Friday, August 6, 2010

Why am I getting unscheduled positions after auto scheduling?

By Aaron Taylor

We get calls/emails on a regular basis from clients who report they are getting more unscheduled positions than they'd like.  Perhaps they've just updated the library, changed format clocks (or programming formats completely),  have created the database from scratch, or (frequently) they've "inherited" the database from a PD or MD that is no longer part of the organization.  Here is a checklist of sorts to help you attempt to figure out why you are getting these unscheduled positions and what you may be able to do to reduce their numbers.

1.  Try to fill the unscheduled position. Make sure your replacement window is set up with the triple flag to show all available replacement songs. As you arrow down the list, you'll start to see the songs that violate your unbreakable rules in the Test Results panel. Note which rules occur most often.  You'll then want to circle back to your Rule Tree to see if any of the properties in the problem areas can be loosened up or eliminated.

2.  Visit your Rule Tree and selected Related, Recap Report. This will give you a summary from the last scheduling session of the rules, and how they performed in each category. You can sort by any column to review this. The full report is called THINKING.TXT and can also be reviewed. That is more comprehensive file located in the directory where your data is located (typically c:\mmwin on a  stand alone machine) and named in the form of “database name_Thinking.txt”.  It shows the results for the entire schedule run for all songs considered. You may want to visit with your scheduling consultant and have them help you interpret and "digest" what you are seeing here.

3.  Determine if all songs from the categories in question aren’t scheduling, or just some songs. This is important. If it’s only a few, it’s more likely to be a rule issue. If it is all songs, make sure the category has a check in the Automatic Scheduler setup window.  You may also want to check the scheduling properties of the category and make sure that the search depth and pass orders are set as you intend.

4.  This might sound obvious, but make certain there are songs in the category. MusicMaster can’t schedule what it doesn’t have.

5.  Confirm the clock position isn't a Manual position.  This position type is never automatically scheduled by MusicMaster.

6.  Another good option is to turn on Manual-Assist scheduling. This is available in the Automatic Schedule, Options tab. When enabled, the Scheduler will stop at any position it cannot fill so you can see what is happening as the log schedules.

If you are still having trouble figuring out why MMWIN is "doing what it's doing...", get in touch with your MusicMaster Scheduling Consultant for a personal phone/on line session.  We love to work on these "puzzles" with you!

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