scenario behind. The company now has one less "good tech/agent" and one more "bad supervisor!" The new supervisor has little training in how to to maintain or exceed metrics and is relegated to yelling to get things done. Reaction reigns and there's little or no time or opportunity for proactive responses. Maintenance suffers and metrics fall.
Supervisors should be engaged Engaging supervisors in workforce management fundamentals and process improvement elements is the critical success factor for the overall program prior to automation.
This engagement strategy includes:
Tech Skills - Identifying which tasks can be accomplished by each individual
Tech Training - Ensuring all technicians are confident in their skills and not promoted ahead of skill level
Capacity - Determining speed of the individual based on a subjective belief about skillsets - one person can do the same work faster than another; usually the person who is NOT routed, in case something happens, such as an escalation, or difficult customer, or a special job to be done.
Work Assignment - Creating routes for the techs by laying out a series of routing cards and mentally matrixing the issues of time of day, geography, skill set, and customer demand
Coaching, Disciplining, Counseling - As previously stated, an immature or poorly trained supervisor doesn’t see that the most critical role they have is to create success for their subordinates
Data Analysis - Reviewing the results of the team, the individual, and the company, using data. Without automation, mass quantities of paper are printed with charts and lists of information, leading to self-created spreadsheets to track activities
Tech Calendar - Identify who is working and when and who is on vacation, in training, or on disability