The Challenge

Pfizer is currently addressing two industry-wide disruptions: an increasing difficulty to deliver blockbuster drugs and a shift towards precision medicines for cancers and rare diseases. These shifts led to two bold initiatives by CEO Albert Bourla. The first initiative focuses on accelerated delivery of medicines to the market by reducing operational cycle times across product development. The second initiative focuses on portfolio diversification, with a goal of bringing 25 new drugs to market by 2025 and an emphasis on delivering breakthrough therapies to meet unmet patient needs globally.


The 2019 Pfizer team won third place in the Spotlight! team competition.

The Solution

The Tauber team focused its analysis in two primary areas: operational revamp and data utilization. In addressing the operational revamp, the team developed a series of new operational ways of working. The main recommendations included two technician teams for manufacture, continuous manufacture enablement, and a structured approach to fulfilling non-manufacture tasks. To improve data utilization, the Tauber team developed a simulation tool that incorporates the facility’s process flows, resource constraints, and capabilities. The simulation tool can analyze major site changes such as changing product mixes and new product capabilities, enabling data-driven decisions on potential cost-benefit changes.

When implemented, the Tauber team’s recommendations will enable a 62% annual batch throughput increase, while reducing end-to-end batch cycle times by 45% and technician working time per batch by 23%. These impacts will enable Sandwich to deliver the clinical product at an accelerated pace, reducing the time to deliver new medicines to market. This supports Pfizer’s industry leadership in both developing future blockbusters and meeting unmet patient needs through the development of breakthrough therapies and precision medicines.

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Tauber Institute for Global Operations offers companies a unique opportunity to connect with U-M students for assistance operations-related challenges with both engineering and business components. Students on Tauber teams are very often recruited by their sponsor companies, a great way to connect with highly talented workforce.
The BEC website lists a variety of programs that offer opportunities to work closely with student teams or projects.