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How RBFA referees drive 1,500,000 km less per season without violating predefined planning requirements

Time-efficient, errorless, and travel cost saving resource scheduling software

The Royal Belgian Football Association (RBFA) represents all football clubs in Belgium. The RBFA comprises 2,000 football clubs and organizes 300,000 football games every season. 

RefAssist helps the association with its daily referee management and the efficient scheduling of referees.

Challenge

A Large number of inefficient appointments, resulting in bad key performance indicators (KPIs) and high transport costs

When appointing referees, a very large number of boundary conditions must be considered (e.g., referees can’t go back too often or too quickly to the same team, category [qualities], availability, personal preferences, etc.). There is also a general shortage of referees, so they have to be appointed as efficiently as possible. Furthermore, travel costs should be rationalized.

Approach

Integration with RBFA’s third-party data and determine conflicting KPIs to optimize in all possible scenarios

As a first step, the RefAssist team built a seamless integration with RBFA’s data sources, so that all the necessary data, such as leagues, divisions, teams, seasons, matches, venues, and officials are always up to date in RefAssist. 

Then, together with the appointment officers, the RefAssist business consultants made a profound analysis of all needs and parameters. Applied rules of thumb and insights in the manual planning process, mainly based on hopping from one Excel file to another, were gathered. Given this information, RefAssist was configured and tuned for different scenarios. The KPI results were compared to the original situation and fine-tuned during several iterations until a solution was obtained that was acceptable for all stakeholders.

Solution

Intelligent planning tools get the job done

The manual planning application supports the RBFA’s appointment officers by filtering automatically the available and appropriate officials and sorting them by driving distance, performances, or number of appointed matches. They can easily overrule the unallowed referees or even appoint from the referee’s point of view.

The appointment officers can also generate automatic and optimized referee appointments at the touch of a button, according to the RBFA KPIs such as minimizing travel distances.

Alerts and warnings ensure that no errors are made in the assignments and that officials are always informed. 

Result

Optimized resource planning leading to cost savings, happy planners, and operational excellence

According to Belgian appointment officers, the appointment process became 80% more time-efficient. In this case, transport expenses were rationalized drastically by 25% to 30%. Belgian football referees drive 1,500,000 km less per season without worsening other predefined KPIs and even improving some of them (e.g., more matches are appointed by using resources more efficiently).

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