Crew Planning Best Practice: Take the Guesswork Out of Personnel Scheduling

As a crew planner, you know that your people are your most valuable assets. When your company relies on having the right people on the job at the right time, you can’t afford a scheduling mistake.

But in the oil and gas industry, scheduling personnel across multiple projects and locations can be challenging if you’re gathering worker information from various places and using spreadsheets to manually manage your crew schedules. Simply put, the more manual processes you have in place to schedule workers, the more risk you introduce into your process.

In this webinar, we introduce you to a more reliable way to plan your crews along with a case study of how Odfjell Drilling has implemented this practice with great results. Among other benefits, this method helps teams centralize the schedule planning process and removes any guesswork thus increasing certainty across scheduling.

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Webinar Overview:

This Best Practice Crew Planning webinar includes:

  • Trond Johannes Vetås, Process Involvement Coordinator – HR Personnel Administration at Odfjell Drilling demonstrates how his team uses ProPeople HRIS Software for better crew planning
  • Anita Bø, Director at ProPeople, provides a detailed walk- through of the recommended workflow – the five steps of crew planning – for planning better schedules using ProPeople HRIS.

The Five Steps of Crew Planning

As Anita explains in the webinar, there are five key steps to improved crew planning that ProPeople HRIS supports:

  1. Planning & Scheduling
  2. Finding the Right Person
  3. Communication
  4. Updated Data
  5. Change Management

When using manual processes and spreadsheets to perform these five tasks, scheduling your crew is going to require more time and may cost you more money in the end. Instead, following best practices supported by a central HRIS system tailor-made for your industry scheduling will help your team plan crews faster and with more cost certainty.

Step 1: Planning & Scheduling

Rather than pulling information from various systems to manually build fixed schedules for your crew, ProPeople HRIS software can help create schedules faster with more accuracy using automated tools and a single registry that contains all the current and historical information you need to build intelligent schedules. ProPeople purpose-built HRIS software allows for an unlimited number of fixed schedules/rotations and can automatically generate each activity for the rotation pattern. In addition, fixed schedules can be changed, entire crew can easily be moved, and available work periods (vacant) can be scheduled with ease. 

Step 2: Finding the Right Person

When assigning crew to your schedule, how do you find the right person for each  job? If you’re selecting manually, you’ll likely end up picking the people you remember first. But there can be some fundamental inefficiencies if you are selecting crew members manually and from memory.

If you use ProPeople HRIS instead, you can define competence requirements for unique positions and roles required for a project and then use those requirements when performing a personnel search. Personnel Search will display personnel availability and their competence matrix for the requirements. 

In addition to leveraging competence information within the system to schedule workers, you can also access man-year hours data which becomes very important towards the end of the year. It is expensive to schedule personnel who have worked too much and also expensive to schedule those who have worked too little for the year. Very often, this information is stored in another system (e.g., ERP or time management system) outside of the scheduling system, but this information can be accessed by ProPeople to give schedule planners a single point of reference that includes accurate man-hour information for consideration when scheduling. . 

Step 3: Communication

Once the plan and schedule are finished, the next step is to communicate with workers letting them know where they need to go and when. There are usually several lines of communication going on at any given moment for each job site or rig. When using traditional email systems, keeping track of who knows what and what has been sent to whom can quickly get complicated. Doing things this way can quickly become a mess of tracking communications across your organization, from HR to crew leads down to rig personnel.

There’s a better way of communicating with workers and the team at large. ProPeople has a messages module for managing bulk communications that can be accessed in various ways. The message hub provides the ability to communicate planned activities, changes, and other information to several employees at the same time. You can also send messages to relevant candidates for an activity where you ask them to confirm or deny whether they are taking assignments. Everyone on the scheduling team can see what messages have been sent and received and a log is automatically recorded regarding communication on each individual activity. All messages sent to a person in relation to a specific activity period can also be viewed from the actual activity record. All communication to and from workers can be accessed on their ID card. This can be useful to see how many requests an employee has turned down – when evaluating their man-year hours this should be taken into consideration.

Step 4: Updated Data

Integral to every step in this process is ensuring all data is up to date. Keeping track of all your personnel-related data can be incredibly demanding and maintaining accurate personnel competencies, man-year hours, and activity tracking information for every employee is very challenging using traditional methods. However, with ProPeople employees can keep much of their own information up to date, including expertise, next of kin, and confirming assignments. 

Step 5: Change Management

Change management is part of a planner’s daily life. People get sick, trips get postponed and weather causes delays, not to mention the impact new COVID-19 protocols may have on day-to-day crew availability. ProPeople understands that change management is an inevitable step in schedule planning and has designed solutions that let planners identify changes and quickly adapt. ProPeople tracks all information related to absence, quarantine periods, delays, and more. And not only does ProPeople allow you to make changes quickly and record them, it also provides visual charts that help identify any changes made to an activity. All the tools needed to make and track changes are provided in the ProPeople HRIS solution. 

Learn More: Watch the Webinar

With those steps to best practice crew planning in mind, do you want to see how Odfjell Drilling has implemented some of these solutions on their projects and hear more from Anita on the many benefits ProPeople can bring to your crew planning? If so, watch a recording of the Best Practice Crew Planning with Odfjell Drilling webinar and learn about all the customizable solutions you can employ for your team when managing and scheduling personnel with ProPeople HRIS.

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digital reboot talks

Ensuring Reliability and Security for ProPeople Clients

Earlier this year, ProPeople successfully started to migrate their HRIS solution to the Oracle cloud. This migration helps to ensure ProPeople HRIS clients continue to have reliable access to their secure and compliant data 24/7, 365 days a year.
Anita Bo, Director at ProPeople, sat down with Gonca Kardes from Oracle to discuss the following key points:

  • How the pandemic has impacted ProPeople clients
  • How technology will help clients manage these new challenges
  • Why ProPeople made the decision to migrate to the Oracle Cloud

In this blog, we’ll review Anita’s responses to Gonca’s questions.

How has the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected ProPeople’s Customers?

Initially, all activity stopped, but following the first lockdown, clients became busier than ever. Most of our scheduling software customers are within the oil and gas industry and have many workers on their projects. Customers needed support changing the setup and configuration of their ProPeople software to help manage new COVID-19 practices, such as rotations that contain a quarantine period. Furthermore, they needed to send information to their employees about changes, including documentation that outlined COVID-19 guidelines. One other major shift we experienced was that on-premise ProPeople customers wanted to migrate to software as a solution, or SaaS. Companies also recognized the need to replace their manual processes with more efficient digital workflows.

How can Technology Help Companies Face those Challenges?

There are a number of ways ProPeople HRIS software can help companies overcome these new challenges:

  • Automated workflows: Automated workflows within ProPeople’s new web application will help companies eliminate many manual processes and the use of Excel spreadsheets for critical schedule data. This helps to ensure all information is stored in a central system instead of within a private email or spreadsheets that are not easily accessed by everyone who needs the data.
  • Message Module: ProPeople customers send a lot of information and the message module tool makes it easy for on and offshore projects to keep team members and personnel up to date.
  • Saas Solution: Companies no longer need to think about operational responsibility and everything that comes with it. Bad routines, old equipment, and old hardware that put their data at risk are no longer an issue. Protecting data and systems is an important part of business continuity and ProPeople ensures clients have regular backups of their data and that the data is well protected.

Why did ProPeople Move to Oracle Cloud?

We were hosting our SaaS solution on our local, private cloud and knew it was time to move to a professional hosting solution. As the ProPeople team was helping to migrate more and more customers, we had to do everything manually – all the scaling, monitoring, and security. Everything was handled manually. We needed a professional cloud operator and one that could help us create a safe environment for all of the databases.

Technology, security, and GDPR compliance were key for us during the transition to Oracle Cloud. We receive many security assessment requests from customers for GDPR compliance, so to have all of the data in the same cloud environment makes it a lot easier for us to respond to those GDPR requests to let them know we are compliant.

What is the Expected Impact of this Project on ProPeople and on its Customers?

We expect to have a stable and reliable operating environment for our clients in the future. With the continued support and collaboration of Oracle, we are confident that we can achieve this.

Announcing ProPeople Web – The Newly Designed HRIS Cloud Solution

After more than 25 years as a business-critical HRIS software application for managing scheduling and competence for onshore and offshore projects, ProPeople is re-emerging with a completely new and modern user interface. The updated application is now a full-featured cloud solution that can be accessed anywhere via a standard web browser. With a fully redesigned user experience and strategic enhancements to the core software that improve user efficiencies, ProPeople Web now makes it faster and easier for teams to:

  • Build employee schedules based on competence, skills, and availability to match the demands of your project.
  • Track and monitor worker competence, certificates, and documentation to match the right people to every project.
  • Generate CVs that are always up to date.


What’s New in ProPeople Web?

The new ProPeople Web version focuses on simplifying and integrating functionality that makes the navigation easier to use. Multiple modules are integrated on the main screens and new visualization elements make it easier for users to interpret information and data.  The following provides further details on changes to dashboards, Gantt Charts, Personnel Search, and the Message Module.


Dashboard charts make tracking and monitoring all your key responsibilities easier from one view. This means you won’t need to perform advanced searches any longer and you can easily go to your dashboard to follow your daily tasks, such as follow up on expiring competence, activities without allocated personnel, or activities with competence gaps. In addition, you can also see unread messages and requests for updates to the CV directly from the dashboard.

Gantt Charts

Improved Gantt view now enables the ability to drag and drop several activities at once – which makes it easy to postpone / entire crew. In addition, one can also display last change in date and tool tip which shows competence gaps so you do not send anyone to a project that lacks qualifications:

Personnel Search

A brand-new Personnel Search will help when you have to make quick and correct decisions regarding who to allocate to an activity. The search also returns results on competence gaps, availability, and extended information, such as remaining man-year hours and nearest airport:

Message Module

Our improved Messages module ensures seamless and consistent communication using templates combined with customized messages. Simplify communication with project managers and employees – and make sure they have easy access to all the information they need. Messages + is tightly integrated with our app, ProPeople Staff, where employees can also respond to messages and confirm any assignments.

Learn More About ProPeople Web

If you are looking to learn more about the ProPeople web version, please contact us for an informal chat.