Applying mathematical optimization to improve productivity
Once transparency on workload and capacity was achieved, we applied mathematical optimization techniques along different business dimensions to improve workforce productivity. The goal of these optimizations is that of minimizing the cost of delivering contracted services, calculated as workforce cost plus overtime cost plus subcontractors cost.
The first approach applies a capacity planning optimizer in which tasks are redistributed along time and across teams to deliver the required workload with a reduced workforce.
A second approach defines the optimal employees’ shift pattern to better match capacity and demand profiles.
A third approach, called upskilling, adds new skills to employees following predefined skills acquisition criteria, so that weekly service cost is minimized. This optimization is designed to fully leverage synergies across services and allow ISS to exploit its integrated services and self-delivery approach.
A fourth approach defines the optimal subcontracted workload that meets the 3rd party policy and minimizes service cost.
The last optimization approach, SLA optimizer, supports ISS in proposing its customers’ specific win-win changes to its SLAs that would maintain the level of service but reduce service cost.
Reassign workload to teams and redefine workforce size and shifts structure to increase utilization rate.
Sizeable improvements in an industry with low profit margins
The solution was delivered with an intuitive web user interface, where analysts could easily analyze data, experiment with different optimization approaches, explore several scenarios and discuss with site management the most suitable actions that would improve overall workforce efficiency and reduce service cost.
Results led to overall service cost reductions in the order of 10%-15% for sites with over 50 employees and two or three delivered services. Workforce productivity improves up to 20%, share of self-delivered workload is increased and employees are provided with opportunities to increase their skill set and perform tasks across services.