Scheduling software can be a huge time saver for some departments. But it can be a huge time drainer for others.
So how do you make sure it is the right time to purchase?
How do you ensure the product will do enough to pay for itself?
Is it a trustworthy system? Can it handle your needs for years to come?
These are all important questions to think about when researching whether you should purchase scheduling software or not.
So, why should you NOT purchase scheduling software for your department?...
1. If your department staffs less than 5 officers
Unless you have extremely complex rules and processes on paper, there really is no need in this small of a department.
Emailing, texting, calling is all free and manageable when there's only a couple people that you need to reach out to.
Now if there is a need for a better way to track, say, overtime or time off, then maybe scheduling software would be worth it.
It depends on how much time you are taking to do the tasks related to scheduling such as
- Submitting and approving overtime
- Submitting and approving time off
- Filling open shifts
- Maintaining staffing levels
- Scheduling court appearances
- Managing shift trades
All these things can take up a lot of time no matter how many officers you have.
To find out if your department should invest in scheduling software, see how much time it takes you currently.
Then, research the different scheduling providers to see what specific features you need to save you the most time (and money).
2. If you are looking at a generic system that does not cover public safety tasks
Maybe you're on a tight budget and you just want to get into the software world with your scheduling.
You're tired and fed up with spreadsheets and paper forms.
But if you just get into a cheap system that only does the bare minimum, you'll end up having to switch down the road.
Think about it, if you are scheduling with a system that only handles a basic schedule, you'll eventually have to get another system that handles everything else (like overtime, extra duty, time off, court, etc.).
Once all is said and done, a basic scheduling system will take you almost as much time as doing everything manually.
3. If you are in the middle of too many other projects
It can definitely be exciting to implement and explore new software solutions for your department.
You have a problem and you want a solution.
But if you are too busy to put the effort into extensive research, you may end up with a system that doesn't give you a great return on your investment.
We all know the effects of multi tasking... right? Check out some bad effects of multitasking here!
So instead of just rushing to a conclusion and finding a solution that may or may not work, take time to evaluate which system is best for your departments needs.
4. If you don't have any more money in the budget this year.
Unless you will be getting more money in the budget soon, there is no reason to search for a solution until you are financially able to.
It is best to get a few quotes, see what your department can manage, then look into what will work best!
Once you find the perfect solution, it [should] be a quick process to get started, keeping you familiar with the product and not lagging on time in between.
It's not always the right time to implement new software in your department. Yes, software can be extremely beneficial and save your department a lot of time BUT only if it is the right time.
How do you know it is the right time?
- If you have enough officers to make it worth the cost
- If you are looking at options specifically made for law enforcement
- If you have available room in your workload
- If you already factored it into the budget
Once you are ready to start looking, here are some things to keep in mind...
- How Much Does Scheduling Software Cost?
- Pros and Cons - Using Fingerprint Time Clock Scanners in Your Dept.
- The Key to Choosing New Police Software Without Getting Ripped Off
Check out this list of must-have features for your law enforcement scheduling software!
Make sure you're not missing out on the most time saving tools.
- What Are Time Off Accruals and How Can You Manage Them Easily?
- Law Enforcement Schedules: Top 8, 10, and 12-Hour Shift Examples
- 3 Most Common Patrol Schedules for a 100+ Person Police Department