Moving From Job-Based to Task-Based Scheduling

Moving from Job-Based to Task-Based Scheduling: Understanding the Basics

Andy Drozinski
Customer Program Manager

If you followed recent blog posts by Logile, specifically the “Scheduling Insights” series, you learned about the four most common approaches to scheduling. In this post, we focus on using different types of available data to drive scheduling in a variety of ways.

One aspect to consider in scheduling is utilizing job-based or task-based schedules. Ideally, this decision needs to be made while the labor model is initially configured; that said, changes can be made retroactively. Deciding on job- or task-based schedules has a huge impact on schedule effectiveness. Labor standards, labor tasks and job codes must be configured symphonically to get the most out of your scheduling toolset.

Let us define a few terms before going onward:

  • A labor task is a collection of labor standards that are undertaken by the same employee or group within the store. These can be high level or granular depending on your approach, and they can vary throughout the store.
  • The definition of job-based scheduling is intuitive. Employees are scheduled to complete work based on their job code. This means labor standards are grouped into minimal labor task buckets that align with the typical roles to be scheduled. Examples include cashiering, stocking or service. An employee will likely be scheduled for one or two labor tasks during their shift.
  • Task-based scheduling advances schedules to the next level of detail. Here, employees may be scheduled for an eight-hour shift but can be assigned to multiple labor tasks. These labor tasks will clearly define the work they should focus on at each portion of the shift. Examples include opening duties, cleaning, stocking and prep work.

Task-based scheduling provides significantly more flexibility in scheduling your employees. Rather than grouping all labor demand into two or three buckets for a department, schedules work in a more focused manner.

Let us look at a hypothetical scenario. Maybe there are 30 hours of associate demand for a department on a given day. Scheduling administrators can set up the system to schedule hours in several ways.

  • Job-based scheduling will appropriate the equivalent of three full-time employees (FTEs) to meet this demand and will likely spread the hours evenly throughout the day. In this situation, the store has no visibility regarding how much of the 30 hours are used for opening duties, cleaning, closing duties, stocking, etc. They are all rolled into one bucket.
  • In task-based scheduling, a similar number of FTEs are scheduled, but more employees are staffed when the task demand is higher versus less staffing when demand is lower. Perhaps opening the department requires more work to set up display cases, prepare fresh product, etc. Task-based scheduling allows more associate staffing during opening hours and better utilization of available labor. Job-based scheduling does not have visibility at this level.

To optimize task-based scheduling, cross-train employees and keep their qualifications updated in the scheduling system. This is impactful when meeting the scheduling requirements while minimizing waste. Task-based schedules allow the system to move employees from their primary function to a secondary role(s) when demand may not require labor in the primary job, but scheduling rules for minimum shifts must be met.

Overall, there is a balance to find in system setup because you do not want your tasks too granular, causing employees to constantly change activities. This creates a loss in productive time. In ending, if you are not utilizing task-based scheduling, it is something you might strongly consider. It could take your organization to the next level in schedule optimization.