Publication Type

Journal Article

Version

Preprint

Publication Date

1-2009

Abstract

One way to coordinate workers along an assembly line that has fewer workers than work stations is to form a bucket brigade. The throughput of a bucket brigade on discrete work stations may be compromised due to blocking even if workers are sequenced from slowest to fastest. For a given work distribution on the stations we find policies that maximize the throughput of the line. When workers have very different production rates, fully cross-training the workers and sequencing them from slowest to fastest is almost always the best policy. This policy outperforms other policies for most work distributions except for some cases in which limiting the work zones of workers produces higher throughput. In environments where the work can be adjusted across stations, we identify conditions for a line to prevent blocking.

Keywords

bucket brigades, assembly lines, work stations, cross-training, work sharing

Discipline

Management Sciences and Quantitative Methods | Operations and Supply Chain Management

Research Areas

Operations Management

Areas of Excellence

Analytics for Business, Consumer and Social Insights

Publication

Production and Operations Management

Volume

18

Issue

1

First Page

48

Last Page

59

ISSN

1059-1478

Identifier

10.1111/j.1937-5956.2009.01009.x

Publisher

Wiley

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1937-5956.2009.01009.x

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