“I am trying to set up a schedule that will work for several months. Should I use the Copy Assignments feature or the Auto Schedule feature?”

Snap Schedule and Premium are flexible, perpetual calendar scheduling tools that allow you to create an employee work schedule that meets your immediate needs and then to extend that schedule over a long period of time so that you will only have to address future changes to your plan- like time off requests. Every shift assignment that is valid on November 22nd, for example, that will remain valid on July 9th, will not require additional attention from you when you begin using the July schedule. Only the changes that occur in July-jury duty, vacation, training, etc. will require you to modify the shift assignments effected by the changes. This is called scheduling by exception. If you have any repeatable or consistent shift assignments, you might be able to use the Copy Assignments feature or the Auto Schedule feature in Snap Schedule or Premium.

So, once you determine that you do have some repeatable patterns or consistent assignments, you need to decide whether you should simply copy your shift assignments, shift requirements and task requirements forward to create a long term schedule or whether you will need to create a shift pattern table because you have teams of employees who will always rotate together from one pattern of shift assignments to another pattern of shift assignments-days to nights to swing shift, for example.

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To make this decision, you first need to define the word team. You may be surprised to know that Snap Schedule and Premium simply define a team as a group of employees that always rotates together at the same time to the same location. Let’s see if we can explain the reason for that very narrow view of a team by providing an example-a baseball team. There are 9 positions on the team, but all players (employees,) regardless of position, work the same exact shifts (games) in the exact same locations (the Orioles can’t play the White Sox in Chicago if part of the team stays in Baltimore, part of the team flies to Boston and the rest fly to Chicago). So, the entire team rotates to wherever the shift (game) is scheduled to occur at the location it is scheduled to occur.

In your operation, you may have a team of nurses, or a team of patrol officers or a team of librarians, but for the purpose of assigning their shifts, you don’t assign the entire team to the same department on the same day. If you did, you would have all of your team providing coverage at once, leaving other shifts without coverage. So, if you can define team in your operation as a group of employees (even one employee counts as a team) who always work shifts at the same time and place and then always rotate into a new shift assignment together, then you might want to use the Auto Schedule feature in Snap Schedule or Premium. The Auto Schedule feature will instantaneously create your schedule, incorporating a complete shift pattern table that you create or a shift pattern table that is already built into our pre-designed plans. Either way, all of your rotations for all of your employees will be included in the schedule. Once complete, you will be able to see exactly where each employee will be working two months or two years from now!

If you don’t use teams in your operation but would like to create a schedule that is simply duplicated from week to week, month to month or pay period to pay period, you can use the Copy Assignments feature. This feature works in conjunction with the Shift Coverage Planner and Select an Employee for the Shift feature so that you can define your requirements for each shift and then create a short term schedule that meets those requirements. Once you have created the schedule that meets your needs, you can Copy the shift assignments, all of your shift requirements, any task assignments and even time off assignments. Again, anything that is repeatable can be copied out to a long term schedule. If Mary leaves early every Thursday at 3PM to take her daughter to dance lessons, the long term schedule will reflect that change, without you having to remember. When you get to Feb. 9th and Mary tells you that her daughter’s dance studio is on hiatus, you quickly adjust the shift end time for Mary on that day, and nothing else will require your attention. All future early end time requests will remain intact. With the Copy Assignments feature, you determine the length of the schedule you want to copy and the number of times you want it repeated. You can even copy your schedule to the same time next year rather than just carrying the schedule forward to the next calendar day. Are you especially busy during the holiday season and have completely different requirements and shift assignments during that time of year? Great! Create your schedule and copy it out to next December so that all of those extra requirements are captured the first time and then remain in your schedule, never to be entered again unless they change-remember that term, scheduling by exception? This is another example of how Snap Schedule and Premium make the task of creating and maintaining your employee work schedule more efficient and less work, saving you time, money and sanity!

The Auto Schedule feature and the Copy Assignments feature both have their own purpose and use. They were both designed to maximize efficiency and to organize your work schedule so that you will have important information at your fingertips instantly. The requirements and resources in your operation will likely determine which of these features will work better for you. For more information or help with either the Copy Assignments feature or the Auto Schedule feature, feel free to contact our support team at support@bmscentral.com