The Challenge

Zephyrhills, Florida, northeast of Tampa, calls itself the “Friendly City.” Even so, its police force never sleeps. Staff scheduling gives admin employees a 40-hour week, but officers work 24/7 on a 12-hour, “2-2-3” schedule, and detectives have 10-hour shifts. Everyone is reachable by phone and pager. Capt. Jeffrey D. McDougal, Operations Division Commander, says, “In scheduling police work, emergency and on-call needs can’ t be ignored. Lives are in our hands. We have 24/7 call-ins at a moment’ s notice. Snap Schedule has everyone’ s contact data in it—plus easy-reading screens showing all employee schedules—ready when we need them. Even our Chief of Police is in there!”

But employee schedules weren’ t always so breezy. According to McDougal, “Back when we used Excel templates for staff scheduling, I had to reprint schedules with each change that came up during the schedule’ s duration. It was cumbersome. It encouraged errors—like not giving someone enough hours. It was tedious and I couldn’ t do long-range shift schedules easily, which we need for union requirements.” He adds, “Previously, I spent eight to 12 hours a week staff scheduling in Excel. I had to constantly cut, paste, then double-check if I had overwritten something crucial. I didn’ t have detailed visibility below our patrol sergeants. And, being a spreadsheet, Excel’ s reporting was limited to printing what you could select on a screen. That’ s not always useful when somebody gets an idea for a new work schedule report.”

The Solution

McDougal inspected several shift scheduling software products more modern than Excel for rostering. “Snap Schedule had better visual compatibility with modern Windows programs than the others. It’ s more friendly. I could see better on the screen what was happening in the community. I have drag-and-drop scheduling. I can email shift schedules to my people. The reporting power blew me away. You see and sort your data by almost any criteria, so shift schedule reports to management are truly meaningful.

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“Snap Schedule was also very affordable compared to other shift scheduling software, which helped us decide to switch. I learned it fast, including vacation requests and time-off scheduling. I’ m very proud of our choice and we are very happy with this employee scheduling software.”

The Benefits

— Snap Schedule Saves Thousands in Police Scheduling

“Snap Schedule has cut my 12 hours per week of shift work scheduling down to three hours,” says McDougal. “If we give the Department back nine hours a week of a captain’ s fully loaded pay, Snap Schedule paid for itself in less than two weeks. And it saves our patrol sergeants time, too. The other weeks in the year are gravy.

“Snap Schedule makes changes and variables easier to manage,” says McDougal. It lets me generate shift and rotation schedules for a year into the future, or even more. I see better what’ s happening and can compensate for unexpected high demands or last-minute time-offs for family matters. I also print shift and rotation scheduling reports to compare with payroll, so we have a reality check.”

— Cutting Police Overtime Costs by 35 to 50 Percent

But the municipality’ s savings were just beginning. McDougal reports, “At a meeting of department heads, the City Manager praised our Chief because we had saved $80,000 by only using one-third of our available overtime budget. That was due to our tighter shift work scheduling. And Snap Schedule will extend those savings into the future.

“We went from using 60 percent of available budget year-to-date down to 30 or 40 percent. That saves taxpayers direct and indirect costs. If we add that windfall to the hours the schedule planner saves, Snap Schedule employee scheduling software can pay for itself in a few days.”