Title: Operator staffing and scheduling for an IT-help call centre

Authors: Hesham K. Alfares

Addresses: Department of Systems Engineering, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, P.O. Box 5067, Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia

Abstract: This paper describes the staffing and scheduling of IT help desk operators for a large petrochemical company. The objective is to reduce the labour cost by determining the best staffing level and employee weekly tour schedules required to meet the workload that varies over a 24-hr operating period. Several steps are taken for the staffing and tour scheduling of an IT help desk agents. First, data on the number of calls is used to estimate hourly labour requirements. Next, new scheduling options are proposed to better match these requirements. An Integer Programming (IP) model is then formulated and solved to determine tour scheduling assignments. Finally, alternative schedules are evaluated in terms of tradeoffs between workforce size and cost, service level and employee utilisation. The chosen tour schedules provide better service with a lower cost and a smaller number of employees.[Received 10 November 2006; Revised 23 April 2007; Accepted 18 June 2007]

Keywords: employee scheduling; staffing; queueing models; stochastic demand; call centre scheduling; integer programming; information technology; IT help desk; help desk operators; petrochemical industry; labour costs; cost reduction.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIE.2007.015389

European Journal of Industrial Engineering, 2007 Vol.1 No.4, pp.414 - 430

Published online: 14 Oct 2007 *

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