Optimal staffing under an annualized hours regime using Cross-Entropy optimization

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Abstract

This paper discusses staffing under annualized hours. Staffing is the selection of the most cost-efficient workforce to cover workforce demand. Annualized hours measure working time per year instead of per week, relaxing the restriction for employees to work the same number of hours every week. To solve the underlying combinatorial optimization problem this paper develops a Cross-Entropy optimization implementation that includes a penalty function and a repair function to guarantee feasible solutions. Our experimental results show Cross-Entropy optimization is efficient across a broad range of instances, where real-life sized instances are solved in seconds, which significantly outperforms an MILP formulation solved with CPLEX. In addition, the solution quality of Cross-Entropy closely approaches the optimal solutions obtained by CPLEX. Our Cross-Entropy implementation offers an outstanding method for real-time decision making, for example in response to unexpected staff illnesses, and scenario analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEnschede
PublisherUniversity of Twente, Department of Applied Mathematics
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - May 2012

Publication series

NameMemorandum / Department of Applied Mathematics
PublisherUniversity of Twente, Department of Applied Mathematics
No.1982
ISSN (Print)1874-4850
ISSN (Electronic)1874-4850

Keywords

  • Annualized Hours
  • Knapsack problem
  • Metaheuristics
  • Personnel staffing
  • Cross-Entropy optimization
  • Combinatorial optimization

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  • Cite this

    van der Veen, E., Boucherie, R. J., & van Ommeren, J. C. W. (2012). Optimal staffing under an annualized hours regime using Cross-Entropy optimization. (Memorandum / Department of Applied Mathematics; No. 1982). Enschede: University of Twente, Department of Applied Mathematics.