Escaping the Excel spreadsheet scheduling quagmire

Many perceive the cost of scheduling spreadsheets to be minimal since templates are available as free downloads and their basic functions can be accomplished by novices. But the ongoing overhead of maintaining these spreadsheet templates drain resources that can be used more profitably elsewhere.

Almost every scheduling manager has a “war story” about scheduling spreadsheet mishaps that caused employee grievances, substantial financial loss, or embarrassing mistakes. Overwriting a formula with data, adjusting the wrong cells, forgetting to hit F9 to recalculate, hiding cells and rows later needed, and inadvertently copying the wrong formula are everyday spreadsheet hazards. Scheduling with spreasheets is a job from hell.

Escape this “spreadsheet scheduling quagmire” and significantly reduce labor costs through efficient scheduling with Snap Schedule employee scheduling software. Read on to learn from ex-Excel users who now use Snap Schedule software to slash hours off of staff scheduling tasks, trim payrolls, cut overtime, publish timely schedules, and deliver easy and accurate management reporting.

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To read our white paper — Scheduling With Spreadsheets: An Inadequate Solution for Modern Employee Schedulingclick here

Back when we used Excel spreadsheet 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.

Previously, I spent eight to 12 hours a week staff scheduling in Excel spreadsheets.   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 template, 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...

Snap Schedule employee scheduling software had better visual compatibility with modern Windows programs...   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...

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.

Jeffrey D. McDougal Captain, Operations Division Commander, Zephyrhills Police Department

To wrestle with [our] complex work schedule in Microsoft Excel required one full-time employee five days a week.   Yet it was still very difficult to keep factors equitable for members.   Our Excel spreadsheets stretched out to column DE—109 columns!   We had a hundred rows down for members and a separate tab for each month.   It was impossible for Excel scheduling templates to encompass and work with all necessary factors.

We had large numbers of people opening and editing the shift schedules.   Excel couldn't digest it all and constantly became corrupted.   Worse, the difficulty of manipulating Excel forced us into rote solutions and routines —not the most efficient or fair way to manage dynamic scheduling.

Snap Schedule is the ultimate solution for employee shift scheduling and rostering. It fit every single one of our parameters, looked easy to work with, had a familiar Microsoft look, and ran on very modern technology...

Snap Schedule is also saving us quite significant payroll costs, as we're using fewer members to get through our caseload.   It gives us the visibility and control to schedule more members for full days of work.   Previously, we often paid full salary for days we could only partially fill with hearings.   Now, Snap Schedule thoroughly fills members' days, so we've cut back on more-expensive part-time staff.   We're rostering more tightly and more frugally.

Evan Pidgeon Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal

Our real-world problem with work force scheduling is that people are people.   Things change constantly.   Someone gets sick, has car trouble, a special event — there’s time-off scheduling — all of which made us crazy when we used Excel templates for shift and rotation scheduling.   It was doable, but that was the hard way.   It took too many steps, largely because different employee schedule functions all had to go on different Excel worksheets.

When I showed Snap Schedule software to management, they were immediately impressed.   Two things hit them.   The sensible screens told them it was modern software, so it would have all the new tools and people would understand it.   It would also be easy to teach and spread to other facilities.   But the payroll projections and people-tracking capabilities sealed the deal.   We have a fixed budget to work with, yet we’ll never short-change a customer.   We have to ensure that our shift schedule has covered all the bases, yet not pay for superfluous staff.   Now we can do all that — and predict the financial results.

Jason Ramsey Scheduling Supervisor, Mississippi Security Police

Accommodating physician’s preferences and changes in Excel was a huge hassle requiring several worksheets.   I had to put different providers in different-colored fonts, which wasn't clear so people couldn't always tell whether, when, and where they were working.   In printouts, I had to manually highlight each provider in a separate color.   Then, verifying thorough coverage and totalling hours for payroll added another five or six hours per week.   I was always up late...

Snap Schedule is exactly designed to cover handle our biggest need —which was Excel's biggest weakness — multiple locations,    I can easily put in scheduled vacations, sudden requests for days off and sick days.   I put in meetings and CME time as shifts and I can repeat patterns I set up.   We easily see if any shift at any location isn’t correctly covered and it alerts me if I try to mis-schedule someone.

I can look down the side and see how many hours I have people working at which location.   Colors tell people where they’re going on which days, and all parties can see that no provider is working extra hours except by request.   Then I email schedules to providers so they see them immediately, which is really helpful.   And I can already tell it will be easy to teach another person to use.   I wish we’d had it years ago.Claudia Foster-Olson, MD, The Vancouver Clinic

Claudia Foster-Olson, MD The Vancouver Clinic

Try It For Yourself

Download Snap Schedule and try it free on your personal computer. The trial period starts on the day you first use our software and automatically expires 30 days after. You can use one of the sample schedules to evaluate the software features or enter real data and use Snap Schedule to schedule and manage your employees.

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Request a Personalized Demo & Consultation

If you prefer personalized online demo from the convenience of your office via Citrix GoToMeeting, we can do that too. We will schedule one of our product specialists to help you set up your schedule, walk you through the many features of our scheduling software, and answer your specific questions. There is no risk, no cost, and absolutely no obligation on your part.

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