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A real options approach to labour shifts planning under different service level targets. (English) Zbl 1317.90158
Summary: Firms that experience uncertainty in demand as well as challenging service levels face, among other things, the problem of managing employee shift numbers. Decisions regarding shift numbers often involve significant expansions or reductions in capacity, in response to changes in demand. In this paper, we quantify the impact of treating shifts in workforce expansion as investments, while considering required service level improvements. The decision to increase shifts, whether by employing temporary workers or hiring permanent employees, is one that involves significant risks. Traditional theories typically consider reversible investments, and thus do not capture the idiosyncrasies involved in shift management, in which costs are not fully reversible. In our study, by using real options theory, we quantify managers’ ability to consider this irreversibility, aiming to enable them to make shift decisions under conditions of uncertainty with the maximum level of flexibility. Our model aims to help managers make more accurate decisions with regard to shift expansion under service level targets, and to defer commitment until future uncertainties can be at least partially resolved. Overall, our investigation contributes to studies on the time required to introduce labour shift changes, while keeping the value of service level improvements in mind.

MSC:
90B70 Theory of organizations, manpower planning in operations research
91B40 Labor market, contracts (MSC2010)
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