How to Optimize Shift Planning on a Restricted Budget in any Air Traffic Control Organization

Having to work with a strict budget usually builds up stress, because no one wants to go over the limit and be criticized by managers. ANSPs facing limitations on the budget may find it impossible to upgrade to Automated Rostering Platforms. What most managers don’t know is that available options are not as expensive as they think. In fact, ineffective scheduling is more often linked to the main reasons for loss of profit, so saving time and delivering efficient scheduling by using automation, will save you more money on long-term investment.



In a dynamic environment, such as ATM, workload changes continuously, from a season to another, sometimes even quicker, due to upcoming events that result in a traffic increase/decrease. Having to accurately manage the workload when millions of possibilities are available for ATCOs scheduling may result in dozens of worked hours without finding the optimal solution. This implies costs and in the time spent for finding the best solution, the ANSP can face overstaffing or understaffing of employees. In both situations, the consequences are hard to digest, as for overstaffing there are financial losses, and for understaffing the ATCOs will feel overwhelmed by the amount of extra work. Adding sick leaves or unexpected emergencies, everything looks like a job to run from when thinking about being a rostering officer.


We are going to talk about automated rostering techniques that can be used to do outstanding shift work planning while maintaining the costs within boundaries.


1. Save staffing costs by ensuring the right amount of personnel at work

2. Balance shifts between employees to avoid overtime

3. Mitigate human errors or other planning mistakes

4. Keep all data in the same place


1. Save staffing costs by ensuring the right amount of personnel at work

Using automated rostering platforms such as SkyRoster, you will be able to have a proper allocation of ATCOs at work, considering the demand, shifts, and positions to be covered. When defining new manpower requirements, you can simply input the exact number of ATCOs required for a specific shift-type per day, and the roster engine will allocate the right amount of required employees. If the demand suffers modifications over time and more or fewer ATCOs are necessary to cover a specific position, you are also able to change this automatically, thanks to the position view option. This feature allows the managers or the roster officer to input as many ATCOs as needed and in the following image, you can observe that in the morning shift that was taken as an example, instead of three required ATCOs, there were six required on that specific day and timeframe. You will then be able to balance the workflow of supply and demand by the precise assignation of ATCOs and with the help of historical data, it will be easy to predict accurate numbers.



2. Balance shifts between employees to avoid overtime

If your ANSP is understaffed, this will not automatically mean that you’ll be able to avoid overtime, but with correct distribution, you will be able to reduce the number of overtime shifts and permit a fair assignment between ATCOs. The permanent need for overtime represents a sign that the ANSP shall consider hiring more personnel, as in a long-term vision, costs will be diminished and the wellbeing levels of ATCOs will increase. SkyRoster can track all data and generate accurate reports per shift/per request. This function will save you hours of analytics and provide you insights regarding what kind of improvements are needed to empower your long-term vision.


3. Mitigate human errors or other planning mistakes

Using Excel or similar tools for scheduling may be a pain and bring planning mistakes in the process, and even small errors cause unnecessary costs. SkyRoster’s AI integrated tool is ready to mitigate any human error made in manual scheduling and deliver the optimum schedule plan within minutes. All you must do is to correctly input the data and let the engine do the job, and even if you make mistakes, you can simply correct the input and enjoy a coffee while the roster is working.


4. Keep all data in the same place

Cloud storage comes with instantaneous access to data, anytime and anywhere. Regardless of the place you are on the planet, within a few clicks you can have access to your organization's dedicated server where you can manage and view the schedule remotely. SkyRoster allows ATCOs to submit a large variety of requests, such as swap, leave, duty, and the managers can quickly check if there are available substitutions and approve or deny the requests.


Moreover, SkyRoster has the possibility to store all ATCOs information regarding competencies, licenses, and endorsements. Automated messages will be sent days in advance before any license will expire, and the process of renewal is integrated into the application. In just a few seconds the data can be updated, making this process as easy as possible for both parts.


With so many pros of using an automated rostering platform, there is no doubt that even if your organization has a reduced budget, you can move to the next level and reduce both costs and time, while perfecting the work you do. Forget about interconnected business meetings and emails where you ask for license data to be able to allocate shifts or check other excel files to see when an employee is on a leave and start your free plan with SkyRoster today. You will not just save time and money, but improve efficiency with the best rostering solution.

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