Background and Challenges
arvato’s Muenster site opened in the year 2000. Its core business is handling customer service and technical support calls on behalf of various companies; in addition, it accepts sales orders and manages campaigns. Over 500 agents answer customer queries during arvato’s business hours, which include weekends and late evenings. At peak times, all 350 desks in the center are occupied. arvato Muenster is a multilingual operation: agents deal with customers in 18 languages. On average, approximately 10,000 inbound calls are answered each day and call handling accounts for about 95% of agents’ work. The remaining time is devoted to outbound calls and handling e-mails and faxes. The average handling time (AHT) for inbound calls is about 8 minutes. Since the fall of 2006, agents in the telecommunications and IT business unit have been focused mainly on technical support for a specific entertainment system. This is a seasonal business with peaks during the Christmas period and when new games are released. Scheduling of agents needs to take this seasonality into account.
For many years, the workforce, 30% of which is part-time and 70% full-time staff, was scheduled using a spreadsheet tool which was developed in-house. However, the planners on the Muenster site are now responsible for scheduling not only their own staff but also those at arvato sites in Tallinn (Estonia), Gurgaon (India), Casablanca (Morocco), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Malmö (Sweden), and Venlo (Netherlands). The fast growth of arvato sites and the increasing complexity meant that the spreadsheet tool increasingly failed to support the business and also consumed an unacceptable amount of planning time.
Hence, arvato services required a tool which is capable of handling the long business hours, the volatile volume of inbound calls, and the challenge of scheduling agents according to their various language skills. The coordination of the in-house carpooling agency and observing the legal requirements in each of countries where arvato is active added to the complexity.
Having proven its functionality and reliability at the Wilhelmshaven and Guetersloh sites, InVision Enterprise WFM (iWFM) naturally gained top ranking in the shortlist of possible solutions for Muenster. During arvato´s analysis of available workforce management systems when these two sites had to pick a solution, iWFM had excelled by its comprehensive functionality. Despite its complexity and broad range of scheduling functions, the software provides a convenient user interface and intuitive operating processes. Moreover, company-specific scripts can easily be integrated and the solution’s own Software Development Kit gives arvato the control to respond to specific requirements at will. The solution’s quality is matched by the quality of InVision’s Professional Services: project management, consulting, and technical support.
Within two months, iWFM was implemented at the Muenster site, including training of planners and supervisors. A crucial aspect of the implementation was to ensure that iWFM generates shifts which comply with the works council agreement regarding working hours and shift conditions in Muenster.
The first live schedules were successfully created soon after implementation was completed. The staffing requirement calculation takes into account the following data: The number of calls per day and week as recorded in the past year, the total number of calls throughout the past four weeks and factors provided by the customer such as the release of a new game changes in price. Scheduling is done using a 30-minute-interval structure and shift duration varies between 4 and 9 hours. Using AutoScheduler, a central module of InVision’s solution, planners can create requirement-driven and optimized schedules at the push of a button while meeting all scheduling constraints. This is possible because AutoScheduler handles the entire scheduling and optimization process in a single step, starting from the long-term assignment of working hours per day all the way to defining individual activities to be performed within the course of a day. In the middle of each month, employees are given their schedules for the following month. The AdherenceMonitor real-time adherence feature is used to monitor and manage staff deviation from schedule in real time. iWFM also enables the planner to get instant feedback on sick leave levels and other critical data, e.g. calls per week or per language, all from one system.
Efficiency has improved by 15 to 20% compared to the previous solution. These savings arise in a number of ways. Periods of staff under-utilization were significantly reduced and productivity increased. The time taken for staff planning, previously excessive, dropped significantly: Where 5 planners used to take a week to schedule the staff of one site, the same number of planners now completes the scheduling for all 7 sites in the same amount of time. iWFM will continue to add value by virtue of its open, stable, and scalable technology.
The fact that InVision Enterprise WFM supports multi-site scheduling and is capable of mapping virtual structures is a special benefit that lends itself to the multiple-site challenge faced by the arvato service center of Muenster: Here, the scheduling of the Muenster agents as well as the staff of 6 other sites, some of them overseas, is handled. Initially, a virtual staff requirement for all sites is determined; then the planners in Muenster conduct scheduling centrally for all sites, while taking into account local constraints such as local labor laws. Schedules are completed, in keeping with each site’s scheduling rules, and then automatically checked for consistency with local guidelines. These rules and guidelines can include laws, contract or union provisions down to individual agreements with sites and employees. This scheduling procedure has run smoothly ever since implementation.
Employees have also welcomed the migration and respond positively to a system that takes into account their needs. The Infothek Interactive Schedule module provides employees with the opportunity to swap shifts in an automated, paper-free process and to get at-a-glance information on their current schedules and upcoming changeovers to other activities.
Having successfully implemented InVision Enterprise WFM, arvato services is now planning to take advantage of it for more projects handled at the Muenster site apart from technical support for the entertainment system. Furthermore, scheduling-related analysis and monitoring is to play a more important part. The software automatically records deviations from the schedule in real time. This enables the Muenster site to guarantee efficient staff deployment at all times.
Customer Quote: Ralf Voigt, Director Staff Planning Team, arvato services at Muenster site
"By using the workforce management solution InVision Enterprise WFM, we are now in a position where we can achieve optimal requirement coverage across our internationally dispersed sites while improving our efficiency by 15 to 20 pecent thanks to automated optimized scheduling."
About injixo Ltd:
Cloud Based Workforce Management Software
Published: Tuesday, February 24, 2009
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