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What does the Shift Planner do

The Shift Planner module allows the user to plan which teams will work in what shifts at what dates on what machine(s). It does this based on a series of predefined items that can be quickly and easily combined.

What is its advantage

Using the Shift Planner not only allows a quick scheduling of crews to machines, it is also the foundation for a ‘closed’ production and production-loss registration.

No more time can be forgotten; all planned time will have to be assigned to an activity. It is unambiguously clear when a shift should have been started and ended, and if that not happened why not.

The Shift Planner allows to deviate from the standard shift pattern (the regular schedule) while keeping the registration correct.

Characteristics of the Shift Planner

  • Shift Planner uses the shift-definitions of the Shift Master-table
  • Shift Planner uses the team-definitions of the Team Master-table
  • a Shift can exceed a day (e.g. night starting Sunday 23:00 and ending Monday 7:00)
  • a Shift pattern can be applied to a machine OR machine-group
  • Shift-plan and -pattern are visualized in a clear to understand style
  • Shift Planner will;
    • cooperate with OEE Coach user-rights
    • use OEE Coach language system
    • use OEE Coach UI/UX
    • fully integrates with OEE Coach

The basics of the Shift Planner

What is a ‘Shift’

People that operate machines in factories work in ‘shifts’;

  • A typical shift has a duration of 8 working hours and 30 minutes break.
  • Mostly, shifts have a fixed start-moment and a fixed duration.
  • There can be multiple shifts in a day at a machine.
  • Depending on the production capacity needed, there are usually one- two- or three shifts a day.

Individual shifts are defined in [Master] [Shifts]. See: How to use Shifts

  • Commonly, a shift has a start-time and a duration (resulting in an end-time)
  • Mostly the start-time is fixed. Depending the software’s settings, the actual start-time may be earlier on a specific day. This has no influence on the way the shift-planner will function.
  • The same applies to the duration.

What is a ‘Team’

A team is a group of people operating a machine during a shift. Teams can be scheduled through different shifts. Example: Team John can operate in the early, late and night shift, depending on the production schedule. Here you will define the “masterlist” of Teams. When changing a team-name here, it will be changed anywhere it was used in your OEE calculations. See: How to use ‘TEAMS’

What is a ‘Shift Pattern’ (= ‘Shift Schedule’)

A shift pattern is the basic way to define how many shifts of teams will operate the machine(s). In its simplest form, there is a ‘one shift operation’: The classic “five days in a week, 9 to 5 operation”. Conventional Shift patterns include:

‘2 Shift’

This model is typically Monday to Friday, 0600-1400 and 1400-2200. Teams of participants usually rotate on a weekly basis.

‘3 Shift’ or Semi Continuous

Usually this means: 8 hour shifts, averaging 40 hours per week.

This is frequently 06:00 Monday to 06:00 Saturday, covering a default 120 hours per week. Usually eight hour based, teams spend a week on each, with a nights, afternoons, morning progression over the three-week cycle. 

‘5 shift’ Staggered days

This model is typically based on a default averaging 5 x eight hour days. The pattern tends to be spread over six or seven days to provide formal weekend cover.


This means: 4-teams, 8-hours or 12-hours patterns, averaging 42 hours per week

This pattern refers specifically to systems where a series of consecutive shifts (usually seven x eight hour shifts or four x 12-hour shifts) includes short blocks of two or three of each of the shifts which the progression is composed. 

Overview of all existing Shift Patterns

A good overview on what shift patterns may have to be defined, see:



A ‘shift pattern’ typically consists of a series of ‘shifts’ in a certain repetition of shifts; the user has full freedom to construct any possible pattern, in order to reuse it when planning actual teams in actual shift on actual dates.

Like always, the problems start when we want to deviate from the default (shift) pattern.

This is where the shift-planner comes in.

What is a ‘Shift Plan’

A shift PATTERN is to be seen as a template, a master, that can be used to quickly fill a shift PLAN: a shift PLAN is a calendar showing at what date and time what shift and what team will be present.

Shift Planner: How does it plan

The shift planner is a calendar where the standard shift pattern is tied to actual dates and times.

Usually a factory planner takes a calendar and plans machine by machine, day by day what shift will be scheduled at the machine

Here is an example how a factory planner might to make his plan in excel:

 The shift-plan is applicable to a certain machine, over a certain time-frame.

In the example above you see a plan running from mo-fr (May 1st – May 5th) three shifts a day. On Saturday (May 6th) a shorter shift is planned. Sunday 7th nothing happens. May 8th the next week starts.

When 90% of the weeks are like this, we would define this as a standard pattern that could be used to fill the regular weeks by “stamping” the calendar with this pattern.

The ‘stamping’ function could be:

“Apply ‘week pattern’ to machine x, starting Monday May 1th, ending August 31th”

Or: “Apply ‘week pattern’ to machine x, starting Monday May 1th, every odd week, ending August 31th”

Tying Teams to Shifts

Shifts are ‘time-frames’. Within this time-frame, the planner has to decide who will actually perform the job. Usually he schedules a team to a shift.

So tonight, team ‘John’ might take the night shift and next week team ‘Elias’ goes in the night.

In the Shift Planner, Teams will have to be assigned to the shifts that are ‘stamped’ in the calendar.

Since teams are also rotating (usually you work one week in shift x, net in shift y etc) there are two ways to proceed:

  1. Define the team-rotation in the shift pattern. So now shifts are planned in their rhythm, and teams are assigned to planned shifts. Since teams rotate through shifts, this will give a shift-pattern as show in the Wikipedia examples (see above). Since a team usually works ONE machine, such a shift-pattern would need to be made for EACH MACHINE. Meaning, it cannot be reused on another machine. 
  2. Another approach might be to us a google style of repeat mechanism to assign teams to scheduled shifts in the shift PLAN. Now a shift-pattern can be applied to a group of machines (or even all machines in the factory), but teams need to be added later per machine.

Editing patterns and plans

Once a pattern has been defined or the calendar has been filled (the shifts and teams are allocated to specific dates for a specific machine), it might be adapted to justify specific situations. E.g. on Christmas eve we would want to take out the regular night-shift. Or we might want to change a team.

It should be possible to add, modify and delete shift patterns and -plans.

Adding could be done ‘manually’ by adding ONE individual sift or team, or ‘in series’, by a  repeating mechanism as the previously mentioned google-calendar function.

From there the individual planned shifts and teams can be modified and deleted. Adding individual shifts and teams is possible.

Next Shift Planner: extended features