Hierarchical cross-training in Work-In-Process-constrained systems

Esma Gel, Wallace J. Hopp, Mark P. Van Oyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We study Work-In-Process (WIP)-constrained flowlines staffed by partially cross-trained workers with hierarchical skill sets. We characterize the optimal worker-to-task assignment policy for CONWIP systems with two workers and general stochastic processing times. This leads us to the "fixed-before-shared" principle, which states that a flexible worker should process a task he/she is uniquely qualified for before helping other workers with shared tasks. To provide insights on the performance opportunity of hierarchical cross-training in systems with limited WIP, we provide a complete characterization of the optimal policy and closed-form expressions of the resulting throughput for the case of exponential processing times. We extend our results to the more general case of floater workers, and illustrate their applicability to various real-world systems. Our analysis shows that hierarchical cross-training can provide significant benefits, but should be implemented with care in WIP-constrained environments such as those making use of pull systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-143
Number of pages19
JournalIIE Transactions (Institute of Industrial Engineers)
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2007

Fingerprint

Flowlines
Processing
Throughput
Workers
Cross-training

Keywords

  • Hierarchical cross-training
  • Workforce agility
  • Worksharing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Management Science and Operations Research

Cite this

Hierarchical cross-training in Work-In-Process-constrained systems. / Gel, Esma; Hopp, Wallace J.; Van Oyen, Mark P.

In: IIE Transactions (Institute of Industrial Engineers), Vol. 39, No. 2, 02.2007, p. 125-143.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gel, Esma ; Hopp, Wallace J. ; Van Oyen, Mark P. / Hierarchical cross-training in Work-In-Process-constrained systems. In: IIE Transactions (Institute of Industrial Engineers). 2007 ; Vol. 39, No. 2. pp. 125-143.
@article{81656869213b4b8d8c0e75d8d20ec537,
title = "Hierarchical cross-training in Work-In-Process-constrained systems",
abstract = "We study Work-In-Process (WIP)-constrained flowlines staffed by partially cross-trained workers with hierarchical skill sets. We characterize the optimal worker-to-task assignment policy for CONWIP systems with two workers and general stochastic processing times. This leads us to the {"}fixed-before-shared{"} principle, which states that a flexible worker should process a task he/she is uniquely qualified for before helping other workers with shared tasks. To provide insights on the performance opportunity of hierarchical cross-training in systems with limited WIP, we provide a complete characterization of the optimal policy and closed-form expressions of the resulting throughput for the case of exponential processing times. We extend our results to the more general case of floater workers, and illustrate their applicability to various real-world systems. Our analysis shows that hierarchical cross-training can provide significant benefits, but should be implemented with care in WIP-constrained environments such as those making use of pull systems.",
keywords = "Hierarchical cross-training, Workforce agility, Worksharing",
author = "Esma Gel and Hopp, {Wallace J.} and {Van Oyen}, {Mark P.}",
year = "2007",
month = "2",
doi = "10.1080/07408170600729184",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "39",
pages = "125--143",
journal = "IISE Transactions",
issn = "2472-5854",
publisher = "Taylor and Francis Ltd.",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Hierarchical cross-training in Work-In-Process-constrained systems

AU - Gel, Esma

AU - Hopp, Wallace J.

AU - Van Oyen, Mark P.

PY - 2007/2

Y1 - 2007/2

N2 - We study Work-In-Process (WIP)-constrained flowlines staffed by partially cross-trained workers with hierarchical skill sets. We characterize the optimal worker-to-task assignment policy for CONWIP systems with two workers and general stochastic processing times. This leads us to the "fixed-before-shared" principle, which states that a flexible worker should process a task he/she is uniquely qualified for before helping other workers with shared tasks. To provide insights on the performance opportunity of hierarchical cross-training in systems with limited WIP, we provide a complete characterization of the optimal policy and closed-form expressions of the resulting throughput for the case of exponential processing times. We extend our results to the more general case of floater workers, and illustrate their applicability to various real-world systems. Our analysis shows that hierarchical cross-training can provide significant benefits, but should be implemented with care in WIP-constrained environments such as those making use of pull systems.

AB - We study Work-In-Process (WIP)-constrained flowlines staffed by partially cross-trained workers with hierarchical skill sets. We characterize the optimal worker-to-task assignment policy for CONWIP systems with two workers and general stochastic processing times. This leads us to the "fixed-before-shared" principle, which states that a flexible worker should process a task he/she is uniquely qualified for before helping other workers with shared tasks. To provide insights on the performance opportunity of hierarchical cross-training in systems with limited WIP, we provide a complete characterization of the optimal policy and closed-form expressions of the resulting throughput for the case of exponential processing times. We extend our results to the more general case of floater workers, and illustrate their applicability to various real-world systems. Our analysis shows that hierarchical cross-training can provide significant benefits, but should be implemented with care in WIP-constrained environments such as those making use of pull systems.

KW - Hierarchical cross-training

KW - Workforce agility

KW - Worksharing

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=33845311564&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=33845311564&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/07408170600729184

DO - 10.1080/07408170600729184

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:33845311564

VL - 39

SP - 125

EP - 143

JO - IISE Transactions

JF - IISE Transactions

SN - 2472-5854

IS - 2

ER -