Towards planning machines?
We have on several occasions used chess as an illustration of the relative strengths and weaknesses of man and machine. Imagine a game between a chess master and a novice who knows the rules of the game, but not much more. It seems obvious that the master will win the game. However, if we learn that the novice is allowed to use a chess computer to help determine the moves, this will immediately change our prediction of the outcome.
Can we carry this simple thought experiment over to other arenas? We think so. Access to a strategy computer can make a big difference for the strategic planner. To be effective, the computer must be able to:
- Provide forward-looking perspectives.
- Portray future scenarios that are qualitatively different from the past.
- Quantify consequences of structural changes, such as digitalization, before such changes have had time to make their full footprint in data.
No matter how powerful, analytics will always lag behind, because it relies on the accumulation of data. Through simulation, it is our aim to reverse the sign of the time lag, making it negative; we want to bring the experience in front of the reality.
In the foreseeable future it is not realistic that computers will be able to make the winning “strategic moves”. Still, computer simulation has already proven itself as an excellent decision-support tool that help us pre-assess the quality of our “moves”. Improving the ability to see likely consequences before they happen helps planners improve the choice, timing, and magnitude of measures for shaping the future.
Below, you can read about how new Dynaplan solutions augment the planning function for companies. Also read the brand-new case study showing how new features in Smia 1.6 are used to successfully integrate regional and central planning.
The Dynaplan community is active, as always. Make sure to sign up for practice groups, and to reserve in your calendar the date for our next annual convention, this time Tuesday 13 November, in Hessen. You are encouraged to join the networking dinner Monday evening, getting ready for our mind-puzzling headline for the convention day: Living the adventure – Remodelling your workforce.
Remember to connect to our LinkedIn page, so you can contribute to and benefit from our carefully selected stream of news and insights.
We wish our readers nice and productive times!
Eighth annual Dynaplan Convention — Tuesday 13 November 2018
It is a pleasure to announce our next Dynaplan Convention, this year in Homberg Ohm at AOK Hessen on 13 November. Please reserve the date in your calendar!
Under the exciting theme, Living the adventure, we will share and discuss the latest developments in strategic workforce management in the context of agile organizations, the interface to competence management, and people analytics.
This time we have moved the networking evening before the convention, allowing us to start earlier on Tuesday. Based on your feedback, we have reserved time for best practice sharing as well as a separate session for newcomers to the field. Thinking ahead, it fits well for a November convention to enjoy a winter barbecue, and to listen to useful hints from our host, AOK, about staying healthy for the winter that will be around the corner at that time.
Many thanks our host, AOK Hessen, who has used Dynaplan solutions for more than ten years and participated in all our Dynaplan conventions.
We hope to see you all already at our network event Monday evening, before the convention day.Read more and sign up
SWP webinar series starting 29 May
Finally, we can announce an entry-level webinar about SWP together with DGFP. During 4x45 min. modules and a one-to-one tutoring session we will bring your colleagues up to speed in the most effective and efficient way.
— A perfect format to build up the basic SWP knowledge for business partners and HR controllers new to the field, delivered by our experts together with researchers and practitioners, says Kai Berendes.
The sessions are in German only. We are working on a version for our international clients. For further questions and sign-up please contact Kai Berendes.Read more
Collaborative planning in action
The information needed for strategic workforce planning processes is often distributed among several stakeholders, residing at different locations and belonging to different levels of the organisation. As an example, not all information might be available to central planners in the necessary detail and desired quality. Regional planners usually have better knowledge about demand and supply drivers regarding their specific business unit or region. However, collecting and consolidating this information is a time-consuming and error-prone process.
Together with one of our long-time customers, Deutsche Bahn, Dynaplan has successfully implemented a model-based approach to collect and consolidate the information for some business units via Dynaplan’s secure shared model services.
There is no longer a need to collect and distribute data using spreadsheets. Not only can regional planners easily input data directly into their planning models; they can also assess the impact of different inputs by running simulations in the context of their own region or business unit. For the central planners, the approach greatly simplifies distribution of assumptions, collection of inputs, and consolidation of results.
In short, the SWP process has become leaner, more engaging, faster, and more robust, thereby substantially increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the customer’s strategic workforce planning.
See the section about Smia 1.6 below to learn more about the technology that makes this possible.
We are happy to welcome Ms. Kappus and Ms. Thümmel from the global automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler as part of our community. In one current challenge they use Dynaplan’s solution to support the discussion about the right apprentice mix in the context of digitalization. We are looking forward to learning more about their SWP mission during our convention.
This newsletter coincides with the release Dynaplan Smia 1.6, the new release of our platform for making planning applications ranging from custom-built to fully standardized solutions. With the new Smia version, customers can benefit from things like:
- Greatly enhanced mechanisms for collaboration.
- The Network assistant helps you if Smia cannot access web services for activation, connectivity, or collaboration.
- Lightning speed of data entry through the new Manual calculation mode.
The Deutsche Bahn use case, described above, makes use of the enhanced Shared model features of Smia 1.6 to co-ordinate and perform a planning process where regional and central planners work together.
Models and data are shared among headquarter and regions, forming a simple, yet powerful, four-step flow:
- Once the planning model is prepared and filled with global planning assumptions and historical records, the central planner initiates regional planning by performing the Upload model command in Smia.
- Regional planners receive model and data sliced for their region by opening the planning model. If central planners change the assumptions, regional planners get notified, and can obtain the fresh central assumptions through the Smia button Get central data.
- Once a region is done with its data input, the result is made available to central planning via a single command: Upload data. Central planning gets notified.
- Central planning can consolidate some or all of the regions by clicking the Consolidate button in Smia.
Smia’s automation of communication lead to easier co-ordination, significant time savings, and improved quality assurance when exchanging planning models and data both ways among central and regional planners. The approach is flexible and doesn’t need to involve regions. As an example, it also fits well for matrix organisations, or a combination of the two.
Tips & tricks
The conventions used for writing numbers and dates vary among countries. It is impossible to tell which date «2/4/2017» refers to without knowing the regional context. Similarly, it is not possible to be certain which number «123,000» denotes without extra information. Is it 123 thousand or just 123 with three decimals?
In the status bar of Smia the currently selected language is displayed. Next to that, a flag is shown, identifying the dialect — or region — that is used to display and interpret values.
Just click on the flag and pick the region of your choice.
Remember that it is important to choose the correct language and region when you are importing data (CSV) and pasting values as text from other applications.