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Conference Room B, April 8, 3:45pm (CST)

April 11, 2016 | Workforce Management

Harry Sparks, often referred to as “Sparky”, but only behind his back, is the finance director at a food processing plant with 650 employees located on the banks of the Red Cedar River. Every Friday, Harry, along with Frank Espinoza, the plant’s operation’s director, Mary Fitzpatrick, the facilities’ human resource coordinator, and Jack “don’t ever call me the Golden Bear” Nicklaus, trudge the metal stairs up to the second floor Conference Room B, fondly, or not so fondly named, The Sit Room, partly because if you were asked to go there, you’d be told to sit, and the next action might well be the Situation you never wanted to hear.

The conversation this Friday was the same as the last, which was the same as almost every Friday for the entire year. “Listen Frank, this has got to stop,” said Harry in his usual, nasal-tinged voice making people long for the delicate sounds of twin jackhammers tearing-up the sidewalks of downtown Chicago. “Overtime for this pay period was 14% Frank; overtime for the last pay period was 18%.” Without missing a beat, Frank responded, “Not only should you thank me, you should buy me dinner, don’t you know actual overtime costs are running 20-40% across the country?”

As was almost always the case, Mary sided with Frank and contributed her two-cents by adding, “Harry, for the last time I’m going to tell you what you’re unable to get a grasp of. Without the right workforce management software, you’re going to get the same response from Frank and me. We can easily reduce overtime, and in some payroll periods, eliminate it, when we have the demand-driven scheduling and forecasting resources at our fingertips.”

Harry countered, “It’s not in the budget Mary, the upfront costs are simply an expense we cannot afford.” As was usually the case, Jack Nicklaus, known as much for clocking the scales at three-bills as he was for his acerbic tongue, said, “Pretty soon YOU won’t be part of the budget Harry. SaaS workforce management solutions don’t cost upfront money, zero Sparks, zip. So, here’s what we’re going to do at next Friday’s meeting. I want all of you to get together and present your overtime avoidance strategy to me, give me your recommendations on how to effectively execute your strategy and the tools you’ll need to do it. Is that clear?”

“Yes it is Jack,” said Frank, “but ‘Sparky’ still owes me dinner.”

To Be Continued...

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Originally published April 11, 2016, updated December 6, 2017
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