Skill-Specific Workforce Scheduling in Service Sector Organizations through Flexible Working Arrangement Clusters


Thusitha Rodrigo ,

Download Full PDF Pages: 56-74 | Views: 1861 | Downloads: 482 | DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3483463

Volume 7 - April 2018 (04)


This paper focuses on skill-specific workforce scheduling in service sector organizations with variable demands. We use flexible work arrangement (FWA) strategies in obtaining minimal workforce combinations to cater service demand. The problem setting is such that the fluctuating service demand requires continuous availability of skill-specific workforce to provide timely service delivery. The solution combines a skill specific workforce-scheduling model with a selected cluster of FWAs to form an algorithm that (i) minimize labour utilization in a service sector organization with variable demand, (ii) compare the effect of individual and combinations of FWAs in improving the objective function (iii) examine the influence of different FWAs and skill combinations towards increased workforce requirement.  We formulate the problem as a mixed integer program with an innovative algorithm to solve it in reasonable computational time. We test the model through a case study on a medium scale South Asian airline MRO (maintenance repair & overhaul) organization with satisfactory results


Operations Research in service organizations, Workforce Scheduling, Flexible work arrangements, Integer programming, airline MRO industry  


i.         Aickelin, Uwe and Kathryn A. Dowsland. 2004. “An Indirect Genetic Algorithm for a Nurse-Scheduling Problem.” Computers and Operations Research 31(5):761–78.

ii.       Akbari, Mohammad, M. Zandieh, and Behrouz Dorri. 2013. “Scheduling Part-Time and Mixed-Skilled Workers to Maximize Employee Satisfaction.” International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology 64(5–8):1017–27.

iii.     Akjiratikarl, Chananes, Pisal Yenradee, and Paul R. Drake. 2007. “PSO-Based Algorithm for Home Care Worker Scheduling in the UK.” Computers and Industrial Engineering 53(4):559–83.

iv.      AlTurki, Umar. 2011. “A Framework for Strategic Planning in Maintenance.” Journal of Quality in Maintenance Engineering 17(2):150–62.

v.        Arvanitis, Spyros. 2005. “Modes of Labor Flexibility at Firm Level: Are There Any Implications for Performance and Innovation? Evidence for the Swiss Economy.” Industrial and Corporate Change 14(6):993–1016.

vi.      Ásgeirsson, Eyjólfur Ingi. 2014. “Bridging the Gap between Self Schedules and Feasible Schedules in Staff Scheduling.” Annals of Operations Research 218(1):51–69.

vii.    Azmat, Carlos S., Tony Hürlimann, and Marino Widmer. 2004. “Mixed Integer Programming to Schedule a Single-Shift Workforce under Annualized Hours.” Annals of Operations Research 128(1–4):199–215.

viii.  Bagatourova, Olga and Sudhakar K. Mallya. 2004. “Proceedings of the 2004 Winter Simulation Conference R .G. Ingalls, M. D. Rossetti, J. S. Smith, and B. A. Peters, Eds.”

ix.      Bailyn, Lotte, Robin Collins, and Yang Song. 2007. “Self-Scheduling for Hospital Nurses: An Attempt and Its Difficulties.” Journal of Nursing Management 15(1):72–77.

x.        Baker, Kenneth R. 1976. “Workforce Allocation in Cyclical Scheduling Problems: A Survey.” Journal of the Operational Research Society 27(1):155–67.

xi.      Barbieri, Paolo. 2009. “Flexible Employment and Inequality in Europe.” European Sociological Review 25(6):621–28.

xii.    Bard, Jonathan F. and Hadi W. Purnomo. 2005. “Hospital-Wide Reactive Scheduling of Nurses with Preference Considerations.” IIE Transactions (Institute of Industrial Engineers) 37(7):589–608.

xiii.  Bard, Jonathan F. and Lin Wan. 2008. “Workforce Design with Movement Restrictions Between Workstation Groups.” Manufacturing & Service Operations Management 10(1):24–42.

xiv.   Barnhart, Cynthia and Amy Cohn. 2004. “Airline Schedule Planning: Accomplishments and Opportunities.” Manufacturing & Service Operations Management 6(1):3–22.

xv.     Barnhart, Cynthia and Ellis L. Johnson. 1995. “Deadhead Selection for the Long-Haul Crew Pairing Problem Author ( S ): Cynthia Barnhart , Levent Hatay and Ellis L .

xvi.   Bazargan-Lari, M., P. Gupta, and S. Young. 2003. “A Simulation Approach to Manpower Planning.” Proceedings of the 2003 Winter Simulation Conference, 2003. 2.

xvii. Bechtold, Stephen E. 1981. “Work Force Scheduling for Arbitrary Cyclic Demands.” Journal of Operations Management 1(4):205–14.

xviii.                       Van Den Bergh, Jorne, Jeroen Beliën, Philippe De Bruecker, Erik Demeulemeester, and Liesje De Boeck. 2013. “Personnel Scheduling: A Literature Review.” European Journal of Operational Research 226(3):367–85.

xix.   Van Den Bergh, Jorne, Philippe De Bruecker, Jeroen Beliën, Liesje De Boeck, and Erik Demeulemeester. 2013. “A Three-Stage Approach for Aircraft Line Maintenance Personnel Rostering Using MIP, Discrete Event Simulation and DEA.” Expert Systems with Applications 40(7):2659–68.

xx.     Berkery, Elaine, Michael J. Morley, Siobhan Tiernan, Helen Purtill, and Emma Parry. 2017. “On the Uptake of Flexible Working Arrangements and the Association with Human Resource and Organizational Performance Outcomes.” European Management Review 14(2):165–83.

xxi.   Bhatnagar, Rohit, Venkatramanaiah Saddikutti, and Anand Rajgopalan. 2007. “Contingent Manpower Planning in a High Clock Speed Industry.” International Journal of Production Research 45(9):2051–72.

xxii. Blöchliger, Ivo. 2004. “Modeling Staff Scheduling Problems. A Tutorial.” European Journal of Operational Research 158(3):533–42.

xxiii.                       Brucker, Peter, Edmund K. Burke, Tim Curtois, Rong Qu, and Greet Vanden Berghe. 2010. “A Shift Sequence Based Approach for Nurse Scheduling and a New Benchmark Dataset.” Journal of Heuristics 16(4):559–73.

xxiv.                        Brucker, Peter, Rong Qu, and Edmund Burke. 2011. “Personnel Scheduling: Models and Complexity.” European Journal of Operational Research 210(3):467–73.

xxv.  Brusco, Michael J. 2008. “An Exact Algorithm for a Workforce Allocation Problem with Application to an Analysis of Cross-Training Policies.” IIE Transactions (Institute of Industrial Engineers) 40(5):495–508.

xxvi.                        Butchers, E.Rod et al. 2001. “Optimized Crew Scheduling at Air New Zealand.” Interfaces 31(1):30–56.

xxvii.                      Carrasco, Rafael C. 2010. “Long-Term Staff Scheduling with Regular Temporal Distribution.” Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine 100(2):191–99.

xxviii.                    Chen, Chia Hung, Shangyao Yan, and Miawjane Chen. 2017. “Correction to: Short-Term Manpower Planning for MRT Carriage Maintenance under Mixed Deterministic and Stochastic Demands.” Annals of Operations Research 1.

xxix.                        Chen, Gang, Wen He, Lawrence C. Leung, Tian Lan, and Yingying Han. 2017. “Assigning Licenced Technicians to Maintenance Tasks at Aircraft Maintenance Base: A Bi-Objective Approach and a Chinese Airline Application.” International Journal of Production Research 55(19):5550–63.

xxx.  Choi, Kyuwan, Johye Hwang, and Myoungju Park. 2009. “Scheduling Restaurant Workers to Minimize Labor Cost and Meet Service Standards.” Cornell Hospitality Quarterly 50(2):155–67.

xxxi.                        Chu, Sydney C. K. 2007. “Generating, Scheduling and Rostering of Shift Crew-Duties: Applications at the Hong Kong International Airport.” European Journal of Operational Research 177(3):1764–78.

xxxii.                      Cohn, A. M. Y.Mainville and Cynthia Barnhart. 2017. “Improving Crew Scheduling by Incorporating Key Maintenance Routing Decisions Author ( S ): Amy Mainville Cohn and Cynthia Barnhart

xxxiii.                    Cohn, Amy Mainville and Cynthia Barnhart. 2003. “Improving Crew Scheduling by Incorporating Key Maintenance Routing Decisions.” Operations Research 51(3):387–96.

xxxiv.                     Daniel Wright, P. and Kurt M. Bretthauer. 2010. “Strategies for Addressing the Nursing Shortage: Coordinated Decision Making and Workforce Flexibility.” Decision Sciences 41(2):373–401.

xxxv.                       Defraeye, Mieke and Inneke Van Nieuwenhuyse. 2016. “Staffing and Scheduling under Nonstationary Demand for Service: A Literature Review.” Omega (United Kingdom) 58:4–25.

xxxvi.                     Deng, Guang-Feng and Woo-Tsong Lin. 2011. “Ant Colony Optimization-Based Algorithm for Airline Crew Scheduling Problem.” Expert Syst. Appl. 38(5):5787–93.

xxxvii.                   Dijkstra, Matthijs C., Leo G. Kroon, Jo A. E. E. van Nunen, and Marc Salomon. 1991. “A DSS for Capacity Planning of Aircraft Maintenance Personnel.” International Journal of Production Economics 23(1–3):69–78.

xxxviii.                 Duffuaa, S. O. and K. S. Al-Sultan. 1999. “A Stochastic Programming Model for Scheduling Maintenance Personnel.” Applied Mathematical Modelling 23(5):385–97.

xxxix.                     Eaton, Susan C. 2003. “If You Can Use Them: Flexibility Policies, Organizational Commitment, and Perceived Performance.” Industrial Relations 42(2):145–67.

xl.      Ernst, a. T., H. Jiang, M. Krishnamoorthy, B. Owens, and D. Sier. 2004. “An Annotated Bibliography of Personnel Scheduling and Rostering.” Annals of Operations Research 127:21–144.

xli.    Ernst, A. T., H. Jiang, M. Krishnamoorthy, and D. Sier. 2004. “Staff Scheduling and Rostering: A Review of Applications, Methods and Models.” European Journal of Operational Research 153(1):3–27.

xlii.  Fowler, John W., Pornsarun Wirojanagud, and Esma S. Gel. 2008. “Heuristics for Workforce Planning with Worker Differences.” European Journal of Operational Research 190(3):724–40.

xliii.                        Gareis, Karsten and Werner B. Korte. 2002. “ICTs and the Adaptability of Work Arrangements in the EU.” Ecis (2002):1101–1112 ST–ICTs and the Adaptability of Work.

xliv. Di Gaspero, Luca et al. 2007. “The Minimum Shift Design Problem.” Annals of Operations Research 155(1):79–105.

xlv.   Gendreau, Editor Michel. 2009. “Transportation Science.” Transportation Science 39(January):2014–2014.

xlvi. Gopalakrishnan, Balaji and Ellis L. Johnson. 2005. “Airline Crew Scheduling: State-of-the-Art.” Annals of Operations Research 140(1):305–37.

xlvii.                       Günther, Maik and Volker Nissen. 2010. “Sub-Daily Staff Scheduling for a Logistics Service Provider.” KI - Künstliche Intelligenz 1–9.

xlviii.                     Hanne, Thomas, Rolf Dornberger, and Lukas Frey. 2009. “Multiobjective and Preference-Based Decision Support for Rail Crew Rostering.” 2009 IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation, CEC 2009 990–96.

xlix. Heimerl, Christian and Rainer Kolisch. 2010. “Scheduling and Staffing Multiple Projects with a Multi-Skilled Workforce.” OR Spectrum 32(2):343–68.

l.         Helber, Stefan and Kirsten Henken. 2010. “Profit-Oriented Shift Scheduling of Inbound Contact Centers with Skills-Based Routing, Impatient Customers, and Retrials.” OR Spectrum 32(1):109–34.

li.       Hojati, Mehran and Ashok S. Patil. 2011. “An Integer Linear Programming-Based Heuristic for Scheduling Heterogeneous, Part-Time Service Employees.” European Journal of Operational Research 209(1):37–50.

lii.     Horn, M.E.T., Jiang, H. and Kilby, P. 2006. “Working Paper Series Scheduling Patrol Boats and Crews for the Royal Australian Navy.” Journal of the Operational Research Society.

liii.   Jacoby, Jacob and Michaels S. Matell. 1971. “The Impact of Flexible Scheduling on Employee Attendance and Turnover Author ( S ): Dan R . Dalton and Debra J . Mesch Published by : Sage Publications , Inc . on Behalf of the Johnson Graduate School of Management , Cornell University.

liv.    Jeffrey Hill, E. et al. 2008. “Defining and Conceptualizing Workplace Flexibility.” Community, Work and Family 11(2):149–63.

lv.      Kalleberg, Arne L. 2003. “Flexible Firms and Labor Market Segmentation.” Work and Occupations 30(2):154–75.

lvi.    Kasirzadeh, Atoosa, Mohammed Saddoune, and François Soumis. 2014. “Airline Crew Scheduling: Models, Algorithms, and Data Sets.” EURO Journal on Transportation and Logistics 1–27.

lvii.  Kassinis, George I. and Eleni T. Stavrou. 2013. “Non-Standard Work Arrangements and National Context.” European Management Journal 31(5):464–77.

lviii.                        Klabjan, Diego, Ellis L. Johnson, George L. Nemhauser, Eric Gelman, and Srini Ramaswamy. 2001. “Solving Large Airline Crew Scheduling Problems: Random Pairing Generation and Strong Branching.” Computational Optimization and Applications 20(1):73–91.

lix.    Klabjan, Diego, Ellis L. Johnson, George L. Nemhauser, Eric Gelman, and Srini Ramaswamy. 2002. “Airline Crew Scheduling with Time Windows and Plane-Count Constraints.” Transportation Science 36(3):337–48.

lx.      Kossek, Ellen Ernst, Alison E. Barber, and Deborah Winters. 1999. “Using Flexible Schedules in the Managerial World: The Power of Peers.” Human Resource Management 38(1):33–46.

lxi.    Lavoie, Sylvie, Michel Minoux, and Edouard Odier. 1988. “A New Approach for Crew Pairing Problems by Column Generation with an Application to Air Transportation.” European Journal of Operational Research 35(1):45–58.

lxii.  Li, Yongjian, Jian Chen, and Xiaoqiang Cai. 2007. “An Integrated Staff-Sizing Approach Considering Feasibility of Scheduling Decision.” Annals of Operations Research 155(1):361–90.

lxiii.                        Liao, S., C. Van Delft, G. Koole, Y. Dallery, and O. Jouini. 2009. “Call Center Capacity Allocation with Random Workload.” 2009 International Conference on Computers & Industrial Engineering 863–68.

lxiv. Lučic, Panta and Dušan Teodorovic. 1999. “Simulated Annealing for the Multi-Objective Aircrew Rostering Problem.” Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice 33(1):19–45.

lxv.   Maik, G. 2010. “Combined Working Time Model Generation and.” Personnel 210–21.

lxvi. Mason, Andrew J. and David M. Ryan. 1998. “Integration Simulation, Heuristic and Optimization Approaches to Staff Scheduling.” Operations Research 46(2):161–75.

lxvii.                       Mayne, Lesley, Olga Tregaskis, and Chris Brewster. 1996. “A Comparative Analysis of the Link between Flexibility and HRM Strategy.” Employee Relations 18(3):5–24.

lxviii.                     Medard, Claude P. and Nidhi Sawhney. 2007. “Airline Crew Scheduling from Planning to Operations.” European Journal of Operational Research 183(3):1013–27.

lxix. De Menezes, Lilian M. and Clare Kelliher. 2011. “Flexible Working and Performance: A Systematic Review of the Evidence for a Business Case.” International Journal of Management Reviews 13(4):452–74.

lxx.   Mercier, Anne and François Soumis. 2007. “An Integrated Aircraft Routing, Crew Scheduling and Flight Retiming Model.” Computers and Operations Research 34(8):2251–65.

lxxi. Morton, David P. and Elmira Popova. 2004. “A Bayesian Stochastic Programming Approach to an Employee Scheduling Problem.” IIE Transactions (Institute of Industrial Engineers) 36(2):155–67.

lxxii.                       Munsch, Christin L., Cecilia L. Ridgeway, and Joan C. Williams. 2014. “Pluralistic Ignorance and the Flexibility Bias: Understanding and Mitigating Flextime and Flexplace Bias at Work.” Work and Occupations 41(1):40–62.

lxxiii.                     PeriyarSelvam, U., T. Tamilselvan, S. Thilakan, and M. Shanmugaraja. 2013. “Analysis on Costs for Aircraft Maintenance.” Research India Publications 3(3):177–82.

lxxiv.                      Pinedo, Michael, Christos Zacharias, and Ning Zhu. 2015. “Scheduling in the Service Industries: An Overview.” Journal of Systems Science and Systems Engineering 24(1):0–48.

lxxv.                        Regattieri, A., A. Giazzi, M. Gamberi, and R. Gamberini. 2015. “An Innovative Method to Optimize the Maintenance Policies in an Aircraft: General Framework and Case Study.” Journal of Air Transport Management 44–45(May):8–20.

lxxvi.                      Rönnberg, Elina and Torbjörn Larsson. 2010. “Automating the Self-Scheduling Process of Nurses in Swedish Healthcare: A Pilot Study.” Health Care Management Science 13(1):35–53.

lxxvii.                    Rosenberger, Jay M. et al. 2000. “SimAir: A Stochastic Model of Airline Operations.” Winter Simulation Conference Proceedings 2(November):1118–22.

lxxviii.                  Ryan, D. M. 1992. “The Solution of Massive Generalized Set Partitioning Problems in Aircrew Rostering.” Journal of the Operational Research Society 43(5):459–67.

lxxix.                      Salem M., Al-Yakoob and Hanif D. Sherali. 2007. “Multiple Shift Scheduling of Hierarchical Workforce with Multiple Work Centers.” Informatica 18(3):325–42.

lxxx.                        Saltoʇlu, Remzi, Nazmia Humaira, and Gökhan Inalhan. 2016. “Aircraft Scheduled Airframe Maintenance and Downtime Integrated Cost Model.” Advances in Operations Research 2016.

lxxxi.                      Sasaki, Daiki and Tatsushi Nishi. 2016. “Combinatorial Auction Algorithm with Price-Adjustment Mechanism for Airline Crew Scheduling Problems.” IEEE International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management 2016–Janua:1183–87.

lxxxii.                    Simões, Jorge M., Revigres Lda, and Carlos F. Gomes. 2011. “A Literature Review of Maintenance Performance Measurement: A Conceptual Framework and Directions for Future Research.” Journal of Quality in Maintenance Engineering 17(2):116–37.

lxxxiii.                  Stavrou, Eleni and Christos Kilaniotis. 2010. “Flexible Work and Turnover: An Empirical Investigation across Cultures.” British Journal of Management 21(2):541–54.

lxxxiv.                   Stavrou, Eleni, Stelios Spiliotis, and Chris Charalambous. 2010. “Flexible Working Arrangements in Context: An Empirical Investigation through Self-Organizing Maps.” European Journal of Operational Research 202(3):893–902.

lxxxv.                     Stavrou, Eleni T. 2005. “Flexible Work Bundles and Organizational Competitiveness: A Cross-National Study of the European Work Context.” Journal of Organizational Behavior 26(8):923–47.

lxxxvi.                   Stavrou, Eleni T., Emma Parry, and Deirdre Anderson. 2015. “Nonstandard Work Arrangements and Configurations of Firm and Societal Systems.” International Journal of Human Resource Management 26(19):2412–33.

lxxxvii.                 Stojkovi??, Mirela and Fran??ois Soumis. 2005. “The Operational Flight and Multi-Crew Scheduling Problem.” Yugoslav Journal of Operations Research 15(1):25–48.

lxxxviii.               Teodorovic, Dusan and Panta Lucic. 1998. “A Fuzzy Set Theory Approach to the Aircrew Rostering Problem.” Fuzzy Sets and Systems 95(May 1998):261–71.

lxxxix.                   Tharmmaphornphilas, Wipawee and Bryan A. Norman. 2007. “A Methodology to Create Robust Job Rotation Schedules.” Annals of Operations Research 155(1):339–60.

xc.     Thompson, Gary M. and John C. Goodale. 2006. “Variable Employee Productivity in Workforce Scheduling.” European Journal of Operational Research 170(2):376–90.

xci.   Valverde, Mireia, Olga Tregaskis, and Chris Brewster. 2000. “Labor Flexibility and Firm Performance.” International Advances in Economic Research 6(4):649–61.

xcii. Vance, P. H., C. Barnhart, E. L. Johnson, and G. L. Nemhauser. 1997. “Airline Crew Scheduling: A New Formulation and Decomposition Algorithm.” Operations Research 45(2):188–200.

xciii.                       Vance, Pamela H., Cynthia Barnhart, Ellis L. Johnson, and George L. Nemhauser. 1997. “Airline Crew Scheduling: A New Formulation and Decomposition Algorithm.” Operations Research 45(2):188–200.

xciv.                        Weide, Oliver, David Ryan, and Matthias Ehrgott. 2010. “An Iterative Approach to Robust and Integrated Aircraft Routing and Crew Scheduling.” Computers and Operations Research 37(5):833–44.

xcv.  Wu, Cheng Lung and Robert E. Caves. 2000. “Aircraft Operational Costs and Turnaround Efficiency at Airports.” Journal of Air Transport Management 6(4):201–8.

xcvi.                        Yan, Shangyao and Jei C. Chang. 2002. “Airline Cockpit Crew Scheduling.” European Journal of Operational Research 136(3):501–11.

xcvii.                      Yang, Zhixian and Guobin Yang. 2012. “Optimization of Aircraft Maintenance Plan Based on Genetic Algorithm.” Physics Procedia 33:580–86.

xcviii.                    Yen, Joyce W. and John R. Birge. 2006. “A Stochastic Programming Approach to the Airline Crew Scheduling Problem.” Transportation Science 40(1):3–14.

xcix.                        Zhu, X. and H. D. Sherali. 2009. “Two-Stage Workforce Planning under Demand Fluctuations and Uncertainty.” Journal of the Operational Research Society 60(1):94–103.

Cite this Article: