Resource Optimization- Strategies & Benefits for Businesses


Proper resource management is the foundation of any successful business. Resource optimization includes the methods and processes utilized to balance accessible assets with business needs in order to meet set objectives.

A business running out of supplies risks the inability to provide customers with products or services while holding too much inventory may result in cash flow issues. Whenever resources are being over or underutilized, resource optimization techniques should be swiftly undertaken.

4 Benefits of Resource Optimization

Resource optimization techniques greatly benefit both individual employees and the overall businesses. Prominent benefits include-

1. Demand Forecasting

Predicting future customer demand is a crucial aspect of resource optimization and risk management. In fact, demand forecasting contributes to various business processes ranging from decision making to business strategy formulation.

There are many different demand forecasting methods available and some business professionals choose to use a combination of multiple methods concurrently. Software programs and tools can further streamline and simplify the demand forecasting process.

Forecasting software can integrate with existing systems to project future transactions, labor needs, and resource allocation based on historical data and external factors, such as weather conditions. These sophisticated tools can automate the forecasting process completely and eliminate any room for human errors or miscalculations.

2. Resource Scheduling

Resource scheduling allows managers to plan task delegation with consideration to employee skills, availability, and capacity. Additionally, employees are provided with adequate time to prepare for and complete the responsibilities and roles assigned to them.

Proper resource scheduling avoids hiring new talent unnecessarily, instead focusing on optimally utilizing available human capital. Resource scheduling software is a great best practice technique to ensure the right staff member is assigned to each task and that every worker is being used most effectively.

3. Employee Scheduling and Timesheets

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Employee scheduling can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive business process. When performed incorrectly, this can negatively impact staff morale and productivity levels.

Over or under-scheduling employees result in significant consequences for businesses including accrual of unnecessary labor costs. Investing in employee scheduling software is a great resource optimization technique, providing businesses with an organized and comprehensive view of available staff members and their respective skillsets.

4. Skill Visibility

Previously, human resource management professionals resorted to using spreadsheets when cataloging employee skill sets. Today, software centralizes all necessary information regarding employee skills in one location, eliminating the need to reference alternative documents.

Skill visibility is especially valuable for task managers in charge of planning pipeline projects, granting enough time to hire any additional necessary talent. Although management professionals may be tempted to utilize under-qualified employees for high skill tasks, the decline in work quality is not worth the perceived labor cost savings.

3 Main Resource Optimization Strategies

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Effective resource optimization allows businesses to operate as productively as possible. The three main resource optimization techniques and strategies include-

1. Resource Leveling

The resource leveling process is also commonly referred to as the resource-based method. Ultimately, these techniques aim to accomplish established goals within a specific time frame without running out of materials or labor.

Resource leveling techniques are used during project management to assist business professionals in adjusting deadlines in accordance with available resources. Generally, resources are allocated with priority to critical path tasks which results in an extension of the project end dates.

Another primary consideration of resource leveling is the avoidance of employee burnout due to inappropriately designated tasks.

2. Resource Smoothing

Resource smoothing does not make any alterations to the project end date or critical path. Instead, available resources are adjusted to meet objectives.

For example, if a task is impossible to accomplish with a singular designated employee, a redistribution of tasks between overutilized and underutilized employees is an effective resource smoothing technique. Another resource smoothing technique applicable in this situation would be a mandatory overtime requirement for necessary employees.

If one project management initiative is more critical than another, a project manager may decide to transition employees assigned to non-critical projects over to more critical jobs. Fast-tracking is another consideration for maintaining a project management schedule.

It is important for project management professionals to be conscious of employee limitations when undertaking resource smoothing techniques. Ideally, resource smoothing can fairly redistribute tasks without overwhelming any individual employee.

3. Reverse Resource Allocation Scheduling

A reverse resource allocation schedule is utilized only in the situation that a particular resource is absolutely necessary at a specific time in the project management process. For example, an expert in a unique subject matter, whose role cannot be performed by any other employee on staff.

In this circumstance, the reverse resource allocation scheduling technique will assign the crucial resource from the project end date instead of the project start date. In other words, during this process, the crucial resource is scheduled in reverse.

Key Takeaways

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  • Resource management is crucial for business success and longevity. Resource optimization includes processes and methods used to balance available resources with business needs in order to accomplish set objectives.

  • Investing in forecasting software is a great resource optimization technique to decrease unnecessarily incurred labor and inventory costs.

  • Demand forecasting is an optimization technique that contributes to business processes ranging from business strategy formulation to project management optimization.

  • The three main types of resource optimization strategies are resource leveling, resource smoothing, and reverse resource allocation scheduling.