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Simple Approaches to Shift, Days-Off and Tour Scheduling Problems


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  • James G. Morris

    (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

  • Michael J. Showalter

    (Florida State University)

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    Shift and days-off scheduling problems have received much attention in the literature of integer programming approaches to workforce scheduling. A typical managerial use would be to schedule full-time employees to minimize the number of labor hours while satisfying variable workforce requirements of a service delivery system. We present computational experience to show that an easily implemented application of linear programming frequently produces optimal solutions to these problems. When the context progresses toward a continuous operating environment (service delivery over 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) we stress the need to shed the myopic views of the shift and days-off scheduling formulations in favor of an integrative tour scheduling formulation. For this problem we observe that a simple heuristic initiated by rounding down the associated LP solution consistently produces near optimal solutions. This observation is based on experiments over varying workforce requirement patterns.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 29 (1983)
    Issue (Month): 8 (August)
    Pages: 942-950

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:29:y:1983:i:8:p:942-950

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    Keywords: organizational studies: manpower planning; programming: linear; applications; industries: service firms;


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    Cited by:
    1. Brusco, Michael J. & Jacobs, Larry W., 2001. "Starting-time decisions in labor tour scheduling: An experimental analysis and case study," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 131(3), pages 459-475, June.
    2. Brusco, Michael J. & Jacobs, Larry W., 1995. "Cost analysis of alternative formulations for personnel scheduling in continuously operating organizations," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 249-261, October.
    3. Millar, Harvey H. & Kiragu, Mona, 1998. "Cyclic and non-cyclic scheduling of 12 h shift nurses by network programming," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 104(3), pages 582-592, February.
    4. Lagodimos, A. G. & Leopoulos, V., 2000. "Greedy heuristic algorithms for manpower shift planning," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 95-106, October.
    5. Brusco, Michael J. & Johns, Tony R., 1996. "A sequential integer programming method for discontinuous labor tour scheduling," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 95(3), pages 537-548, December.
    6. Wright, P. Daniel & Mahar, Stephen, 2013. "Centralized nurse scheduling to simultaneously improve schedule cost and nurse satisfaction," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1042-1052.


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