Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2016

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Business Administration

First Advisor

Barrett, Thomas

First Committee Member

Burer, Samuel

Second Committee Member

de Matta, Renato

Third Committee Member

Hewitt, Michael

Fourth Committee Member

Lin, Qihang


This dissertation explores workforce planning in manufacturing and healthcare systems. In manufacturing systems, the existing workforce planning models often lack fidelity with respect to the mechanism of learning. Learning refers to that employees’ productivity increases as they gain more experience. Workforce scheduling in the short term has a longer term impact on organizations’ capacity. The mathematical representations of learning are usually nonlinear. This nonlinearity complicates the planning models and provides opportunities to develop solution methodologies for realistically-sized instances. This research formulates the workforce planning problem as a mixed-integer nonlinear program (MINLP) and overcomes the limitations of cur- rent solution methods. Specifically, this research develops a reformulation technique that converts the MINLP to a mixed integer linear program (MILP) and proposes several techniques to speed up the solution time of solving the MILP.

In organizations that use group work, workers learn not only by individual learning but also from knowledge transferred from team members. Managers face the decision of how to pair or team workers such that organizations benefit from this transfer of learning. Using a mathematical representation that incorporates both in- dividual learning and knowledge transfer between workers, this research considers the problem of grouping workers to teams and assigning teams to sets of jobs based on workers’ learning and knowledge transfer characteristics. This study builds a Mixed- integer nonlinear programs (MINP) for parallel systems with the objective of maximizing the system throughput and propose exact and heuristic solution approaches for solving the MINLP.

In healthcare systems, we focus on managing medical technicians in medical laboratories, in particular, the phlebotomists. Phlebotomists draw specimens from patients based on doctors’ orders, which arrive randomly in a day. According to the literature, optimizing scheduling and routing in hospital laboratories has not been regarded as a necessity for laboratory management. This study is motivated by a real case at University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, where there is a team of phlebotomists that cannot fulfill doctors requests in the morning shift. The goal of this research is routing these phlebotomists to patient units such that as many orders as possible are fulfilled during the shift. The problem is a team orienteering problem with stochastic rewards and service times. This research develops an a priori approach which applies a variable neighborhood search heuristic algorithm that improves the daily performance compared to the hospital practice.


Dynamic programming, Human Learning, Integer programming, Nonlinear programming, Task assignment, Technician routing


xvi, 120 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 116-120).


Copyright © 2016 Huan Jin