This study evaluates the potential benefits of incorporating labor flexibility into personnel scheduling. The solution methodology develops, in an innovative way, a hybrid strategy of labor flexibility that combines the following two flexibility strategies: (i) flexible contracts, which allow to relax the duration of the shifts and the number of weekly hours employees must work; and (ii) multiskilled staff, employees trained to work on multiple task types. A mixed integer linear programming model is proposed to determine how many employees are required in each type of contract, and how many of them will be multiskilled employees and in which task types. Results using real data from a Chilean retail firm show the potential benefits of the proposed hybrid flexibility strategy in relation to experiments where flexibility is not considered (i.e., without flexible contracts and multiskilling), or even, when scenarios consider only one of the two flexibility strategies. The increases in the number of multiskilled employees are mainly produced by demand variability than by their respective size. Regarding the staff composition, empirical results show that on average the proportion of full-time employees with respect to part-time employees is approximately 1:3. It is also shown that the most attractive contracts are those that have short workdays.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by “Fundación para la Promoción de la Investigación y la Tecnología ( FPIT )” under Grant 4.254 and Universidad del Norte under Grant 2017-13 . The authors would like to thank the anonymous referees for their helpful comments and insights on this paper. They are also grateful to their colleagues at SHIFT SpA, a firm that optimizes the shift schedules of thousands of workers across Latin America, for providing the data used to solve the problem for the retail firm.
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd
- Flexible contracts
- Personnel scheduling
- Retail services
- Tour scheduling
- Workforce flexibility