Struggling To Plan Using A Spreadsheet? Find Out Why It Is Not Your Fault.

In our business, we meet and talk to many companies every week. About 3/4 of them continue to use spreadsheets to plan and schedule their resources. They all have one other thing in common … they all manage several ‘resources’. The name of the resources may vary, but the concept is the same. A resource could be a client, a job, staff, vehicles, plant, machines, training courses, rooms, equipment, etc. It really doesn’t matter, it only matters that they are all looking after several ‘things’.

Every day, or every week, the planners within these businesses open up ‘their copy’ of the spreadsheet and wonder if there is a better way. Often times they even created the spreadsheet themselves, sometimes they inherited it or were given it as ‘the tool’ to use. However they got into this position, every day (or week), their starting point is a tool that was not designed to perform this function.

So why is a spreadsheet the wrong tool? Continue reading “Struggling To Plan Using A Spreadsheet? Find Out Why It Is Not Your Fault.”

How to remain efficient as a production planner

For any manufacturing enterprise, production planning always takes the centre stage. In fact, no manufacturing process can be made successful without the implementation of an efficient production plan.

So how do you, as a production planner, ensure that everything goes as planned and that the company’s objectives are achieved? It is important in this case to review the basic aspects that are involved so that you are able to carry out your functions as expected. Continue reading “How to remain efficient as a production planner”

Ensuring your corporate event runs smoothly – a guide to effective planning and scheduling

Organising corporate events can be traumatic.

It takes a lot of careful planning, precise scheduling, and creative prowess on your end, and if you’re the one tasked with doing it all, you can’t afford to make any mistakes.

People have lost jobs, and careers have been ruined because an event has been a disaster, so it’s important to ensure you have every tool at your disposal and are totally prepared for the task ahead. Continue reading “Ensuring your corporate event runs smoothly – a guide to effective planning and scheduling”

How to Prove Employee Training Is an Investment, Not a Cost

The quality of skills within an organisation is critical for that organisation to thrive, and yet, often one of the most difficult tasks an employee has is to persuade a manager to invest in training.


It’s usually a simple matter that training is an intangible cost.

For example, if a manager were asked to buy a large amount of plant for the factory, when he’s handed over his money he’ll get a huge lump of metal that he can walk up to, kick and know that it’s money well spent, whether it works or not in some cases.

With training, it’s different. He or she is being asked to outlay a large sum of money that when paid, will take employees away from their stations, keep them out of the office for, sometimes, days or weeks on end, and then they’ll simply return to their desks with a certificate.

This certificate will likely not mean much; it’ll just be a bit of paper saying “Fred has completed the Microsoft Office for Beginners” course and have a nice golden stamp on it. All that for £500. Is Fred any the better for it? Continue reading “How to Prove Employee Training Is an Investment, Not a Cost”

Company Training Budgets in a Post-Brexit World

Whichever way you voted, it seems that for the vast majority of people, the announcement that the UK would be leaving the European Union was a shock. This shock resonated most around the financial markets, with the pound suffering huge losses and the stock market falling.

Even though the stock market has recovered, there are still signs that companies are reigning in their budgets with many companies saying they are not going to be hiring anytime soon:

hiring down - will training budgets follow
Hiring might be on hold

So what will happen to training budgets? Continue reading “Company Training Budgets in a Post-Brexit World”

Six of the Biggest Scheduling Mistakes and Why you Should Avoid Them


If you’re scheduling staff, you need to ensure that you keep on top of those schedules and realise that as everyone’s an individual with their own skills, experience and ways of working. Some staff are more flexible than others; some have skills that mean they can complete certain jobs more quickly, and yet some will be slow, but have a perfect completion record.

How you manage this is important. Using the wrong tools can mean you upset staff, have inefficient processes and end up with a schedule that doesn’t work, and plan that fails.

Here then, is a list of “gotchas”, things that can go wrong, together with a solution to make sure it doesn’t happen to you! Continue reading “Six of the Biggest Scheduling Mistakes and Why you Should Avoid Them”

The Crucial Difference Between Planning and Scheduling


Planning and scheduling have many things in common and are sometimes confused for the same technique. However, to best differentiate the two, consider looking into applications and architectures of processes, knowledge representation and problem solving ideas, heuristic techniques, iterative improvement and domain-specific techniques. Other factors to consider may include constraint-based techniques, and integrated reaction and user interaction. Continue reading “The Crucial Difference Between Planning and Scheduling”

4 Effective Tips for Scheduling you can Implement Right Now

A busy training office in a large business can have a lot on its plate. Trying to juggle the best time to schedule training in people’s busy calendars, while understanding the positive effect that training will eventually have, is difficult.

For many, it becomes a last minute rush to send out emails, arrange trainers at the last minute and organise rooms and equipment. Emails are sent only days before; some employees block read receipts so you’re not sure if they got it, and even though the room’s confirmed – is the electronic whiteboard free?

And then the emails return and some people can’t make it; others request a time change and you’re going to have to replace some of the equipment.

How could this be handled better? Continue reading “4 Effective Tips for Scheduling you can Implement Right Now”

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