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ATC: Manual Scheduling vs. Rostering Automation

Updated: Jun 3


Scheduling lies at the heart of any organization, and ANSPs are no exception. Traditionally, manual scheduling has been the compass guiding us. However, with the evolution of technology and increased organizational complexity, the winds of change are blowing towards automation. The choice now hangs in the balance between manual scheduling and rostering automation.


The Employee Scheduling Software Market Report projects that the market will reach US$ 1079.98 million by 2031, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.1% from 2020 to 2031. This underscores the growing shift towards automated solutions. This transition is not just about efficiency; it's about leveraging data analytics, improving workforce management, and enhancing overall operational flexibility. As organizations continue to navigate this technological evolution, adopting rostering automation solutions becomes increasingly imperative to stay competitive and efficient.



1. Exploring the Terrain of Manual Rostering

Manual rostering navigates the journey of crafting employee work schedules and orchestrating shifts without the aid of automation. While it has its benefits, the path is strewn with potential hurdles. The process can be time-consuming and prone to human error, often resulting in conflicts and inefficiencies. Additionally, the lack of real-time data integration makes it challenging to respond swiftly to unexpected changes or staffing demands, further complicating workforce management. Recent events such as staffing shortages and operational adjustments at Newark Airport, leading to significant cuts in United Airlines' operations for summer 2024, along with multiple delays at Orlando International Airport due to weather and staffing issues, exemplify the limitations of manual rostering in adapting to unforeseen challenges.


2. Charting the Benefits of Manual Rostering

Its economic viability makes it a practical choice for emerging businesses or those operating within budget constraints. Manual rostering gives schedulers a more intimate understanding of each employee's availability, skills, and preferences, thus facilitating the creation of more personalized schedules. Moreover, the implementation of a manual rostering system requires minimal technological know-how and training.


3. Navigating the Pitfalls of Manual Rostering

Nonetheless, manual rostering can be time-intensive, especially for businesses managing many employees or complicated scheduling needs. It is prone to errors, such as double-bookings or incorrect shift assignments. The manual rostering approach struggles to adapt effectively to a growing workforce and increasing organizational complexity. The lack of real-time updates on employee availability or shift changes can create miscommunication and confusion. Its limited analytical capabilities also hinder effective labor cost tracking or schedule optimization considering factors such as employee productivity. Moreover, in a manual system, conveying schedule changes or updates to employees can be a challenging task.


4. Rostering Automation: Charting a New Course

Rostering automation, on the other hand, uses specialized tools to create and manage employee work schedules. This innovative approach brings a range of benefits as well as some unique challenges. A rostering automation platform means leveraging advanced algorithms and data analytics to ensure optimal scheduling. It takes into account various factors such as employee skills, availability, labor laws, and organizational needs to generate efficient and balanced rosters.


5. The Upsides of Rostering Automation

A rostering automation platform significantly cuts down on the time and effort required for scheduling, making the process more efficient. It ensures precision in shift assignments, reducing the chance of errors. This method is particularly beneficial in labor cost management as it considers labor laws and overtime regulations. It allows for greater adaptability to accommodate shifts in employee availability or scheduling demands. A rostering automation platform provides real-time updates on employee availability, facilitating clear and timely communication. Additionally, automated rostering possesses superior analytical capabilities, aiding organizations in labor cost tracking, report generation, and schedule optimization.


6. The Downsides of Rostering Automation

However, the shift towards automated rostering does come with upfront implementation costs and a necessary learning phase. Its dependency on technology could render it vulnerable to technical issues or system failures. Despite considering a range of factors, it might miss the personalized understanding of individual employee preferences that manual rostering provides. Employee resistance to this new method could also be a hurdle.


7. Sensing the Winds of Change

Although both methods carry their own strengths and weaknesses, there are tell-tale signs that a transition from manual rostering to automation could be beneficial. Growing workforce complexity, laborious manual procedures, challenges in managing employee preferences, communication difficulties, inefficient resource utilization, compliance necessities, and scalability with growth are significant indicators.


8. SkyRoster: Ushering in a New Era of ATCOs Scheduling

SkyRoster, a rostering automation platform, provides a significant uplift for ATCOs. It fine-tunes shift allocation, ensures regulatory compliance, encourages fair and balanced scheduling, delivers real-time updates and notifications, and efficiently manages time-off and overtime. Its powerful reporting and analytics enable managers to make informed decisions.


By automating the process, SkyRoster substantially enhances scheduling efficiency, compliance, and fairness. It harmonizes automation and the human element, ensuring ATCOs' qualifications and preferences are respected while mechanizing labour-intensive and error-prone tasks.


9. Time for a Paradigm Shift

In closing, the choice between manual rostering and rostering automation hinges on an organization's unique requirements and circumstances. However, with technology advancing and organizational complexity escalating, the momentum towards automation is apparent. SkyRoster is here to revolutionize scheduling operations and bring a new level of efficiency and fairness.


Begin your SkyRoster journey today and experience the incredible benefits that automation can bring to your organization. Take a step forward by scheduling a product tour!



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