I never believed that it would be so challenging. Not that I really had much of a clue. At the beginning I had an idea, and a thought that if enough people said encouraging things then I would crack on and deliver it like any other project I have completed. Up to now things have gone well. It’s been slow going at times and I have had setbacks, but I have also learned a lot along the way and I have recently ticked off another milestone towards turning my idea into a product.
I started working over 30 years ago, in 1985. In a world of piece work bonus schemes, stopwatches and calculators. Work Study was my trade and Time and Motion studies the main part of my job. However, quite quickly the landscape started to change.
Desktop computers and spreadsheet applications soon appeared, followed by many new systems built around the new technology. There was a brief period where Work Study looked like it could really take off. Rapid change and technological development means plenty of opportunities to re-engineer processes. But then textiles and other manufacturing industries started to decline. Bonus schemes were out of favour and a new management technique from Japan and the U.S. called Lean became the popular movement. Work Study engineers were increasingly made redundant. Some moved into contracting to pick up what was left of the work, some retired and some looked for new avenues to explore.
I was in the camp that needed, and wanted, to evolve. In my view the implementation of operations management systems was an opportunity, so I supplemented my knowledge of process improvement and productivity management by doing courses in spreadsheets and databases. In time, I worked out how to add value by turning these new sources of data into information. Data mining enabled me to identify new sources of waste and inefficiencies and provide new solutions to improve processes.
In time I became more of an analyst than an engineer, and I became more involved in planning processes looking at capacities, flows and resources, mainly in logistics operations. This is how I came to specialise in operational workforce planning and eventually how I ended up writing a training course in the Spring of 2017.
Next time I’ll look back at my experiences in operational workforce planning; the good, the bad and the ugly.