Title: Solving Staff Allocation And Scheduling Using ILP
Rydges is a hospitality business in Sydney, Australia that is comprised of eleven hotels and resorts that are located in different parts of the city. This organization is centered on the premise of providing luxurious and affordable accommodation anywhere in Sydney. Rydges has several competitors operating in the same hospitality niche these are: QT hotels and resorts, Atura hotels, Mantra hotel, Ibis budget Sydney hotel, and Pullman Sydney Airport hotel. The Rydges is tailored to meet the accommodation needs of different people based on their accommodation requirements within the city of Sydney. Moreover, the establishment diversified services, cuisines, and entertainment to prioritize the growing demands of customers.
Rydges was founded in 1961 as private company. The organization realized annual revenue of approximately $25 million in 2017. With over three thousand employees the allocation and scheduling of staffing responsibility can prove to be a challenging endeavor. As such, Rydges is required to utilize a mathematically sound approach that will ensure all staffing duties are performed smoothly and within the stipulated work hours (Choi, Hwang & Park 2009). A staff allocation and scheduling problem is difficult to solve because the hotel has to deal with numerous employees with different work hours and diverse workplace roles. Therefore, integer programming is employed to help with determination of the optimal number of employees to use on a given number and the precise duties they will be expected to handle. Integer programming is ideally used because it is able to optimize and assess the feasibility important task that deals with discrete variables like hotel staff members (Burke, Li & Qu 2010).
Integer linear programming is defined as a mathematical assessment technique used to evaluate feasibility and optimization; where all or some of the underlying variables are restricted to integer variables. In an integer linear programming (ILP) problem, the non-integer constraints and the objective function are restricted within a linear paradigm (Burke et al. 2013). Meaning, their functions exhibit a linear relationship between explanatory and response variables. Hence, ILP is categorized under discrete linear optimization. The primary difference between linear programming and integer linear programming lies in the domain of their respective decision variables. The decision variables in linear programming are supposed to be positive real numbers, while, those in integer linear programming are expected to be positive integers. In field of operations management, integer linear programming (ILP) is use to had issues of scheduling, allocation, and optimization. This is done through maximization or minimization of an objective linear function subject to some constraints availed in terms of linear inequalities and equalities (Rocha 2013).
Hotels play a critical role in the service industry of a given country, the presence of sufficient and satisfactory hospitality services will influence the tourism sector of a nation like Australia. As such, Rydges hotels in Sydney Australia are dedicated to the provision of numerous rooms and around the clock meals. The Rydges hotels are located near tourist attraction areas and popular business premises. The establishment of these hotels at serene locations is meant to ensure the organization capitalizes on the accommodation, entertainment, or dinning needs of the Sydney population. This kind of forward thing by management allows Rydges to exploit numerous business opportunities that can be found in Sydney. Moreover, by so doing Rydges hotels and resorts increase market share, brand familiarity, and customer loyalty. These facets are considerably important in the service industry because they drum up competitive advantage that solidifies the going-concern of the business (Lashley 2008).
The performance of Rydges hotels and resorts in Sydney has remained relatively good over the years but it is significantly affected by social, political, and economic factors. Social issues linked to popularity and fashion critically affect how a business is perceived by different generations. As such, the hotels and resorts have to make adjustments that promote business popularity amongst young people while maintaining an image that still appears to the older generation of visitors (Lashley 2008). Political instability and uncertainties such as those witnessed in Australia in 2017 normally result in negative business growth and returns. Therefore, Rydges ensures that it provides first class services to counteract any negative effects associated with the political scene in Australia. The economic welfare of people in Australia will affect how people choose to spend their money. As such, fewer people will be willing to spend a portion of their disposable income on hotel accommodation. The cyclic nature of economic prosperity has ensured that Rydges hotels and resorts maintain affordable prices that will attract guest throughout the year.
Integer Linear Programming
ILP is adapted by a hotel and resort business like Rydges because it helps with the issue of optimizing staff schedule. There are numerous benefits associated with optimized staff schedules; however, the process demands careful planning and decision support systems in order for the Rydges to effectively satisfy: customer needs, cost reduction, shift equity, part-time work, workplace flexibility, and staff preferences. The hospitality industry is highly sensitive to staffing issues, thereby, necessitating the use of feasible and effectively scheduling and allocation metrics (Carrasco 2010). Through the use of ILP availed in computer software, Rydges is able to handle the matter of optimal staffing without the use of tiresome and complex interdepartmental discussions. Using software like Microsoft Excel, one can easily resolve scheduling issues with the help of the in-built optimization add-in Solver. ILP can effectively deal with staff scheduling and allocation by aiding in the construction of work timetables for all employees in the organization that satisfy the demand for Rydges Services with Sydney. The first step in performing ILP for Rydges involves the determination of the number of employees, the duties of these employees and the level of service delivery that is required to be met (Castillo, Joro & Li 2009).
The Underlying Issue
Staff scheduling is a recurring issue in most business enterprises, especially those operating in the hospitality realm like Rydges hotels and resorts (Enz 2009). Staff allocation and scheduling is basically intended to assign workers to particular tasks, work hours/shifts, and leisure periods. Moreover, this activity of staff allocation and scheduling is supposed to take into consideration business rules, State laws, flexibility work agreements, demand needs, and employees’ skills and preferences. As such, scheduling tends to be a complex and major issue for human resource management. However, most organizations still perform this task manually resulting in considerable time and resource consumption that could be avoided with software that supports ILP (De Causmaecker & Vanden 2011). According to Business Analyst, Thompson Enz, there are three main reasons as to why an organization should take this issue seriously is because: the time spent handling staff scheduling and allocation manually limits the time that will be allotted to employee monitoring and interacting with customers; A good staff schedule will improve job performance, thereby bettering the quality of productivity and service delivery; An ideal schedule results in reduced cost by ensuring issues of overstaffing are avoided (Cˆote et al. 2009).
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