Sunday, April 19, 2009

Time and Labor 9.1 - Integration with Oracle Workforce Scheduler

One of the biggest challenges that we face in designing a time and attendance system for a retail business is the ability to accurately forecast and capture the work schedule of employees. One aspect of the problem is arriving at the work schedule itself - how does a retail store manager decide upon the schedule of the employees? A number of factors go into this - the size of the store, the sales demand forecast for a period, the availability of the workforce, employees on planned absences, legal work rules etc. Given the multitude of parameters involved, drawing up the work schedules is a complex, difficult and practically inaccurate task for the store managers. The second aspect is about keeping the time and attendance system (Peoplesoft in our case) updated with the actual work schedule details. It has been our common experience that though manager verbally communicate the work schedule details to the store employees, a manual updation of the same in the system does not take place. The third dimension of the problem is the importance of having the correct schedule data in Peoplesoft. Modules like Absence Management and Time and Labor (and ultimately Payroll as these two modules feed data to the Payroll module/system) heavily relies on having the correct scheduling data for proper processing and calculations.
This is where a Workforce Scheduling system comes into play. A Workforce Scheduler is a system that will generate the schedules for your organisation based on various rules like sales forecast, demand, labour availability, time studies for tasks etc. From an enterprise perspective - there will be a bi-directional integration between a Workforce Scheduling System and the Time and Attendance system. The Time and Attendance (or HRMS) System will send the employee and absence details to the Scheduling System and the Scheduling System in turn will send the work schedule details back to the Time and Attendance System. We have been piloting the use of such a Workforce Scheduler in TESCO and work on it's integration with Peoplesoft Time and Labor is on.
With this background, it came as a pleasant surprise for me to read that Oracle is planning on delivering an integration between Peoplesoft Time and Labor and Oracle Workforce Scheduler in it's 9.1 release.

For a retail organisation, where work schedule of employees is dynamic and dependant on a number of external factors like sales demand - having a workforce scheduling system is of strategic importance. Having a system that will accurately generate schedules and keep the schedule data in sync with the Time and Attendance System will result in huge time and cost savings. In this context, this is a brilliant service offering from Oracle and will further bolster it's Peoplesoft strategy and customer base.

No comments: