Forecasting & Planning

We can help you make sure your resources accurately match customer requirement. The result is speedy and effective resolutions to customer interactions, with target service levels met and fewer costly pockets of availability.

We are experts in quickly improving forecast accuracy. We can also create planning models that capture the essential elements of your operation, such as demand volumes, workflow methods, colleague productivity and customer service targets. We ensure that insight is gathered from across the operation, and operational consensus is built into your planning processes.

We also have significant hands-on experience of many different Workforce Management systems – we know what supporting processes and tools must be put in place to ensure that WFM output is valuable and reliable for achieving target performance.

Our Partner and expert for Forecasting & Planning is Philip Stubbs; he has a postgrauate academic background in forecasting and mathematical modelling, and has spent his career improving planning & performance capability across many operational functions.

If you feel there are improvements to be made to your forecasting and planning capability, then we are your ideal partner to help you understand and implement the necessary actions.

Our Capabilities

Demand Forecasting
Inaccurate forecasting can lead to costly overstaffing, or dissatisfied customers that harms future revenues. Let us review your forecasting models and processes. We will identify where accuracy and the value of forecasting can be improved.

Our approach combines an academic rigour with many years’ experience applying forecasting techniques in the real world – maximising accuracy through selecting the optimum model, gathering insight from across the business, applying judgement and gaining consensus.

We ensure that we transfer forecasting knowledge and best practice to both your analyst resource and also the wider operation.

We have significant experience of not only operational demand forecasting, but also improving forecasting of sales volumes and other activity within the supply chain. For example, we have built models to accurately estimate the sales activity resulting from promotional activity.

Resource Requirement Estimation
We can create models to calculate resource requirement for all domains and functions, for example inbound, outbound, administration, technical back office, email, webchat and field-based work. We have successfully applied and automated many types of models, including queueing theory models such as ErlangC.

Such models will precisely determine the resource required to achieve target service levels at levels of performance that are both challenging and achievable. Our models can offer sensitivity analysis so that different assumptions can be tested to determine resource requirements and commercial results from a range of scenarios.

Most deterministic models can be constructed using Excel, yet for other more complex applications, we can build simulation models to calculate resource requirements under a variety of different conditions.

Creating Optimum Schedules
We can create the optimum scheduling framework for each part of your operation.

What makes scheduling particularly difficult is the need to balance three competing objectives: customer satisfaction, employee engagement and operation cost. By designing schedules optimally, the result can be a framework where all three goals are met.

We have extensive experience of many different scheduling mechanisms: scheduling by team or individually; scheduling with or without flexibility; with or without a rotational aspect. We can create usable and robust tools that reliably slot into a solid planning process. The result is that your resource fits closely to daily and interval profiles.

Resource Planning
We can help you improve your Resource Planning capability, so that your operation can respond with agility to variation in resource requirement, which may arise from customers’ changing behaviours, marketing activity, or many other factors.

We can work with you to create and maintain long, medium and short term tools to plan recruitment, holidays, other absences, meetings breaks and lunches so that service levels are met reliably in every interval.

As more organisations have embraced homeworking, we can demonstrate how the scheduling of remote staff provides both challenges and opportunities for achieving a close interval match.

The result for your operation is that resource levels match with your varying demand, so that your service levels are met in a cost effective manner.

WFM Implementation & Fix
We have significant experience of selecting, implementing, and optimising the use of Workforce Management Systems.

We can support you to project manage/implement WFM systems, or to achieve full value from an existing WFM system.

Real-Time Management
Real Time control of operational queues and resource is essential for managing complex operational areas, where service level achievement can turn in a matter of seconds.

We can help you build a real-time team – including analysts, processes and systems. We have much practical knowledge of the techniques that must be used to achieve the best possible service level from the resources available.

Support Services Capability Development
A well-designed and functioning operational Support Services capability can bring significant competitive advantage.

We can help you design the optimum support services structure to boost the performance of your operation, identifying the key capabilities required to achieve desired results.

We have reliable insight into optimum team size, together with many years’ experience of how to structure winning support teams. We can help you recruit the best support administrators, analysts and leaders.

We can also deliver training & coaching to accelerate development of your forecasting, planning, real time, reporting and analysis capability.

Strategic Human Resource Planning
On occasion, detailed Strategic Human Resource Planning needs to be performed. This is where the HR strategy for an operation is reviewed to ensure the recruitment, training, skills and organisation structure matches changing volumes, working practices, workflow and process.

Such detailed planning is often required upon the production of a budget (and strategic planning processes PIP), or for example when new technology is implemented, when a new product is launched, or when a new multiskilling strategy is to be adopted.

We can help you understand what specific actions are required to move from the current state to the desired future operating model and the current state. With you, we can design the new strategy for planning human resources. We can build a detailed plan where consensus is achieved, and where quality and service are offered at levels to maximise commercial performance.

Benefits

An outstanding forecasting and planning capability can offer a business enormous competitive advantage. Customers experience speedy and reliable answers to their queries, which can have both direct and indirect revenue benefits. Field operations workers perform more work meeting customer expectations.

Accurate forecasting and planning are both important to reducing pockets of overstaffing and availability across operational areas, which can be very costly. Furthermore, accurate planning can help assign workload to the most skilled individuals - which maximises accuracy and customer satisfaction, and reduces rework. In sales areas, excellent planning is essential to maintain the right balance, so that no sales are lost, and also cost to acquire is minimised.

Forecasting and planning are particularly vital during times of change: when there is a new product launch, when new technology is implemented, or when there is a major change to the outsourcing mix. In such circumstances, ensuring an efficient service to customers both old and new is essential to retaining customers and maximising customer value to the organisation.

We also see less tangible benefits from improving forecasting and planning. It leads to much fewer occasions of too little work, or sustained queues. Both of these situations can lead to poor colleague experience, and too much management time firefighting on finding solutions to avoidable problems.

Therefore effective forecasting and planning capability can not only lead to a strong customer experience and commercial performance, but also improved employee engagement and more effective operational leadership.

Our experience

We have significant demonstrable success in improving forecasting accuracy and resource planning in a wide range of industries and applications, including multichannel contact centre, administration centres, field operations, technical back office and knowledge centres. Here are some examples of projects that we have successfully completed:

UK Outsourcer
In collaboration with a UK outsourcer, we created a resource planning tool allowing the business to plan recruitment and transfers accurately, along with other advisor parameters, to efficiently meet the flexible demands of their clients.

Catalogue & Online Retailer
Our work on this project involved selecting and implementing new forecasting models, together with best practice and methods to gather insight from across the business and build consensus. A planning tool was created, guiding the right actions leading to Peak Trading. During this peak period, abandonment rate on inbound calls reduced from 9% to 3% year-on-year.

Major Utility
Improved methods for forecasting and planning. Methods for planning with outsourcers improved. Substantial improvement to customer service levels.

Leading Online Retailer
We introduced new forecasting and resource planning tools and processes for the business’s Customer Services centre.

Appliance Manufacturer
We created a model to forecast direct demand for products. We used the relationship between sales and promotional activity to boost the accuracy of product forecasts, improving both stock levels and financial forecasting accuracy.

Appliance Manufacturer Customer Services & Sales
Implementation of forecasting and resource planning tools and process.

To find out how we can help you improve your forecasting and resource planning capability, please contact us for a discussion of your problems and opportunities.

Insight

The Six Fundamentals of Accurate Forecasting

Contact Us

Please contact us if you would like to discuss your planning and forecasting improvement opportunities, and explore the benefits.

Email hello@atlanticinsight.com

Call +44 (0) 203 086 8004

Office: 130 Old Street, London EC1V 9BD

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