Improving Expectations Of Snow And Ice Management Services: Calculating Cycle Time

By Phil Harwood, MBA

Instead of starting with capacity, start with cycle time. This is the time it takes to complete work in a specified area with a specific type and size resource. For example, cycle time is how long it takes to plow a certain property one complete time, from start to finish, or for a truck to complete its entire route for a particular event.

Once cycle time has been determined, client expectations should be factored in. What could be found is the cycle time significantly increases. Only after cycle time has been adjusted to account for client expectations can an operator determine the amount of demand a property requires—how much capacity it will use up to meet this demand.

In terms of cycle time for an entire fleet and overall capacity, it is important to know the total capacity, to recognize if this is fixed, and to recognize there is only one point where it intersects with demand.

Excess capacity may exist in a low snow year or if sales are light. Similarly, capacity may be exceeded in a heavy snow year or if sales are high. Capacity may also be exceeded when customer expectations are higher than anticipated.

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