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Applying supply chain optimization techniques to workforce planning problems

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4 Author(s)
Gresh, D.L. ; IBM Research Division, Thomas J. Watson Research Center, P.O. Box 218, Yorktown Heights, New York 10598, USA ; Connors, D.P. ; Fasano, J.P. ; Wittrock, R.J.

The IBM Research Division has developed the Resource Capacity Planning (RCP) Optimizer to support the Workforce Management Initiative (WMI) of IBM. RCP applies supply chain management techniques to the problem of planning the needs of IBM for skilled labor in order to satisfy service engagements, such as consulting, application development, or customer support. This paper describes two RCP models and presents two approaches to solving each of them. We also describe the motivation for using one approach over another. The models are built using the Watson Implosion Technology toolkit, which consists of a supply chain model, solvers for analysis and optimization, and an Application Programming Interface (API) for developing a solution. The models that we built solve two core resource planning problems, gap/glut analysis and resource action planning. The gap/glut analysis is similar to material requirements planning (MRP), in which shortages (gaps) and excesses (gluts) of resources are determined on the basis of expected demand. The goal of the resource action planning problem is to determine what resource actions to take in order to fill the gaps and reduce the gluts. The gap/glut analysis engine is currently deployed within the IBM service organization to report gaps and gluts in personnel.

Note: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Incorporated is distributing this Article with permission of the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) who is the exclusive owner. The recipient of this Article may not assign, sublicense, lease, rent or otherwise transfer, reproduce, prepare derivative works, publicly display or perform, or distribute the Article.  

Published in:

IBM Journal of Research and Development  (Volume:51 ,  Issue: 3.4 )