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I developed a procedure for assigning telephone operators to shifts at New Brunswick Telephone Company (NBTel). Al though the problem has received scant attention in the literature, its solution greatly affects employees' satisfaction with their work schedules. NBTel requires that all shifts be assigned to employees, and it is obligated contractually to satisfy preferences for shifts in order of employee seniority. The specialized shift assignment heuristic (SSAH) that I developed runs on a personal computer, generating approximately three solutions per second. Employee and shift databases are maintained in a spreadsheet, and macros are used to integrate the heuristic into the spreadsheet. Both management and employees see SSAH as an improvement over the previous manual procedure.


Required Publisher Statement
© Institute for Operations Research and the Managements Sciences. Final version published as: Thompson, G. M. (1997). Assigning telephone operators to shifts at New Brunswick telephone company. Interfaces, 27(4), 1-11. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.