There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic is an exceptional event bringing with it many consequences. Companies normally planning shifts or recording working hours physically have had to adapt and manage their employees remotely.
This can be a big challenge to find efficient solutions quickly. Especially, when a large part of your workforce is working from home.
These companies have had to re-plan shifts and services. Mainly due to the changes in demand in a very short period of time. For example, supermarkets changed schedules, health services increased their workforce and even factories had to establish production shifts that did not exist previously.
During lockdown and subsequently, we have seen many companies have focused on organizing themselves (mostly in a very agile way) to allow their employees to work outside their physical workplace with little disruption.
HR directors said to us at the beginning of the pandemic that in addition to getting employees access to computers and systems, their main concern was establishing policies and processes in double quick time so people could continue working.
In Spain for example, once the initial shock had subsided. Many companies realized that in order to comply with a Royal Decree-Law 8/2019 they had to find a digital tool that enabled them to log hours remotely. As previously they were heavily reliant on actual physical machines and systems to clock in and out.
The next step, which many companies are currently doing, is arranging the return of employees to their workplace.
Many have proven that shift planning is a very important. It is crucial for companies that must adapt quickly to changes in both demand and new COVID-19 regulations.
Large retail outlets, who would have normally planned shifts annually with slight modifications have had to drastically change their schedules quickly. We have been asked on many occasions to find solutions these challenges.
In offices and factories where there weren’t shift patterns in place, they have had to divide the workforce into two or even three shifts. This reduces the number of people who are in a workplace at the same time in order to maintain social distancing.
This highlights some of the many benefits that shift planning can bring to a company. It means working hours can be flexible so they can respond to customer needs and/or fluctuations in production. Changes can also be made due to changing circumstances or for people who are off sick.
For this reason, having agile and intelligent software planning tools goes from being a competitive advantage to a necessity.
We have more than 20 years of experience in implementing and maintaining software, for the service, manufacturing and production areas of SAP solutions. And more recently for SuccessFactors and Kronos.
We provide applications that enable employees to transfer working hours data from their computer or mobile device simply. This is together with the rules and approval flows that companies require.
For shift planning, we are one of a select number of companies that work with Kronos. Kronos is a world leader in time management and in particular shift planning. It is a native cloud solution accessible via the internet. Users can connect from any device in a standard web browser.
It has great functionalities for automatic shift planning including artificial intelligence capabilities that optimize planning.
In retail for example, you can quickly see how many cashiers and stock assistants there need to be at a given time. And even what staff are required in a specific section/department.
In addition to this automation, Kronos deals with exception very well. If an employee says they are unable to go to work, the system can suggest a list of the most suitable employees to replace the absent employee. This based on established criteria, including adhering to labor rules that the company has established.
A major strength of our solutions is the ability to integrate with a company’s existing HR and payroll management tools. Of course, they can be integrated with SAP or SuccessFactors, but also with other tools that are already implemented.
Roberto Reguera – Business Development Manager