• 5 Things You Should Know About Overtime

    5 Things You Should Know About Overtime

    April 23, 2019

    Quantity Matters.  If your workforce is complaining about overtime, don’t assume that it’s always because there is too…

  • About our website

    About our website

    April 6, 2019

    Why do people visit our site? What services do they find the most valuable? How to contact us.

  • Optimizing Staffing Levels - Part 5: Employee Preferences

    Optimizing Staffing Levels - Part 5: Employee Preferences

    April 1, 2019

    A discussion about how employee preferences can impact your optimal staffing level.

  • Optimizing Staffing Levels - Part 4: External Issues and Your Employees

    Optimizing Staffing Levels - Part 4: External Issues and Your Employees

    March 29, 2019

    How do things like local unemployment and wage competition affect your staffing decisions?

  • Optimizing Staffing Levels - Part 3: Operational Roles

    Optimizing Staffing Levels - Part 3: Operational Roles

    March 28, 2019

    Different operational roles require different staffing considerations when changing schedules.

  • Optimizing Staffing Levels - Part 2: Industry Specific

    Optimizing Staffing Levels - Part 2: Industry Specific

    March 27, 2019

    Every industry has its own needs which define their particular optimized staffing level.

  • Optimizing Staffing Levels Part 1 - Knowing Your Costs

    Optimizing Staffing Levels Part 1 - Knowing Your Costs

    March 26, 2019

    A discussion about the costs of various labor options including overtime, straight time and temporary workers.

  • Expanding Operations With a Scarce Labor Pool and an Unpredictable Workload

    Expanding Operations With a Scarce Labor Pool and an Unpredictable Workload

    November 29, 2018

    This is a short case study on a recent shiftwork project in manufacturing. The company wanted to increase output while the demand for workforce was high.

  • Best Practices

    Best Practices

    October 22, 2018

    A list of 50 Best Practices for Shiftwork Operations

  • An introduction into optimal staffing levels

    An introduction into optimal staffing levels

    October 16, 2018

    The most important factors determining optimal staffing levels.

  • Why is changing schedules so difficult?

    Why is changing schedules so difficult?

    October 12, 2018

    A brief discussion explaining the difficulty in changing the work schedule of your employees.

  • Knowing the Unknown

    Knowing the Unknown

    September 27, 2018

    Companies are dynamic in that there are always a lot of moving parts. How can you tell what action will cause a desired outcome if you have less than perfect information?

  • Seasonal and Unbalanced Scheduling: A case study

    Seasonal and Unbalanced Scheduling: A case study

    April 26, 2018

    How a new mixed schedule help tackle seasonality while satisfying both workers and managers.

  • The Cost of Time

    The Cost of Time

    April 24, 2018

    Suppose I asked you the following question:  "Will an employee make more or less money when they work overtime?"

  • Provide Work-Life Balance

    Provide Work-Life Balance

    May 31, 2017

    Attract and keep employees by knowing what they want, and how to distribute workload.

  • Work-Life Balance

    Work-Life Balance

    May 2, 2017

    How to provide a shift schedule that gives your workforce the work-life balance they need.

  • A bird in the hand

    A bird in the hand

    February 8, 2017

    8-hour or 12-hour schedules?

  • Management By Walking Around

    Management By Walking Around

    October 28, 2016

    Leadership on the shop flleadership management by walking around employee engagement work-life balance shift work shiftwork consultingoor

  • Peripheral Vision

    Peripheral Vision

    September 16, 2016

    A list of things and areas that need to be looked at before you change schedules in your main area of focus.

  • Workforce Scheduling for Food Manufacturing

    Workforce Scheduling for Food Manufacturing

    August 25, 2016

    What makes scheduling food manufacturing different from other types of manufacturing?

  • Staffing? - Good Question

    Staffing? - Good Question

    August 4, 2016

    Considerations for staffing your shiftwork operations

  • 5 things H.R. needs to know about shiftwork

    5 things H.R. needs to know about shiftwork

    July 12, 2016

    Human Resource considerations for shiftwork operations

  • Yes, it's personal

    Yes, it's personal

    July 5, 2016

    The shiftworker perspective

  • 5 Signs that you may need a new shift schedule

    June 30, 2016

    Signs that you need a new shift schedule

  • The impact of overtime on salaried personnel

    June 28, 2016

    shiftwork policies and overtime for salaried personnel.

  • Change Management

    January 19, 2016

    change management in a shiftwork operation

  • Preparation is part of Doing

    November 9, 2015

    I just saw a post on LinkedIn where a LEAN expert mentioned that 20% of implementing LEAN is having the right tools. The other 80% is mindset. In…

  • Be Careful What You Ask For - Part One

    October 1, 2015

    12-hour shift 8-hour shift long shift fixed shift rotating shift shift length afternoon shift crew size required staffing annual workdays shift patterns

  • The next generation of shift work schedules

    September 3, 2015

    How can organizations attract people to jobs that require work on nights and weekends when unemployment drops and wage pressure rises?

  • Sleepiness and the Shiftworker - how to improve the alertness of your employees

    May 29, 2015

    Suggestions for improving employee alertness

  • Shift Schedules for the Food Manufacturing Industry - how to eliminate overcapacity

    March 4, 2015

    How a food processor saved capacity and eliminated over-sanitation by changing from 5-day operation to 7-day opearation

  • Don't tell me what to do!

    November 21, 2014

    After 26 years of working with hourly employees all the way up to senior corporate executives, one thing strikes me as a universal truth - We…

  • Non-wage Solutions to Rising Wage Pressure

    October 15, 2014

    How the right schedule can help attract workers when there is a lack of labor and little to no room to raise wages?

  • What is the Worst Shift to Work? Night Shift? Afternoon Shift?

    October 6, 2014

    In my last post I talked about shift workers' preferred shift, which is day shift, and the implications of that preference on worker…

  • Everyone Wants to Work Day Shift, Right? Think again!

    September 29, 2014

    We all know that shift work, and especially night shift, is difficult. For some folks it can lead to disrupted sleep patterns and non-traditional…

  • How many people does it take to staff your schedule? (Part 2)

    September 23, 2014

    How many people does it take to staff a schedule with full time or/and part time workers using different shift patterns.

  • How many people does it take to staff your schedule? (Part 1)

    September 11, 2014

    How many people does it take to staff a schedule

  • The difference between "a schedule" and "your schedule"

    August 27, 2014

    Dealing with misleading assumptions about shift patterns and schedules

  • Safety Footnotes

    August 1, 2014

    safety in shift work

  • Overtime: A Grab-Bag of Information

    July 16, 2014

    finding the optimal level of overtime; solving productivity and overtime with schedules

  • Overtime: Fact V. Fiction

    July 8, 2014

    the real costs and benefits of overtime, the difference between straight and overtime costs

  • Our Clients Are Talking

    June 18, 2014

    Client testimonies - how Shiftwork Solutions helps organizations achieve more, have satisfied customers and workers

  • How to engage our services

    May 27, 2014

    How we work with clients .

  • Mixed shift schedules

    May 7, 2014

    Please click the schedule below to view the Flash presentation.

  • Draft Day - Assigning shifts on the new schedule

    April 28, 2014

    how to offset the anxiety that comes with change when assigning workers to their new shift and crew

  • 3-Crew shift scheduling

    April 24, 2014

    Click on the picture below to see the presentation:

  • Changing Schedules 101

    January 20, 2014

    DO-s and DON't-s of changing schedules

  • 6-day schedules (part 4)

    September 6, 2013

    how to cover 6-day schedules

  • 6-day schedules (part 3)

    August 20, 2013

    This is the third in a series about 6-day schedules.  I recommend you read 6-day schedules (part 1) and 6-day scheduled (part 2) before going…

  • 6-day schedules (part 2)

    July 24, 2013

    Part I of this series was posted a few days ago and discussed some of the problems surrounding 6-day schedules.  I recommend you read that…

  • 6-day schedules (part 1)

    July 16, 2013

    transitioning to 24/4 - 6-day operations

  • 10-hour shifts - Part I-IV

    May 7, 2013

    This post is the fourth and final post in a series about 10-hour shifts.  If you have not already seen the first three posts in this series, I…

  • The Weekend Warrior Trap

    April 30, 2013

    Pros and cons of the Weekend Warrior - covering 24/7

  • Making shift assignments

    April 29, 2013

    making a schedule change

  • 10-hour shifts - Part Three

    April 22, 2013

    This post is the third in a series about 10-hour shifts.  If you have not already seen the first two posts in this series, I recommend you do so…

  • 10 Hour Shifts - Part Two

    April 19, 2013

    This is the second in a series of presentations about 10-hour shifts.  Click Here if you want to see "10 Hour Shifts - Part One"…

  • 10-Hour Shifts - Part One

    April 15, 2013

  • Scheduling Your Maintenance Crew on a 24/7 Operation

    April 9, 2013

    Before a company goes to 24/7 operations, they typically reserve the weekend for much of their maintenance work - run the equipment on the weekdays…

  • Where did all of the 8-hour shifts go?

    April 1, 2013

    In today's work environment, compressed work weeks, telecommuting and competition for labor have conspired to make 8-hour shifts a vanishing…

  • Staffing and Scheduling - The Compressed Work Week

    March 29, 2013


    This posting is the first in a series of posts that will examine the relationship between the schedule your employees are working and the…

  • Staffing, overtime and your schedule

    March 25, 2013

    One of the most common and misunderstood issues surrounding schedules is the relationship between staffing, overtime and the schedule itself.


  • The Impact of Local Unemployment

    March 4, 2013

    More often than not, companies come to us when they are out of capacity.  Overtime is high and the workforce is becoming tired. …

  • How will a new schedule impact your Employee Handbook?

    February 28, 2013

    Measure twice, cut once.

    This adage is as applicable to a schedule change as it is for those in the carpentry trade.

    Make one mistake and…

  • Scheduling Supervision

    February 24, 2013

    Let's cut right to the chase on this one: Should supervisors be on the same schedule as the people that they supervise?

    The answer is…

  • Is Overtime Really a Problem?

    February 19, 2013

    I recently participated in an online forum about the "Evils of Overtime."  I was surprised at how uniformly overtime is seen as…

  • Why should you consider changing your shift schedule?

    February 14, 2013

    Changing shift schedules is not like changing the curtains in your kitchen.

    Its complicated.  It disrupts your workforce.  It takes a…

  • About this blog

    February 12, 2013

    Welcome to my blog on Shiftwork Operations.

    My name is Jim Dillingham and for the last 25 years, I've had a job that some have called a…

  • Use Your Data - Part 2

    April 25, 2011

    Yesterday the New York times published an article about companies that use their data for decision-making. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, doing so…

  • Use Your Data -- Know Your Business

    April 5, 2011

    Over the last 20 years I have evaluated the operations of hundreds of manufacturing, processing, mining, and service organizations. Three things I…

  • The FDA and Sanitation

    March 22, 2011

    Everyone in the food industry is rapidly becoming aware of the new sheriff in town.

    The FDA has vastly more authority than it did only a few…

  • Covering a 12-hour vacancy

    May 17, 2010

    There is no doubt that shiftworkers prefer 12-hour shifts over 8-hour shifts. It's not that they like being at work for an extra four hours. They…

  • Help is on the way.

    April 2, 2010

    There is no such thing as a perfectly staffed shiftwork operation. Sure, there will be days when the number of people that show up is exactly the…

  • Call Center Scheduling

    March 23, 2010

    There is a big difference between creating a shift schedule for a manufacturing plant and a call center.

    More often than not, manufacturing tends…

  • When is high overtime appropriate?

    February 1, 2010

    We are typically asked about ways to lower overtime. It is clear that most companies view overtime as a necessary evil. They try to get it as low as…

  • Considerations for Multiple Schedules

    December 10, 2009

    Often, when we start on a project with a company, the question will be asked, "Can we put in more than one schedule?" The intent is to…

  • Alertness on 12-hour night shifts

    December 2, 2009

    The problem with all night shifts, regardless of shift length, is that they don't match up with the lifestyles of the rest of the world. On…

  • A schedule is more than a day-on-day-off pattern

    November 24, 2009

    Most people that come to our site are thinking "I need a shift schedule so all I need to do is search the internet until I find a pattern that I…

  • Lean Manufacturing

    November 12, 2009

    Lean manufacturing is one of those rare production crazes that actually works. People that have never heard of it might immediately think it implies…

  • When should your shifts start?

    November 4, 2009

    There is not a perfect answer for this question. Most 8-hour operations have the day shift start between 6:00 am and 7:00 am. The afternoon shift…

  • Getting the Workforce Involved

    October 19, 2009

    I recently received a telephone call from a company that was having problems with their shift schedule.  The problem, it seemed, was that people…

  • Overtime: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    October 12, 2009

    Overtime is a topic that I could write a book about and still only hit the highlights. My intention is to, from time to time, post something about…

  • "I Need a Nap!" -- It's time to sleep on shift.

    October 6, 2009

    Recently I was meeting with a team of union leaders and managers to discuss their shift schedules and our process for evaluating shift schedules…