Fitter Travel - A Case Study
Thursday 24th May 2018

Fitters (300 of them) lived where they chose.

Meanwhile the Company's business base had migrated.

The bankruptcy of a chain of outlets introduced a step change in that migration pattern.

While the company struggled to fill the gap, they asked 'where must we recruit fitters; where do we have too many?'


Skilled Resources spending time Driving

We adapted 'Mapper', a very visual tool for matching resources to jobs, to show regional imbalances.

It's the nature of all service jobs that some fitters will sometimes have to work away. An exact match is impossible, 'near enough is good enough'.

At its simplest level, some postcode regions only need 0.1 of a fitter. It would be no more than pure luck if the adjacent area needed 1.9. At the dynamic level, next year's jobs won't exactly match this year's pattern. They won't even match month on month, much less week on week. Fulfillment relies on some out-of-area driving, the issue is how much.

The Tool showed some very clear mismatches, both over and under, where surplus skills were too far away from spare skills to be usable.

Run time is a couple of seconds, which allows and encourages users to ask the Tool 'what if' questions.
For example, what if we changed the drive limit (and associated payment)? What if no fitter drives more than xx miles. What if we try and limit out-of-area working to 15%

A couple of interesting patterns seems to emerge, although I'd class these as 'intriguing - be nice to investigate further', not proven.

  1. It looked as if the old regional managers had recruited people they knew locally, rather than (necessarily) where the work was.
  2. Some self employed fitters seemed to have made a lifestyle choice to live by the sea. Brighton and Southend were notably over endowed with skills (but no corresponding work!). Other resorts showed the same trend, although less marked. Should such people be paid to drive to jobs outside their area? Discuss …

In passing, 'Mapper' correctly deals with estuaries, which tools using raw 'crowfly' distances do not.

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Delay drives costs up and benefits down. If it's worth doing at all, do it quickly and slickly.
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