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How to Do an Outstanding Sector Planning with Rostering Automation

In the era of automation, having all processes under the same application is attractive for both the management in any organization, as well as the direct users. In our articles, we already explained to you how SkyRoster can be the solution to all your rostering problems, but there is one more developed feature that will make the difference when looking for moving to roster automation. In a few words as a reminder, if you are looking to change from the manual shifting using Excel or any similarities, to automated rostering processes as SkyRoster offers, you will not only have a powerful AI engine, but also a place where to store all information regarding ATCOs, their licenses, a Leave Management feature for both ATCOs and managers, and a Shift Planning feature where the shifts, patterns, and the manpower requirements are defined. All set together leads to a perfectly optimized roster, ready to be implemented as soon as possible.

In the discussions with our clients and other interested ANSP, we always looked for feedback and innovative ideas to improve our product. The idea of creating a Sector Planning feature came after realizing that there can be even more done after the roster is created. Both ATCOs and managers can benefit from this feature, by accessing information regarding how the on-presence time is converted into on-position time.

How to do an outstanding sector planning, step-by-step

1. Define the working positions

The working positions are defined for employees to know exactly what kind of tasks are involved in their working time. For example, a normal ATC Controller position consists of one ATC Executive (EXE) and one ATC Planner (PLC). Other positions can be defined, taking into consideration the actual structure of the ANSP, for example, there can be defined flow managers, ground controllers, supervisors, or shift managers. When creating a new working position, after the name and the code to be displayed in the roster, three constraints can be modified to represent the exact way of working of your ANSP. The first one is the minimum duration in minutes on position, which means how long an ATCO can stay on position. This is followed by the maximum duration in minutes on position, and the last one is the minimum rest time before position. These numbers are all expressed in minutes but can also be checked as unlimited.

2. Define sectors

Once the working positions are defined, the next step is to define the sectors. They can be created and reduced or increased dynamically to deal with the demand. For example, whenever the traffic level is high, there can be more sectors opened and automatically more ATCOs at work, to manage the traffic within each portion of airspace. As the ATCO is limited to controlling just a certain number of aircraft at the same time, the overall levels of safety are achieved due to increasing or decreasing the number of sectors. During the nighttime, or whenever the traffic is lower, the sectors can be grouped or “band-boxed” to allow the ATCOs control over a larger area of airspace. The defined sectors will be later used when building up the sector configuration and the tactical rostering.

As it can be seen in the picture, when creating a new Sector, you can create as many sub-sector divisions as needed, and for each sub-sector, there can be defined both the instantaneous capacity and the hourly capacity. Each division can also contain an unlimited number of subdivisions, so taking into consideration the minimum and maximum capacity, you will have all types of demand covered.

3. Build up sector configuration

Once the sectors and the subdivisions are created, the next step is to configure them. The Sectors Configurations represents the model that defines the way of operation in a certain unit, by taking into consideration the demand. The sector configuration can fit unlimited sectors, that can also be edited to add/remove working positions. It is like a tree-shaped model, where you first define the top-level manpower requirements, where multiple working positions can be added. As observed in the following picture, multiple working positions were defined. Each working position requires a qualification to have valid licenses to be active, and then multiple sectors can be assigned to the same working positions, in the same way in which the tasks are attributed in the real environment.

Moving further to sector division configuration, each sector can have an assigned division, which also we have shown that allows multiple subdivisions configuration. SkyRoster integrates all types of sector configuration, and for each division, you can add as many working positions as needed, but also define single working positions as Multisector Planner, that can have assigned more than one sector, as can be observed in the presented image.

Considering these aspects, a complete overview of the sector can be reproduced, in the same way as you use to work in your ANSP. The next and last step to do is to define the sector openings and then build the first simulation.

4. Define the Sector openings

The Sector Openings are period models that define predicted sector configurations based on previous capacity demand. There is important to actively monitor and collect all data, to be able to predict the demand with high accuracy, as not allocate more or fewer resources than needed. SkyRoster's mission is to allow the Roster officers or managers to create efficient ways to meet the capacity demand and solve staffing problems at the same time.

When creating a sector opening, the way to do it is the same as creating the SOT (Sector Opening Time). You can select a certain sector configuration for each hour or interval of hours and the start & end time. By doing this, you will be able to build the first tactical roster, that will assign the available ATCOs to the positions required. In this way, you will have an updated overview of the demand and observe if there is any staff leakage that can bring extra unnecessary costs.

Using SkyRoster will offer you the possibility to create the perfect roster for your needs and automate and keep all the adjacent work under the same application. You will not only do an outstanding job but also improve the efficiency of ATCOs while saving costs at the same time. Chose to make the step to rostering automation today by Signing up for our Free Plan, or Book a Demo to let us know what are the needs of your ANSP.

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