How Lean Approach to Staffing Brings Favorable Performance

How Lean Approach to Staffing Brings Favorable Performance

Companies and organizations are most commonly challenged with managing supposedly uncontrollable work volumes with available staff. There will be times when staff may perceive being underutilized during time of low work volume and at times, staff may feel overwhelmed with high work volume. So, when management finds itself facing these issues then, team members will most probably ask the following questions:

  • How can employees respond to internal and external client inquiries more quickly?
  • How can department do more work with the same staff? As, there will be times when department will have more work than in the past but no budget to hire new staff.
  • How to match staffing levels at time of low work volume.

Staffing Optimization can become reality by balancing application of Capacity Modeling and Lean Assessment which will be described below. 

Capacity Modeling

Capacity Modeling is a process which is used to compute approximate staffing levels and the gaps corresponding to real employee headcounts. Capacity Modeling is most commonly used to

  • Provide information related to department being overstaffed, understaffed or adequately staffed.
  • Create a support for future staffing re-assessments when work volume increase or decrease.

Lean Assessment

Lean Assessment is a process which is used to enhance process cycle time through recognition, reduction and elimination of process waste. It can also be used to

  • Create a relational context between the baseline performance and current process.
  • Point out what works well.
  • Identify long term options along with quick hits for process improvement.

Staffing Optimization and its Roadmap

Staffing optimization requires balancing work supply and demand based on the application of capacity modeling and lean assessment. It is most required when a business or organization experiences:

  • Complaints of slow service or response time.
  • When there is no budget for additional staff but work volume Is increased.
  • When there is a need to reduce staff when work volume is decreased.

Staffing optimization can be utilized using the roadmap steps below as each phase of the roadmap has particular objective.

Define steps:

  • Meet with process owner and sponsor.
  • Creating project charter.
  • Conduct team kickoff meeting.

Steps for Lean assessment:

  • Identify employees’ responsibilities and key business processes.
  • Identify employees for interviews concerning current processes.
  • Keep an eye on the process in action.
  • Document best practices, observations and recommendations.
  • Convey Lean assessment recommendations with process owner, process manager and the sponsor.

Steps for Capacity modeling:

  • Collect time-study figures on work volume, shrinkage and unavailability.
  • Build capacity model for each and every single processes.
  • Build capacity model for the collection of all processes.
  • Carry out staffing gap analysis.

Steps for Staffing optimization:

  • Sum up data related to staffing gaps.
  • Based on Lean assessment, recommend gap closing options and expected impacts.
  • Recommend short, medium and long-term action plan.
  • Convey and validate concluding recommendations with process owner, process manager and the sponsor.

As the tasks associated with Capacity modeling and Lean assessment are ended, the utilization of internal and external standard becomes key to the credibility of project. Internally, it is also preferred to compare staff and the site performance levels, recognize what works well, why it works well and look for opportunity for replicability. Externally, we have to look into the sources of information such as client-relationship managers, industry associations etc.

This methodology is applied to more than a dozen business units and has been found to be extremely effective in yielding quick hits along with medium and long-term opportunities.

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