Academic journal article Research and Practice in Human Resource Management

Personnel Cost Minimisation through Effective Scheduling in a Developing Country: The Nigerian Experience

Academic journal article Research and Practice in Human Resource Management

Personnel Cost Minimisation through Effective Scheduling in a Developing Country: The Nigerian Experience

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The growing business competitiveness worldwide places great challenges on organisations to improve company-customer relationship, quality, and welfare schemes for staff. In Nigeria, the generator servicing industry, which consists of firms that provide alternative sources of power through generator plants and supporting services, is large and continually strives to provide competitive services. Generator servicing organisations in contemporary times require effective and timely allocation of staff and resources to demanding companies who may sometimes require around the clock technical assistance. This paper presents a staff scheduling intervention programme in which the number of staff to be assigned to respective shifts each working day is determined according to the volume of work to be done in order to optimise the total personnel cost for the company. The application of the programming model is to a company operating in Nigeria that provides generator plants and supporting services to clients in diverse businesses. Overall, the paper is an attempt to link application of a theoretical programming model to the practical world of management and HR in a developing country. The problem, which is developed as a linear programme and solved, using Microsoft Excel software, shows that five shifts are required to avoid inefficiencies with a maximum manpower requirement of 41 people, and a cost range from N1,100 to N1,200 for all the shifts. Adequate staff availability is ensured and the cost of wages is minimised at N 135,950 per day. In an endeavour to control inefficiencies, loss of income and goodwill in a generator servicing company, decisions on staff scheduling that are based on analytical techniques are likely to show benefits and advantages. Although this problem is solved for a developing country, it could also be useful for human resources management (HRM) in developed countries where the HRM policies and practices being administered are quite different. The relevance of the study findings for HRM policies and practices is that it provides a mechanism for effective utilisation of human resources, and an opportunity to make the company competitive and effective in its operational activities through a time savings control mechanism.

INTRODUCTION

Globally, there is a growing business competitiveness. This phenomenon has placed great challenges on organisations for improving company-customer relationship, sustainability, staff welfare schemes, quality, flexibility, variety, responsiveness to customers, and reducing costs (Proudlove, Vadera & Kobbacy 1998, Vries & Conradie 2006). Indeed, many businesses have responded to these issues by introducing management philosophies that are impacting the way industry will meet these challenges and the needs of future customers (Holdsworth 2003). There is mounting evidence to suggest that ISO certification is one of the tools that is being increasingly used to face challenges in the marketplace (Yeung, Lee & Chan 2003). And Holleran, Bredahi and Zaibet (1999) noted that the competitiveness in companies depends upon their ability to adopt production processes, which meet quality requirements. Also, proper scheduling of staff could aid in meeting these challenges through personnel cost minimisation, particularly in developing countries and in the advanced HRM countries that are experiencing different systems. For instance, in the generator servicing business, the quest for excellence in performance is driving organisations to explore all possible options for system improvement, particularly with respect to selective recruitment decisions such that the 'best brains' are hired, trained and retrained in order to optimise a company's potential despite the increasingly complex and unpredictable pattern of service demand by customers (Claggett, Hollas & Stansell 1995). This contention is based on the premise that the further development of business needs new and greater requirements in structure and quality of working staff. …

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