To keep Canadian Bloods Services (CBS) networks of 3,500 Windows PCs running smoothly, its National Service Desk is staffed by 22 Client Support Analysts (CSAs) at 19 stations in two locations. National Service Desk management devised nine service shifts covering five days a week, 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM Eastern Time. Off-hours callers reach an on-call service CSA accessed by pager. To efficiently maximize coverage during highest traffic hours, shifts are weighted heaviest during mid-shift.
Besides scheduling staff, the scheduler manages CSAs’ scheduled time off, and must constantly compensate for unpredictable late arrivals, sick days, family issues, and shift-swapping. A co-worker then tracks employees’ exceptions to their schedules and creates comprehensive reports.
Gilles Pinard, Client Support Analyst Team Lead, says, “We previously used Microsoft Excel for shift scheduling, but that consumed 12 to 14 hours a week in scheduling and changes. I was forever copying and pasting, deleting, and republishing. Excel offers no reporting capability in this field, so my co-worker would spend three or four additional hours every week doing reports.”
“Reviews for rostering software suddenly occupied a lot of my time,” says Mr. Pinard. “I looked at many offerings, then installed trial versions to test of Snap Schedule Premium, Easy Schedule Maker, ClockIt, and Schedule it.
“In comparing shift schedulers, my biggest surprise was that only Snap Schedule could auto-generate individual schedules based on a custom-created shift pattern template. Today, with Snap Schedule Premium, after I create our schedule and work in the changes, each person will receive an individual shift schedule by email. Then I publish a report outlining the complete employee schedule on our department web site. I can’t imagine shift scheduling software working any other way.”
To learn Snap Schedule Premium, Pinard chose a sample database from the many that come with Snap Schedule. Software deployment was straightforward. “These databases allowed us the functionality to create our own shift pattern template. We auto-generate shift schedules based on the user’s choice from over 30 shift patterns offered at BMSCentral.com,” says Pinard.
Snap Schedule Premium’s familiar Microsoft Windows® and Microsoft Office® look and feel helped make learning intuitive and easy for first-time users.
Role-based access control ensures that only authorized users perform specified functions, and that sensitive data is visible only to authorized people. Snap Schedule Premium uses Microsoft SQL Server for data storage and works with on-premise Microsoft SQL Server, Web-hosted SQL Server platforms, and Microsoft SQL Azure in the cloud.
“Drag-and-drop scheduling,” Pinard says, “has reduced my previous 14 hours of scheduling time to 8 hours—even including our constant changes. That’s 6 ‘new’ hours I have to help users and coach staff in technology and customer solutions.
“Our biggest time savings, however, is that we can now create, publish and email our work schedules and on-call lists. It’s all done within minutes!”
“Besides that, our previous four hours of reporting time has shrunk to less than 30 minutes.
“I saved 40 percent on staff scheduling time, and my co-worker saved 90 percent on reporting time because Snap Schedule Premium’s built-in reports do just about everything you can think of. They’re configurable and automatically detailed.” Individual and combined overall shift schedules are available online through a secured Web site Mr. Pinard set up.
Pinard credits Snap Schedule Premium features for the department’s new efficiencies:
- Entering data for a new employee is intuitive and centralized
- The program’s common-sense visual interface puts most operations on a single page
- Automated scheduling easily projects shifts forward in time
- The new ability to email schedules ensures all parties immediately know their shifts
“Snap Schedule Premium even gives us an easy way to compare schedules to actual attendance, so we can keep payroll accurate,” he says. Pinard adds, “And we continue to be very impressed with tech support at BMS. It’s fast and responsive. We actually see our suggestions appearing in the next software version.”