Univercity of Canterbury

Mount Hutt Staff Flexibility

MANAGEMENT SCIENCE HONOURS PROJECT 2000

Alika Mitchell

Mount Hutt Ski Area is a ski field located 23 kilometres south west of Methven, a small town in the centre of the South Island of New Zealand. The study performed for Mount Hutt focussed on staff cross-utilisation.

Currently Mount Hutt's operation is divided into 13 departments, each of which control different areas of operation. The study centred on the benefits of developing a more flexible workforce. For the ski industry, staff flexibility offers a way to better control the variability that affects this industry.

The initial focus of the study was moving staff between departments on a permanent basis. The analysis involved determining the costs related to training, wages and being understaffed and showed there was little value in moving staff between departments for the remainder of the season. The principle reason for this is because each of the departments has similar weekly demand patterns.

The second component focussed on moving staff between departments on a temporary basis, i.e. one-off movements. The study showed that this interdepartmental movement has a financial impact of between a $7,000 cost to a $90,000 saving. The exact amount depends on the value Mount Hutt management places on being understaffed.

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