Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Henao C.A., Muñoz J.C. and Ferrer J.C. (2015)

The impact of multi-skilling on personnel scheduling in the service sector: a retail industry case

Revista : Journal of the Operational Research Society
Volumen : 66
Páginas : 1949-1959
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


Using personnel scheduling to reduce overstaffing and understaffing in a service industry across multiple periods is often undermined by lack of flexibility due to the exclusive use of specialized personnel. This study analyses the impacts of assigning multi-skilled personnel to different activities and its potential for improving schedule efficiency. A proposed mixed integer linear programming model determines which employees are trained to work in which activities and their assignments over a one-week planning horizon. The model results show that the lowest total-cost multi-skilled configurations are obtained in scenarios where personnel supply and demand are in equilibrium. Half of employees would continue to be specialized for just one activity while the half slated for multi-skilling would be trained in most cases for just one additional activity, even though training cost is assumed to be minimal. It is also shown that multi-skilling is best applied to employees whose contracts are highly flexible.