Modeling Optimal Labor Staffing and Value Stream Mapping

Modeling Optimal Labor Staffing and Value Stream Mapping

Background and Challenges

One of the top-five international pharmaceutical manufacturers asked Tefen to help with staffing and operational improvement management for two of its new drug lines, both expected to have a major impact in the pharmaceutical industry in the coming years.

The pharmaceutical manufacturer, concerned with the reforms and changes in the industry, needed a deeper understanding of the optimal staffing requirements and ramp-up plans to achieve operations excellence and fulfill market demand. With lower top line revenue, bottom line costs had to be more efficiently managed for profitability. The manufacturer asked Tefen to design and build a capacity model focused on labor staffing, and training schedule for two of its drug lines, neither of which were fully operational yet.

Because both of the drug lines were being built to new facilities, cycle time, reliability, and OEE metrics were yet to be captured. Thus, the client asked Tefen to design a tool for performance tracking as well as recommend operational improvement opportunities for its plant operations. Conducted in-depth interviews with the plant and shift managers, engineers, business leads, and demand planning staff to understand the current growth strategy.

What has been done? (Tools & Methodologies)

  • The nonoperational status of the drug lines created challenges because it prevented direct observation, MOS, and labor time studies. Thus, we gathered detailed labor standard data from those most familiar with the production processes. With the labor standard data, we analyzed and built the staffing models. Value Stream Mapping was used as a tool for lead-time management and continuous improvement.
  • With a completed staffing model, we constructed likely operating scenarios based on the current baseline and suggested operational improvement recommendations. We then conducted sensitivity analyses on how each variable’s improvements impacted the final FTE count, which created clear prioritization of next steps for the client.

    Labor standard data

    Hiring schedule


The user-friendly staffing model gave the client a convenient method of quantifying operational improvements in terms labor costs, guiding their new product development planning for the coming years.

Sensitivity Analysis showed a 14% increase in OEE availability would require 12 less FTEs. The staffing model also provided a practical training and hiring schedule that adapts to changes in demand, ensuring sufficient staffing to meet demand and minimize costs. The Value Stream Map provided the much-needed structure for tracking cycle times and OEE, which are Key Performance for new drug lines.

The project’s deliverables will help the client track operational improvements as they occur and will gear them to a leaner manufacturing environment.


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