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Offline Gooch

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Staff Shortages Troubleshooting Problems
« on: September 27, 2018, 10:31:18 PM »
I am having enormous difficulty troubleshooting staff shortages, so that industries keep closing. I tend to play 1920X1280 maps from 1960-ish with timeline on, Pak 128.Britain, currently using recent nightly builds since the last few weeks (#163e2b4 is my current).
It does not seem to matter how much infrastructure I connect to an industry the people don't visit (this seems to go for vistors as well as commuters but this is not such a problem, although I have definitely had some brickworks and so-on close because no customers visited the builders yard, not to mention the pub that has all the grain farms in the world supplying it with beer nobody drinks......)
The simplest version of this problem is with oil-fired power stations. I set up crude to refineries, then refineries to the power station but even though I have by this time got a fairly map-wide mail and passenger network (planes, trains and trucks) there is never enough staff to process the crude to feed the power station (nor for that matter enough staff to operate the station, but this does not matter so much as the few staff there are just sit around playing cards waiting for the fuel-oil that never comes.....)
Anyway that is just one example, to cut a long story short - does anyone have any tips on troubleshooting this issue as although I have mightly enjoyed many different approaches none seem to give me an insight into the problem or a solution.
I would be grateful for any illumination.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Staff Shortages Troubleshooting Problems
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2018, 10:46:45 PM »
Welcome to the forums! I hope that you will find this a useful place.

There is a known balance issue with commuting passengers at present: the difficulty appears to be that towns generate too many commercial/industrial buildings in proportion to residential buildings such that there are not enough people to fill the simulated world's jobs. Town growth is a complex matter which will eventually need to be rewritten completely, although because there are not many developers working on Simutrans-Extended, it might take a while for this to be dealt with fully.

Offline Gooch

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Re: Staff Shortages Troubleshooting Problems
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2018, 11:06:44 PM »
Thank you so much for the swift reply!
I will stop tearing my hair out over this one then and just enjoy the trains.
:)
Thanks for the welcome and for being so dedicated to a rich and consistent simulation. There is nothing else like Simutrans Extended.

Offline DrSuperGood

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Re: Staff Shortages Troubleshooting Problems
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2018, 02:01:52 AM »
From experimentation done on the server game the current solution is to manually bulldoze commercial buildings until enough staff make it to the industry. Outside of town growth implications, this should have no negative impact to your transport network as the same number of commuters are heading to the industry instead of random spread out buildings.

Why this is a problem I am not sure. As a guess it might be because the town does not adjust its growth model to accomodate industries inside it. What should happen is that when a town absorbs/gets an industry it rapidly grows its residential until it has sufficient workers to maintain the industry on top of its existing commercial. Like wise when a town loses an industry it rapidly expands its commercial to replace the lost jobs. This at the very least would mask the problem until a better solution.

Offline Gooch

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Re: Staff Shortages Troubleshooting Problems
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2018, 05:22:56 PM »
From experimentation done on the server game the current solution is to manually bulldoze commercial buildings until enough staff make it to the industry. Outside of town growth implications, this should have no negative impact to your transport network as the same number of commuters are heading to the industry instead of random spread out buildings.

Why this is a problem I am not sure. As a guess it might be because the town does not adjust its growth model to accomodate industries inside it. What should happen is that when a town absorbs/gets an industry it rapidly grows its residential until it has sufficient workers to maintain the industry on top of its existing commercial. Like wise when a town loses an industry it rapidly expands its commercial to replace the lost jobs. This at the very least would mask the problem until a better solution.
Thanks for the tip. Do you mean any commercial building, eg Shops and Offices, or any industry building - I am guessing a commercial building is any building that has jobs available - so for example a football ground that has 1100 visitors but has only 32 jobs available might be best to leave alone but some offices with a visitor demand of 20 but 176 jobs available I would want to bulldoze?

*edit* - I just read some of the other threads about this issue. Sorry for creating another thread about it. I think I understand better now.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2018, 05:39:50 PM by Gooch »

Offline Gooch

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Re: Staff Shortages Troubleshooting Problems
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2018, 04:47:56 PM »
Further to my attempts to work as well as I can with this aspect of the simulation.
I have been bulldozing offices and such - and when a new supermarket is generated with a gazillion farms the bulldozer comes out. This does seem to be having some impact in that the numbers of workers visiting my refineries is creeping up but still - and I have been quite.... enthusiastic... with the buldozer - still the refineries (for example) have nowhere near enough staff even after a couple of years.
I have been looking at the Passengers generated/Departed/Arrived graphs in the Production/Boost tab in the Industry Information screen and I am having difficulty correlating it to what this actually represents and how it might be affected by my efforts. These numbers are very low (20/20/93) - even though I may have 1252(882) Jobs available although they have improved - they were 1252(>1240) before bulldozing.
The connected/nearby stops have over 300 arrived each in the graph. I am not sure how to interpret these numbers, and they don't seem to have changed since my buldozing antics started.
Also trying to tie this to building information for residences - most of the buildings I check around the map have Passenger Success(Commuting): at 100% so this would seem to indicate that people who want to commute are managing to go somewhere.
Simply in terms of troubleshooting this what are good strategies for finding/correlating information using the in-game graphs and available information?
Thanks for the patience - It seems that the information is out there on the forums and these questions have been asked before but for some reason it is not clicking for me.

*edit*
 I have been frantically destroying offices and warehouses which I think may be having some effect but it isn't really where I want to be going with my game. In search of a solution I found the "minimum_staffing_percentage_full_production_producer_industry" in simuconf.tab. If I change this would it mean that the refineries would produce even though there are few staff? I could rationalise this to myself with hand-wavey explanations about automation.....

*edit again*
It seems to have gotten my production based freight flows working, it still says staff shortage but setting minimum_staffing_percentage_full_production_producer_industry = 30 seems to have done the trick for now.
My map is an enlightened society where workers can go to work if they want but due to the robotics only 30% need do so for production not to suffer.

:)


« Last Edit: September 30, 2018, 10:29:42 PM by Gooch »

Offline Vladki

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Re: Staff Shortages Troubleshooting Problems
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2019, 10:30:59 PM »
I think I have hit this problem too on the Stehenson-Siemens game. There is one grain mill, well supplied with grain, yet it does not produce anything due to staff shortage. It is in town with omnibus and tram network, and had 600 commuters last game year, yet all of its 300 jobs are vacant...

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Staff Shortages Troubleshooting Problems
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2019, 12:30:07 AM »
I believe that that server game was generated before my recalibration of towns to have a much higher proportion of residential buildings, which should help to prevent this - but only works on maps generated after these changes were implemented.

Offline Vladki

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Re: Staff Shortages Troubleshooting Problems
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2019, 08:22:09 PM »
Is there any workaround for old games?

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Staff Shortages Troubleshooting Problems
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2019, 12:00:30 AM »
It might be possible to tinker with the saved game settings using the advanced settings dialogue, but I am not sure whether this works for city rules.

Offline Jando

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Re: Staff Shortages Troubleshooting Problems
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2019, 01:30:05 PM »
I believe that that server game was generated before my recalibration of towns to have a much higher proportion of residential buildings

My freight-heavy map was made after the recalibration, but frankly, the recalibration doesn't do that much. I just set minimum_staffing_percentage_consumer_industries and the producer one to both at 60% in the settings dialogue (previously I had both of them at 0%) and immediately an estimated 50 or so consumer industries went into staff shortage. Interestingly, the mechanic seems to favour some industries above other ones: most markets are still working, almost all bookshops are not, as if there is a hierarchy of industries in the implementation.

Of course that all could be caused by me placing industries manually as public player. I may have exceeded a normal https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employment-to-population_ratio in doing so. A quick check in an example town of 5.000 inhabitants shows that I have placed industries that demand roughly 1.250 workers in total in that town. That sounds pretty okay, but then I don't know what figures you used to determine the size of the available workforce in an Extended town of a given population.

Offline Vladki

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Re: Staff Shortages Troubleshooting Problems
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2019, 10:08:58 PM »
Well, the manual generation might be an issue. On Stephenson-siemens I have used the "increase industrial density" to generate a few industries (1x clothes, 2x bakeries), and all of them suffer from staff shortage.
You can see on the above screenshot - there were 637 commuters last year, and yet all 345 job positions are vacant. But there is also a coal power plant which was spawned automatically, and works well. It has 320 jobs, and all are filled. 1027 commuters last year. So If there are 1000 commuters to fill 300 jobs, the grain mill with should have at least 200 jobs filled...

Edit: I have deleted the grain mill from the above screenshot and the game message was that "grain mill has closed with loss of 20 jobs, but in the factory info it said 345 jobs ?
« Last Edit: March 20, 2019, 10:59:35 PM by Vladki »

Offline Vladki

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Re: Staff Shortages Troubleshooting Problems
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2019, 08:49:47 PM »
After deleting the manually placed factories (chains), new have chains have spawned almost immediately. Farms are now generated much nicer. However the new grain mill has still problems with staff shortage. Other factories seem to be staffed just fine (paper mill, printworks, news shop), although they have miserable consumption - one unit of newspapers/month.... So there still might be something wrong.

A question, how long does a job last? I mean when one commuter arrives to a factory, and the number of free jobs is reduced, how long is he working, before the job position is free again? Or in other words, if a factory has 100 jobs, how many commuters/month does it need?

Offline merry

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Re: Staff Shortages Troubleshooting Problems
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2020, 12:14:10 PM »
Ok, I have made some experiments, and taken the opposite route to gooch (some may consider it cheating but hey, it's an experiment).
Most of the cities in my recent games (last 2 years) have only readily built themselves low-density housing. The existing 'hovels' have not been replaced unless I demolilsh them. I have done this and replaced with higher density housing in areas near to a couple of steelworks that were chronically short of staff. One in particular had good transport links across the city without effect. Building extensive flats, tenements, etc arouons the steelworks - to the point taht perhaps 3x or 4x population to jobs exist (maybe more), the steelworks have been able to recruit enough workers [and you can see them pouring in and out on foot :-) ].
I guess the moral is not all your city population are working in 'employment' : there are children, retired folks, homemakers, unemployed, self employed, etc. as well as those in employment, so it makes sense that well  under 1/4 of the true population are avaialble to employ at one factory.
So there you have it: just need enough population that people want to work in a hard job at the steelworks.

Now, the upshot of this should feed into the city growth algorithms, and maybe industtry placement needs to trigger population growth. Should labour-intensive factories in turn trigger high-density housing nearby? Or jsut make cities gros to provide the employees - even if by transfer of population from other cities. This might lead to the concept of 'empty' and derelict housing, or even industry. I know taht the number of coders avaialble is limted, so we'll have to wait for this to get to the top of James and others' lists, but now we have some answers anyway...

Offline Dutchman on Rails

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Re: Staff Shortages Troubleshooting Problems
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2020, 02:53:27 PM »
I've used a temporary workaround by drastically lowering the number of workers needed on the industries, attractions and town halls (they too need workers) through custom dat file editing. One thing to note is that industries do not check for workers until supplied with goods. This gets the industries to start producing, though it has other problems.

I also took to trying out some house rules, placing the industries manually. Effectively I abandoned the entire industry chain rules, placing industries and linking them as individual units, which means a chain doesn't necessarily have to be completed (though generally there's at least one good supplied). Other house rules are to make placement rules, for example needing a minimum population in a town. I've also went ahead on James' idea on portals, and made some tries of that. To show the effects I've made a screenshot thread, which people can find at https://forum.simutrans.com/index.php/topic,19834.0.html if they're interested.

Offline Dutchman on Rails

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Re: Staff Shortages Troubleshooting Problems
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2020, 09:43:14 AM »
One more update. I found that my experiments are causing town industrial buildings to be spawned in greater numbers. Occasionally the system still overshoots the amount of available commuters, causing one or more industries to grind to a halt for lack of workers. In that case or when I want to build an industry I simply have the public service player axe several of the town industry buildings (especially those with a large amount of jobs like inns @44), and  that gets the whole thing going again.
Also, it seems the system is looking for balance, to get enough industrial town buildings with jobs for the commuters. I'm not entirely sure and it would help to know the design of the exact logic. I suppose if the system would leave some percentage of 'unemployment' (say, 10%), and/or would be capable of demolishing industrial town buildings when the jobs overshoot, that would solve most of the problem except the part that industries do not check for the more populous towns (so could spawn in hamlets). In my experimental game, they are built by the public service player in the more populous towns, which seems to help and causes some nice eye candy.