• Case Study - Manufacturing

    Case Study - Manufacturing

    November 29, 2018

    This is a short case study on a recent project in manufacturing.

  • 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

  • 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

    The situation: A distribution center with 350 employees Last year they ran 38 Saturdays Highly seasonal with 3 months having no weekend…

  • 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

    A frequent lament I've been hearing for the last 30 years is "Today's kids don't have the work ethic of their parents."

  • A bird in the hand

    A bird in the hand

    February 8, 2017

    I help companies change schedules. I do this for a living.

    Some people think the hardest part is coming up with a schedule. Generally speaking,…

  • Management By Walking Around

    Management By Walking Around

    October 28, 2016

    Wage pressure is here.

    Every site I go to the number one issue is "How can we get the people we need to produce at the level we need to…

  • Peripheral Vision

    Peripheral Vision

    September 16, 2016

    Once, back in my Navy days, I was the Chief Engineer on a cruiser.  This was a 24/7 job where it seemed that everything was a priority all of…

  • Workforce Scheduling for Food Manufacturing

    Workforce Scheduling for Food Manufacturing

    August 25, 2016

    Over the last 30 years, we at Shiftwork Solutions have worked with dozens of food manufacturing facilities.  One thing that always strikes us is…

  • Staffing? <-Good Question

    Staffing? <-Good Question

    August 4, 2016

    Considerations for answering - How Many Do I Hire?
    I’m a shiftwork expert so my posts are always centered on shiftwork operations. …

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

    5 things H.R. needs to know about shiftwork

    July 12, 2016

    Let's start with this - My intent with this post is NOT to tell H.R. how to do their job. Rather, I want to round up many of the issues…

  • Yes, it's personal

    Yes, it's personal

    July 5, 2016

    I'm often asked "Jim, what is the single most important thing we, as an organization, can do to better facilitate a schedule change."

  • 5 Signs that you may need a new shift schedule

    June 30, 2016

    Shift schedules rarely fail overnight.  Typically, there are plenty of warning signs; signs that tell you to take action before it's too…

  • The impact of overtime on salaried personnel

    June 28, 2016

    Since president Obama signed (28 May 2016) legislation raising the minimum bar for salaried people to qualify for overtime, I have been getting two…

  • Change Management

    January 19, 2016

    Let’s suppose someone walked into your office and said, “I just did some math and it looks like we need to make a change.” At that…

  • 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

    Once upon a time, about 28 years ago now, nearly every 24/7 operation in the country was using some version of a rotating 8-hour schedule.  Ten…

  • The next generation of shift work schedules

    September 3, 2015

    As unemployment drops and wage pressures rise, companies are scrambling to find ways to attract people.  This is an especially challenging task…

  • Sleepiness and the Shiftworker

    May 29, 2015

    This is a 31 minute presentation on the impact of sleepiness on your workforce.  Included are some suggestions for improving the alertness of…

  • Shift Scheduling for Distribution Centers

    May 11, 2015

    Let's start with the disclaimer that "I am not showing you the answer to scheduling for every distribution center in the world."


  • Shift Schedules for the Food Manufacturing Industry

    March 4, 2015

    Shift work - The more you learn about it, the more you find out how much you didn't know.

    I have friends that know very little about what I do…

  • 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

    We all knew this was coming. We watched and cheered as unemployment numbers dropped, month after month. This meant the economy was recovering.…

  • 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

    There is a short answer and a long answer to this question.  Here is a link to the short answer.  Now for the long…

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

    September 11, 2014

    As with most shiftwork related issues, the question of "How Many?" has a short and a long answer.

    Here is a link to the long answer.

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

    August 27, 2014

    The number one way that companies find a shift schedule is to hold a meeting and ask, "So, does anyone know of any shift schedule…

  • Safety Footnotes

    August 1, 2014

    At Shiftwork Solutions, safety concerns are definitely something we have to pay attention to.  We keep abreast of safety research as it applies…

  • Overtime: A Grab-Bag of Information

    July 16, 2014

    I am an overtime expert.  I have worked with companies around the world for more than 25 years helping them address staffing and scheduling…

  • Overtime: Fact V. Fiction

    July 8, 2014

    It is not unusual for a company to contact us with the following idea: "If I can just put in the right schedule, I will save a ton of money on…

  • Our Clients Are Talking

    June 18, 2014

    Every now and then, we like to make sure that people recognize that we not only know a lot about shiftwork, but we bring that high level of expertise…

  • How to engage our services

    May 27, 2014

    There is a book by Malcolm Gladwell called Blink, the Power of Thinking Without Thinking.

    In a nutshell, he talks about how too much information…

  • Mixed shift schedules

    May 7, 2014

    Please click the schedule below to view the Flash presentation.

  • Draft Day - Assigning shifts on your new schedule

    April 28, 2014

    As you go through a process to change your shift schedule, your workforce will experience several different emotions; mostly in a predictable…

  • 3-Crew shift scheduling

    April 24, 2014

    Click on the picture below to see the presentation:

  • Changing Schedules 101

    January 20, 2014

    Every now and then, I like to return to the basics.  Today I'm going to cover some of the basic DOs and DON'Ts for those of you…

  • 6-day schedules (part 4)

    September 6, 2013

    This is the fourth and final post in a series of four posts regarding 6-day schedules.  Here are the links to 6-day schedules (part 1),

  • 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

    Sometimes companies are born into a 24/7 schedule.  An example would be a refinery.  From the moment it was conceived until it reached…

  • 10-hour shifts - Part Four

    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

    Weekend Warrior refers to a type of staff scheduling strategy for covering 24/7.

    At its most basic level, a Weekend Warrior schedule is one that…

  • Making shift assignments

    April 29, 2013

    It's human nature to not like change.  There are a lot of reasons for this, but I'm convinced that one of the "biggies" is…

  • 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…

  • Open Shift Management

    June 27, 2010

    It's finally here!

    Our software partner, Shifthound, has completed work on our new Open Shift Management software. It is ready for you to use…

  • 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…

  • Shiftwork Software

    May 5, 2010

    It's finally here.

    After more than twenty years, we have finally found the software that we, and you, have been looking for.


  • 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…