Monday, 7th June 2004
The roster service is running well. It is turning SUMit HQ into a madhouse. It's probably because of the new homepage. Everybody seems eager to get on-line rosters:
An airline at Lelystad Airport.
  • The airline's planner creates the roster from the office, from home or somewhere remote, wherever there is an Internet connection.
  • Pilots view their rosters on line. The location of the pilots does not matter, the Netherlands, England, Finland or Tripoli. Their actual roster is always at hand using the SUMit roster system.
An express service at Amsterdam Airport
  • Request: design a 24 hour roster
  • for a group of eight working at two locations,
  • considering two employees who are not allowed to run nightshifts.
De designed roster will come into force within a few weeks.
The environmental department of a large city contacted SUMit for design of a three shift roster, 7 days a week, with different shift times on Sundays, morning shifts with a small workforce and a most staff assigned to evening shifts.
But last week's most special customer is beyond any doubt: Terry Russell from Queensland Australia.

Terry is the manager of the Reverend Charles Harris Special Care Centre. His centre provides additional services to the local police station.
It took a bloke from
the other side of the globe
to solve my roster
Minister Liddy Clark and manager Terry Russell
Minister Liddy Clark and manager Terry Russell
Department of Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Policy
Queensland, Australia

It is a safe place where arrested drunken locals can safely sleep and sober up.

Extra manpower

In the old days, while in policy custody, some drunken arrestees did not make it through the night. The death toll has gone down to zero since the sober up centre started. So it is a big success, reason for the minister to extend the manpower available for and optimal service, 24 hours a day, as the drinking locals are not limited by office hours.

With this extra manpower, the roster gets far more complex.

Complex demands

  1. 24x7 round the clock shifts with 4 different shift times.
  2. 8 full time employees, 4 part timers with different number of contract hours per fortnight. A few casuals fill in the holes.
  3. The roster must be repeatable, with a fair distribution of shifts among staff.
  4. And the team in each shift must consist of one male and one female.
  5. And as desert: Preferable the team composition should alternate for a change.
All together this is quite a complex set of demands. Some demands conflict. So it is a very challenging roster to design.
  1. Terry consulted experts in his organisation, but there was nobody that could help him.
  2. On the Internet he searched for roster design specialists in Australia. He was unable to find one down under.
  3. In the end Terry used Google and found SUMit, at the other end of the globe.
This type of roster puzzles find a warm welcome here. I simply love them. Yet this combination of demands was extraordinary complex. It took me days to find a roster that met all demands.

Solution on line

Fixed, rolling roster for employees Such a designed roster pattern finds a place in the on line roster system. Terry views is at the other and of the world and gives his comments by phone. This is a wonderful way of cooperation. It is like we team up shoulder to shoulder. The roster meets his demands, is now in the system and the computer repeats the patterns upon one mouse click. Today, Monday 7th June Terry's employees are working according the new roster.


To me, the best part of all Terry's Australian English. I love all the powerful expressions. The most special one arrived at the project finish, an Ozzie compliment, that took me a few moments to get used to: De SUMit Buddha die uw rooster uitpuzzelt

Henk, your blood is worth bottling!

Well, eh, cheers mate!

Till next nut,
Nut a band with music from the seventies till now.