This week we continue to look at Shared Services and why they matter for organisations working with the NDIS. This week’s focus is on scheduling; why it matters for cost, staff satisfaction and management and most importantly, client outcomes.
Organisation that are now receiving a majority revenue from the NDIS and who provide off-site support have significant challenges in maintaining good customer service while remaining commercially viable and ensuring that employees have a positive and safe working environment.
As the sector moves towards complete NDIS funding, the cost pressures on organisations will increase. As the single largest contributor to costs, your workforce should be a key area of focus. Technology is the answer to removing as much as possible of the non-billable labour cost from your organisation and scheduling and workforce management is one of the natural fits for technology.
CUSP has been working with providers to streamline the scheduling process(es) to ensure that organisations understand the costs and returns from Service Delivered activities and provide advice on how to optimise the organisational structures to support ongoing success. Key areas of focus are:
- Workforce management; using the right tools to ensure the right team member is booked to the right participant at the right time!
- Workplace safety; with a distributed workforce
- Workforce architecture; assisting organisations with a blend of permanent and casual staff achieve per-employee utilisation based on employment type
- Accurate billing and time sheet recording
Organisations tell us that they face the paradoxical challenge of increasing customer satisfaction under a user-directed funding model while at the same time restructuring their workforce to meet the new reality. Most organisations are looking at (or have already transitioned) their workforces from permanent to casual or a hybrid mix of the two.
This challenge is real and has the capacity to degrade the single biggest asset an organisation has; the trust and engagement of your participants. The work CUSP has been doing with clients has shown that correct scheduling can partially ameliorate this risk. An appropriate workforce management solution backed by good “tagging” of worker capabilities and participant needs, facilitated by skilled schedulers can keep the lifeblood of your organisation pumping; the good opinion of your participants.
Effective scheduling also allows for the most “effective” resource to be dispatched for each service booking. Each organisation may have different business rules to determine their “effective”, but may include things such as distance to travel, services delivered within the payroll period etc.
Effective scheduling can also provide important baseline management information. CUSP works with clients to understand, report and provide advice to management on the utilisation and cost-effectiveness of workers. This allows the management team to adjust the workforce balance to ensure the continued financial viability of the organisation. CUSP reporting can also allow management to scale their organisation based on demand. The real-time reporting of utilisation and in the worst case, unfulfilled demand, allows the workforce to be scaled up or down as needed.
Scheduled activities are, by definition, future events booked based on known information at that stage. The real work however does not work exactly like this, and skilful schedulers can ensure that any changes to books services (whether by the participant or the organisation) can be captured in real-time as a scheduled activity. This removes the need for post-facts service record creation, which can be problematic. This real-time accuracy ensures that:
- Scheduled and actual service delivery times match
- Invoicing/NDIS acquittal is accurate based on “actual” time
- Timesheet records are accurate for submission to payroll
- The participant remains engaged and there is a formal record of delivered services in the event of a later dispute
The most important consideration however, is worker safety. Appropriate policies and vigilance from the scheduler can ensure that your organisation always knows where your team is and can quickly implement WHS policies when needed. Software to allow GPS tracking of workers (during work time) and strict time-based updates from remote workers ensure that any potential issues are minimised, and if there is a problem, the organisation can respond quickly and accurately, based on real-time information.
CUSP has invested time in understanding and evolving a service to deal with this key part of your service delivery function. While scheduling is a back-office function and is not a service delivery activity, it is the “glue” that holds the organisation together. CUSP works with organisations to understand, implement and then optimise the best possible scheduling process backed by the best of enterprise-grade technology.
If you’d like more details on CUSP and how it could help your organisation, please reach out directly to our General Manager, Rod Paine. Rod can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org or on mobile 0407 513 163.