Family-based dispatching: Anticipating future jobs

G. Nomden*, D.J. van der Zee, J. Slomp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Group Technology exploits similarities in product and process design to meet the diversity of customer demand in an economic way. In this paper we consider one of the implementations of this concept - family-based dispatching. Intrinsic to family-based dispatching is the grouping of similar types of products for joint processing. In this way the number of set-ups may be reduced. Consequently, lead-time performance of the shop can be improved. We extend existing rules for family-based dispatching by including data on upcoming job arrivals. Typically, this type of data resides in the minds of the operators, or is stored in a shop-floor control system. Its availability allows for (1) better estimates of the composition of a process batch for a family, (2) the consideration of families for which no products are available at the decision moment, and (3) the possibility to start set-ups in anticipation of future job arrivals. The potential of including forecast data in decision-making is demonstrated by an extensive simulation study of a single-machine shop. Results indicate the possibility of significant improvements of flow time performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-97
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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