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Keep Your Balance

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While strategic and tactical planning are proactive by nature, operational planning is proactive and reactive.

Shift Plans

A shift plan amends the roster with workstation or area information: Which warehouse operative will work at which workstation (or in which area) in which shift? This is the proactive planning step. The period we look ahead into the future depends highly on the kind of business. We might assign people to workstations just for a week, or we might assign people to future peak seasons. Let's say that from the capacity plan, we know the required capacity for Black Friday, and therefore we assign people to shifts and workstations specifically for this week.

The following shift plan is on a "week" granularity. It is just an example for a few warehouse operatives and just for one month.

Please notice that we use a spreadsheet only to show the principle, and because many planners still use them, but please read this if you want to know why spreadsheets are bad.

We could break down the weekly granularity, but that's simple, and we leave that to the reader's imagination.

Weekly & Intraday Balancing

Even if we plan proactively, we know that the warehouse remains VUCA. The best plan cannot prevent numerous reactive changes throughout the weekly and daily operations. To keep VUCA in check, we need to

Often, intraday balancing is highly complex. One needs to balance (changing) orders, incoming haulers (early or late), sick leaves, technical downtimes, and more. The operational flow and efficiency depend on the knowledge and experience of the operational people. They know exactly how to handle fluctuations and exceptions. They sometimes know by watching the material flow or by listening to the sound of the plant that something is wrong and that they have to react.

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