The need for improved capacity and staffing analysis and decision-making arises frequently as a critical success factor with my clients, and so I thought a few tips would be beneficial:

  • Start simple – Complex models don’t drive results. Simple, easy-to-understand data will give you what you need to succeed. Get your load by work center and machine in labor hours, and you’ll be ahead of the pack.
  • Data integrity – Of course, one of the key issues with capacity and staffing data is whether it’s based on accurate information. If your model tells you to hire a crew, you want to make sure it’s based on a reasonable picture of reality before proceeding. Look at it from the 80/20 standpoint.
  • Reporting tools – Most ERP systems don’t do a spectacular job in laying out this data in a comprehensible format. Utilize Microsoft Access, Excel or a business intelligence tool to slice and dice the data.
  • Time horizon – Look out at least a year in monthly buckets when reviewing staffing and capacity requirements. In some industries, 18 months is required. It will be too late if you wait until the customer orders tell you to make a staffing or capacity decision.
  • Flexibility – When reviewing staffing/ capacity data, build in flexibility. Can you cross-train? Can you re-allocate and fill certain buckets of demand with temps? How about quick change?