Title: Management of overlapped cross-training: with or without a supervisor?

Authors: Yong Yin; Ikou Kaku; ChenGuang Liu

Addresses: Graduate School of Business, Doshisha University, Karasuma-Imadegawa, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto, 602-8580, Japan ' Faculty of Environmental and Information Studies, Tokyo City University, Japan ' School of Management, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi'an, 710072, China

Abstract: This paper discusses a short-term or periodic optimal workforce agility management decision for a serial manufacturing cell line. We consider a manufacturing cell under an uncertain business environment with product variability. During some planning period, there is a change in product type such as the introduction of a new product or model change of an old product. As a result of the change, some worker of the production cell becomes bottleneck which may cause congestion of products flow in the upstream and idling in the downstream. To solve the bottleneck problem, strategies such as using cross-trained workers or supervisor are considered. The production cell is then staffed by cross-trained workers who are partially cross-trained (e.g. overlapped cross-trained) and/or a supervisor who is full cross-trained. These strategies are modelled and analysed under different situations. Finally, we give optimal decisions for the management of workforce agility through the analysis of the comparative statics.

Keywords: manufacturing cells; workforce agility; flexibility; worksharing; serial production; cross-training; supervisors; agility management; uncertainty; product variability; bottleneck problem; agile workforce.

DOI: 10.1504/AJMSA.2016.080472

Asian Journal of Management Science and Applications, 2016 Vol.2 No.3, pp.213 - 227

Accepted: 17 Dec 2015
Published online: 25 Nov 2016 *

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