Alternative Title

Cellular Bucket Brigades

Publication Type

Journal Article

Version

Postprint

Publication Date

12-2011

Abstract

Workers in a bucket brigade production system perform unproductive travel when they walk to get more work from their colleagues. We introduce a new design of bucket brigades to reduce unproductive travel. Under the new design, each worker works on one side of an aisle when he proceeds in one direction and works on the other side when he proceeds in the reverse direction. We propose simple rules for workers to share work under the new design and find a sufficient condition for the system to self-balance. Numerical examples suggest that the improvement in throughput by the new design can be as large as 30%. Even with a 20% reduction in labor, the new design can still increase throughput by 7%.

Keywords

bucket brigades, self-balancing assembly lines, work-sharing, production, order-picking dynamical systems

Discipline

Operations and Supply Chain Management

Research Areas

Operations Management

Publication

Operations Research

Volume

59

Issue

6

First Page

1539

Last Page

1545

ISSN

0030-364X

Identifier

10.1287/opre.1110.0958

Publisher

INFORMS

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/opre.1110.0958

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