IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

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


  • James G. Morris

    (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

  • Michael J. Showalter

    (Florida State University)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • James G. Morris & Michael J. Showalter, 1983. "Simple Approaches to Shift, Days-Off and Tour Scheduling Problems," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(8), pages 942-950, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:29:y:1983:i:8:p:942-950

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ian I. Mitroff, 1972. "The Myth of Objectivity OR Why Science Needs a New Psychology of Science," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 18(10), pages 613-618, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Thompson, Gary M. & Pullman, Madeleine E., 2007. "Scheduling workforce relief breaks in advance versus in real-time," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 181(1), pages 139-155, August.
    3. Valls, Vicente & Angeles Perez, M. & Sacramento Quintanilla, M., 1998. "Pre-processing techniques for resource allocation in the heterogeneous case," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 470-491, June.
    4. 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.
    5. Michael J. Brusco & Larry W. Jacobs, 2000. "Optimal Models for Meal-Break and Start-Time Flexibility in Continuous Tour Scheduling," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(12), pages 1630-1641, December.
    6. Monica C. Villarreal & Pinar Keskinocak, 2016. "Staff planning for operating rooms with different surgical services lines," Health Care Management Science, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 144-169, June.
    7. 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.
    8. Michael J. Brusco & Larry W. Jacobs, 1998. "Personnel Tour Scheduling When Starting-Time Restrictions Are Present," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(4), pages 534-547, April.
    9. Fowler, John W. & Wirojanagud, Pornsarun & Gel, Esma S., 2008. "Heuristics for workforce planning with worker differences," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 190(3), pages 724-740, November.
    10. repec:pal:jorsoc:v:55:y:2004:i:11:d:10.1057_palgrave.jors.2601789 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Broos Maenhout & Mario Vanhoucke, 2016. "An exact algorithm for an integrated project staffing problem with a homogeneous workforce," Journal of Scheduling, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 107-133, April.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. Schirmer, Andreas, 1996. "New insights on the complexity of resource-constrained project scheduling: Two cases of multi-mode scheduling," Manuskripte aus den Instituten für Betriebswirtschaftslehre der Universität Kiel 391, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Institut für Betriebswirtschaftslehre.
    15. 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.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:29:y:1983:i:8:p:942-950. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.