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CHIP triumphs in broadcasting stations all over the world ! OPTI-SERVICE, the broadcast resources management system at the French Overseas Radio and TV agency RFO, after being successfully installed at the Paris HQ and in Guadeloupe, has been deployed at each of its broadcasting stations in French territories all over the world.
The OPTI-SERVICE System spans the entire work cycle at RFO : from forecast planning and estimation, detailed scheduling, computation of bonus and overtime, and loops back to planning.

CHIP triumphs in broadcasting stations all over the world !

CHIP triumphs in broadcasting stations all over the world !

The OPTI-SERVICE System, developed by COSYTEC, is designed to assign automatically required personnel to forecast programs, taking into account the various operating constraints and regulations applicable in the domain.

The production of radio-T.V. programs involves many very capital-intensive equipment and people of various trades and qualifications such as scripts, cameramen, electricians, sound engineers, and director, as well as journalists and post-production technicians. Over a weekly horizon, there may be up to 1000 tasks.

Personnel Planning takes place in several steps. Starting from the situation where total needs outstrip available personnel, the planner must decide between calling in extras or part-time, and over-time for permanent personnel. Then, given the tasks to be carried out , the qualifications and availability of persons, the planner must build a complete time-table for each person, respecting operating constraints and other union rules. Once published, the time-table has to be updated and modified depending on unforeseen events (bad weather, news flash, unexpected occasion ...), while respecting various rules and regulations.

RFO is the French national Radio/T.V. network with world-wide coverage. Its eight overseas sites broadcast on 2 TV and 2 radio stations. In addition to re-transmitting programs sent from the other national stations, it also produces some 4 hours daily of regional programs. The stations are: RFO network
  • La Réunion, Polynésie Française
  • Guyane, Martinique
  • Nouvelle-Calédonie, St. Pierre & Miquelon
  • Guadeloupe, Mayotte

System Integration

The system is interfaced with the Pay Office and the Accounting Service.

OPTI-SERVICE System Integration

On each site, the system optimises the planning of some 50 to 60 full time personnel, organised by trade.

After having computed the minimal number of persons sufficient to handle the given workload, the system constructs a planning that respects worker union rules, balances work among the personnel and optimises their assignments.

Finally, comparing the forecast and the hours effectively worked, the system computes the bonus and overtime for the personnel and informs the pay office. The accounting service also receives information on the time really spent on each task : this will be used to further refine estimations of resource requirements. At term, RFO will be able to schedule very precisely its activities.

Rule Editor

One of the innovative features of OPTI-SERVICE is the possibility for the end-user to create and modify rules used to compute over-time and bonus. Modified following union meetings, the rules are updated at the HQ, then the complied rule base is sent to each station for application.

The rule editor is completely graphical : as end-users click on a structure, all possible extensions (leaf or sub-tree substitutions) are displayed on a side panel. When a choice is taken, the rule display is updated. Of course, it is also possible to undo choices, at the selected tree level

The editor also has a great degree of flexibility since it is based on formal grammar rules. These grammar rules may themselves be modified, via a text editor, to map onto the semantic of the application domain.

Impact on the Planning Process

According to Mr. Collignon, who heads the MIS service in RFO, the planner end-user now have a decision support system capable of automatically and rapidly proposing an initial plan that respects Radio-TV trade union rules. Users can make collaborative decisions and modify graphically the plan.

“The planning tool is complete, covering the initial production requirements up to awarding bonus and over-time”, added Mr. Collignon.

Impact on RFO's Business

  1. Organisational improvements: the system is able to federate actors in each department and integrate all the activities of each station
  2. Uniform planning practices: regardless of the enormous geographical dispersion, all stations would apply the same methods and rules
  3. Reactivity: users can follow the day-to-day evolution of the plan and better react to unforeseen events
  4. Respecting legal and conventional constraints the personnel are assured that constraints are respected and thus benefit from social advances.
David Kajman
RFO Paris

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