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How does SMART allocate daily hours?

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SMART is a monthly forecast based on the productivity/hours forecast set (How is SMART calculated?). It identifies historic trends to suggest how many hours should be scheduled each day in order to meet the monthly productivity/hours forecast.

The manual primary cost driver will always be included, but SMART may identify the best correlation with hours is from the day before/after, and it may differ from weekday to weekday, or season to season. SMART will also use other drivers that ML (Machine Learning) identifies which have strong corrrelation use additional drivers if the correlation to the hours is high enough. This includes drivers that are not added in the cockpit. Users with HQ Administrator rights can view which drivers are being used each day via the tools icon in the cockpit.

As SMART does not only use the primary cost driver for the specific day, it is not always easy to understand why SMART has suggested that many hours on a specific day.


Example 1: Primary cost driver increases but SMART hours decrease

The above Housekeeping department uses ‘Room Nights (Previous day)’ as their manual primary cost driver. Looking at the graph, you can see the SMART forecast always forecasts a drop in hours each Sunday. However, in the table, the primary cost driver increases every Sunday.

This is a pattern that SMART has recognised from the past (SMART looks at the last 365 days, disregarding any outlier days). Housekeeping usually staff less on Sundays, and clean rooms from the weekend on Monday. SMART will recognize such trends and schedule the future using a similar pattern to what was done historically.

NOTE – If there is a significant change in how staff are being scheduled (due to a restructure, for example), it will take some time before SMART recognizes the new pattern. Therefore, department heads should use SMART as a starting point for how to allocate hours over the month to reach the forecasted goal – there will always be factors that SMART cannot predict.


Example 2: No clear correlation between Primary cost driver and SMART hours

In the above Meeting & Events cockpit, you can see a sharp decrease in hours during the first week of the month. This contrasts with the primary cost driver in the table, which is showing an increase of M&E revenue during the week.

It may be that SMART has identified other drivers with a higher correlation for this period. For example, it may have identified that 2 days before an event, there is usually more hours scheduled (for set-up preparations) and during an event the hours needed are less. Or perhaps not all revenue is usually posted on the day of the event, but a day or two after, and therefore hours are needed before the revenue is reported.

As SMART is looking at many factors, it is not always possible to pinpoint exactly why that many hours were forecast for a specific day. It is, however, a useful guide based on historic trends and can help get staffing at an appropriate level.

Example 3: Cost driver Live forecast is not accurate

If the Live forecast for the manual primary cost driver has been inaccurate compared to actual result in past periods, SMART will most likely not use the primary cost driver to determine daily allocation of hours. It will instead, look at other drivers that have been more reliable in the past.

In the below example, you can see that often the Actuals Vs. Live forecast have a very high difference. SMART will likely find a cost driver that is more aligned with the actual results historically. This will mean that when you are reviewing the cockpit, you may see no correlation between the manual primary cost driver and the SMART forecast.

Example 4: SMART Forecast consistently too low/high compared to actuals

In the below graph, the SMART forecast is predicting considerably less hours than scheduled. This is because the productivity forecast is very high compared to actual productivity. SMART will always allocate hours based on the monthly productivity/hours forecast, which in this case is making the number of SMART hours too low.

In instances where the hours/productivity forecast is unrealistic, the staffing guide will provide a better guidance on how best to schedule staff. The staffing guide uses historic trends to recommend hours based on what the department should be able to achieve. It does not take into consideration monthly forecasts or manual Min/Max settings.

Example 5: SMART always shows same hours each day

SMART Forecast respects the manual Min/Max settings as set in Tools and settings (this setting is visible dependent on user rights). If the setting is not set up correctly, it may distort the SMART forecast.

In the below example, Min/Max has the same values set for both Minimum and Maximum hours per day. This means that SMART has no flexibility. It will always schedule 50 hours per day, regardless of activity levels at the hotel.

Example 6: SMART hours month total is different from monthly forecast

Min/Max settings can, in some cases, prevent SMART from forecasting the same number of hours as the monthly forecast. In the below example, the month forecast is 176 hours, but due to the Min/Max settings, SMART can only allocate 168 hours for this month.

As SMART is based on past staffing patterns, it will recognize certain patterns, even if Min/Max values are not set. If Min is set to 0 and Max not enabled, the same department would get a daily allocated SMART as per below example. Now the forecasted hours of 176 are allocated, and – depending on weekday and season – there has been a pattern of not using the exact same numbers of hours Monday-Friday:

Example 7: SMART allocates hours during a holiday when the property is closed

If a department is closed but SMART still allocates hours during the period, there can be two reasons.

  1. Limited historiс data available
    1. SMART has a built-in detection of minimum and maximum staffing, but if not enough history is available to establish the levels, it uses yearly min/max values, i.e., what is most often used as min/max. If the department is then closed, it will still allocate minimum staffing based on the specific weekday.
  2. You have set a default min/max. This applies to all days in a year, also to all holidays.

To resolve this, you can set a manual min and max staffing for the holidays. Open the cockpit tools and click on ‘Min/Max Hours Per Day’. Select the holiday in question and click on the pen to edit. For the weekdays you will be closed, enable max hours, and set the maximum staffing to 0. Save.

As SMART always respect the manually decided min/max hours, it will now allocate 0 hours on those.