Project Title: Improve Early Release Process for Employees


Project sponsor: Kelly

Project Green Belt: Tim

Tim was asked to find out how to improve the VTO process (voluntary time off, or “going home early”) in a large call center. Prior to FY## this had been a manual process, very hands on, very reactive to call volume, and done on a small scale. With the introduction of flex schedules, the call center needed to make this process become predictable, scalable and time-efficient.

Measure and Analysis

The old process took 170 minutes – the time it took to recognize availability, validate with a report, notify coaches, pull schedules, and walk around the floor literally tapping agents on the shoulder to release them. Once the flex schedules were built, Tim worked with the operations team to build the scheduling model into the process, assuming that an agent would not work a full 8-hour day.

Improve and Control

In the new process, coaches became Informed, rather than Approvers. A more sophisticated method was created to identify excess capacity. Finally, Tim now notifies agents via e-mail, and distribution lists are based on agent schedules. That e-mail is flagged to pop-up, and read receipts are used. Now Tim can know for sure who has received the message that they can leave.

Potential savings for FY## are $206,000. For the next FY the call center expects to save $409,000. Employees and coaches alike appreciate the new process, which is seamless and invisible to the customer. Tim expects to share this process with other contact centers.


Six Sigma Green Belt worked with the call center manager and his sponsor to drill down to root causes of a problem that was causing significant employee dissatisfaction and costing the company wasted money. By developing a change plan that addressed the causes he was able to quickly reduce the magnitude of the problem and improve scheduling efficiency. The result was a “double whammy” of greatly improved productivity and lower costs. The control system he put in place with the process owner assured that the results would be maintained long-term.

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