Scheduling Procedures

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Scheduling Procedures

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Scheduling is “coordinating work tasks, people, materials, facilities, and equipment needed to create goods and services at a specific point in time. Scheduling is required for making goods and for providing services successfully” (Vonderembse & White. 2013, Section 12.1.).

Operations management for a service in an organization has an essential goal, which is to provide direct assistance to customers whereas, for the manufacturing sector, the goal is to provide industrial goods bought and used for the consumption of businesses. When manufacturers develop a production schedule, it is essential that the operational function of production activities provide effective processing timing and utilize operative resources for both short and long-term goals. Just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing has increased the importance of scheduling. Management must account for Just-in-Time (JIT) inventory, lead time, and equipment. Laborers must be accounted for to guarantee if a drop in inventory levels occurs increase replenishment can be done.

Manufacturers can choose to implement a mix of on-plan, on-time and on-budget schedule as a mixture of backward and forward scheduling methods.  Other factors to consider are due dates or shipping dates as each directly impacts the scheduling process.  The type of jobs and different resources impacted would be process routings, processing-setup-changeover times, shift availability, downtime, and planned maintenance. When manufacturers implement a structured scheduling process, the operation will flourish with timely goals fulfilled.

Scheduling goods is easier because you can anticipate the items customer demands when they want it, and the quantity needed. The task of scheduling services is not as easy as people (staff), and cannot be anticipated based on the services they provide. Many services require someone to be on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Police, fire, hospital services cannot anticipate when major events will arise, consequently, staffing has to be scheduled accordingly.

The main issue with hospital scheduling is that some emergencies requiring more staff cannot be predicted, like for example an emergency surgery. Surgical scheduling can be defined as “the selection of procedures to be performed, the allocation of resource time to those procedures, and the sequencing of the procedures within the allocated time” (May, Spangler, Strum & Vargas. 2011.). The resources include the time of the surgeon, operating room time, surgical staff, the time it takes to perform the surgery, and the operating room itself. Surgeries must be scheduled on certain days, depending on the criteria (i.e. general, specialized), according to the equipment required (ultrasound), and collaboration of anesthesiologists and nurses. Scheduling may not be as complicated for hospitalized patients as it is for emergency patients. Most patients have out-patient surgery that is scheduled with enough time so that the appropriate human resources may be available. Emergency surgeries require an on-call team in case a situation arises.


May, J. H., Spangler, W. E., Strum, D. P., & Vargas, L. G. (2011). The surgical scheduling problem: Current research and future opportunities. Production and Operations Management, 20(3), 392-X. Retrieved from

Vonderembse, M., & White, G. (2013). Operations Management. [Electronic version]. Retrieved from

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One of the most challenging areas of operations management is scheduling.  As a result, there are many different aspects of scheduling that must be considered based on the type of business.  For example, some of the most important areas of schedule consist of the effective allocation of resources through the implementation of proper scheduling (Vonderembse, & White, 2013).    Also, scheduling based on customers and there needs along with the appropriate scheduling of employees are also vital to the overall success of the business. 

When considering the scheduling procedures that might be used in a restaurant setting, it is very important to understand demands during the set operating hours and effectively allocate its resources along with the appropriate number of employees to meet the needs of the customers.  One of my favorite restaurants is Benihana, which is a chain of Japanese restaurants that epitomizes the idea of effective scheduling.  Benihana implements the use of a computer-based scheduling system which effectively allocates its resources along with its employees to meet the needs of its customers by scheduling into various time periods.  As a result, there is always enough staff, along with very short or no wait times and the food is always served fresh and well prepared.  They are also seldom out of stock on any food items that are listed on their menu. 

The scheduling system that is used in a hospital closely mirrors some aspects of the strategies that are used in the restaurant business, such as the set schedule that is assigned for routine visits, checkups, or planned surgeries.  The scheduling of the patients is based on an allotted time, the specific need of the patient and the necessary physician and staff that is needed to effectively facilitate the procedures.  However, because of the unpredictable nature of the hospital business, resources, employees and the demand by patients fluctuate and change rapidly based on the type of department, such as the emergency room.  As a result, it is important to account for the variables that may affect each department in the hospital and allocate its resources effectively. 

The scheduling system that is implemented in the airline business is often based on a fixed scheduling system with very little room for deviation.  The flights are often scheduled well in advanced with various attributes taken into consideration that is necessary to facilitate a set passenger limit along with the appropriate number of crew members.  However, it is sometimes necessary for the airlines to make quick adjustments and cancel flights due to bad weather conditions or other emergency situations. 


Vonderembse, M.A., & White, G.P. (2013). Operations Management [Electronic version].

     Retrieved from  


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