Saturday, 5 September 2009

Jplan is an online employee scheduler for small to medium sized businesses

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jPlan_ENG.pdf (231 KB)

This application includes a secured login (user/group-based), management of employee data, rotations per employee, 24/7-planning and scheduling (interim workers and volunteers included), vertical verification, flexible reporting (iReport), controlling fixed and variable payment-options, rollback and easy export to payroll.

Most scheduling software is geared towards larger companies (+100 employees) with a proper personnel department. Small businesses cannot afford a proper personnel manager, let aside complicated software, licenses, training- and installation costs.

The application is written in Java (build to Maven, persistence layer = Hibernate with Spring framework), running on a Tomcat server, coupled to a MySQL database. Backups are done with an Ant-script. Jplan is perfectly scalable and 1 single server can easily host about 100 companies. Hosting costs are relatively small (2.500,00 EUR, incl. hardware) and maintenance-costs minimal.

Jplan has been intensively used for 5 years in a home for the elderly with 30 full time employees. In such a 24/7-environment with irregular services, mainly part time workers, frequently changing planning and flexibility, intelligent reporting and ease of use are an absolute must.

Almost all designing-efforts were geared towards user friendliness and native use. No excessive amounts of buttons, tabs, windows, shortcuts, ... but simplicity as basic principle (less=more). Rapid insights and excellent support for planning and business decisions is guaranteed with the use of web-technology, variables, colors and graphs.

Main advantage when using Jplan is time profit ... during training, while scheduling, when looking up data, when comparing, when making decisions,...
Maximum duration of training is 30 minutes for regular users/planners, 1 hour for administrators. Compared to more advanced spreadsheet solutions, the planner gains about 20 minutes per employee, per month. More important is that efficiency plus intelligent reporting results in very cost effective decisions.
Payroll-firms and their help desks gain time also because, the easier the application, the less questions will be asked, the less staff is needed.

Market potential: When strictly used for homes for the elderly and service flats in Belgium, the potential is about 1.200 organizations (total Belgium = 1.750), these are care-organizations with an employee number between 10 to 70. Two larger Belgian payroll-firms confirmed they could cater about 400 potential customers in this specific category.
However, if this application would be partly re-written, it could be used for no matter which small to medium sized business.

Development time: Start-up took place in September 2003 (writing down specifications, design and choice of open source engines). Version 0.4 was implemented on the work floor in December 2003. From then on the application was continuously developed, together with a professional programmer, until the last update, version 6 in 2008.
Total-spend-time was not stop-watched, but modestly estimated at about 3.000 hours.

Property rights: During meetings and demo's with colleague-entrepreneurs, all where immediately prepared to pay 1.000,00 EUR on a yearly basis, only for the use of this on-line application. I consider this price as an easy-to-use minimal pricesetting.
Due to the simplicity of flexible scheduling employees and the low price setting, a target of 500 Belgian and 700 Dutch firms is realistic.
Jplan saves me about 8 hours administration a month (compared to an elaborate spreadsheet-solution) and the clarifying planning economizes about 25,00 EUR a month, per employee.

Currently looking for investors and/or companies that can further develop, deploy, sell and maintain this application

Dutch brochure available

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