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Staff Scheduling in a Product Support Centre

International Journal of Business Analytics and Intelligence

Volume 4 Issue 2

Published: 2016
Author(s) Name: Ajith Kumar J. | Author(s) Affiliation: Professor, XLRI Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, India
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Abstract

The present study addresses the problem of staff scheduling in the product support centre of a large multinational technology company in India. Essentially, the problem was to develop rosters that minimize the cost of staffing, while ensuring that service level constraints are satisfied. Broadly speaking, previous research on call centre scheduling has taken two approaches to address the problem, the split approach and the integrated approach. The former handles the full problem by sequentially solving two separate sub-problems – staffing and scheduling – taking the solution to the staffing problem as an input to the scheduling problem. In contrast, the integrated approach proceeds iteractively by solving both parts repeatedly and converging to an optimal solution. We describe the split approach that we took to solve the problem. Our contributions include the modification of a heuristic used earlier to schedule staff in an airports immigration centre and applying the modified version in conjunction with discrete-event simulation to solve the staffing sub-problem in the product support centre. Using realistic data, we also demonstrate how the heuristic fits into the larger procedure of solving the full staff scheduling problem.

Keywords: Product Support Centre, Staff Scheduling, Discrete-Event Simulation, Heuristic

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