Planning of personnel resources cannot be done while ignoring its impact on the daily life of employees. This is especially true for operations in which people have to work during week-ends and at night. On one hand, planning should be done as late as possible in order to better take into account market variations; on the other hand, people need to know sufficiently in advance what their work schedule will be, so that they can organize their private life. As a result, the interest of the employees can directly conflict with the interest of their company.

Kernel Software’s systems provide an elegant solution to the issue: by combining automatic planning tools with personal request systems (*), they make it possible to create schedules which take into account the individual wishes of the employees while achieving better global productivity. Changes in the business processes which would have been fiercely resisted by the employees become acceptable because better technology has created possibilities whose benefits can be shared between the operator and its employees.

There is one feature which is critical to the success of the approach, and for which Kernel Software has a unique track record: its personal request systems are real-time request systems. The concept is so new that it requires some explanation:

A personal request system enables employees to request the rest periods and/or tasks they like most. An obvious problem is that many employees have similar requests (typically, almost everybody likes to avoid shifts starting early in the morning or extending into the week-end). The main function of a personal request system is thus arbitrage: when too many employees request the same rest period or task, the request system must apply fairness rules (**) in order to decide which requests will be granted and which ones will be denied.

If arbitrage is done off-line (for instance, once per month), the employees whose requests are denied do not have the possibility to submit a different request. This is why it is critical that a request system be a real-time system, in which arbitrage is recalculated whenever a request is submitted, and the employee knows immediately whether his request has been granted.

Real-time request systems are a technical challenge, because checking whether a request is compliant with labor rules can be extremely complex, and because a new request can cause many existing requests to be denied and/or re-satisfied in another way. Kernel Software relies on its high-speed labor rule checker and on parallel computing techniques in order to provide real-time request system for very large companies.

(*) In the world of airlines, personal requests systems are often called preferential biding systems.
(**) Fairness rules can take into account a variety of factors such as seniority, number of similar requests which were granted in the past, family situation, etc.
Automatic Planning
Employee Satisfaction
Labor Rules Modeling