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Thinking Analytically: Is this the way to run a Popsicle stand?

May/June 2012

By John Toczek

Can you run a profitable Popsicle stand?

Can you run a profitable Popsicle stand?

Workforce management is central to efficient operations and good customer service. Proper scheduling of employees can mean the difference between profitability and business failure.

As the manager of a Popsicle stand, you are required to hire and set the weekly work schedule for your employees. The required levels for the week are as follows:

Total employees required: Monday = 5, Tuesday = 7, Wednesday = 7, Thursday = 10, Friday = 16, Saturday = 18; Sunday = 12. Assume the same staffing requirements continue week after week.

Full-time employees work five consecutive days and earn $100 per day. Part-time employees work two consecutive days and earn $150 per day.

Questions:

What is the minimal weekly staffing cost you can achieve while meeting the required staffing levels?

Send your answer to ThinkingAnalytics@gmail.com by July 2. The winner, chosen randomly from the correct answers, will receive an “Analytics: Driving Better Business Decisions” T-shirt.

John Toczek, INFORMS member and Philadelphia chapter officer, is the manager of Decision Support and Analytics for ARAMARK Corporation in the Global Risk Management group. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at Drexel University (1996) and a master’s degree in operations research from Virginia Commonwealth University (2005).

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