The impact of the amount of work in process on the use of cross-training

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Abstract

Cross-training is becoming increasingly important to firms in order to cope with the more stringent performance requirements they are faced with in today's market. However, many firms put considerable effort into cross-training their workers only to find out that their workers favour the familiar tasks and hardly use and maintain the newly acquired skills. In this paper we explore the hypothesis that reducing the amount of work in process in a constant work in process (CONWIP) controlled job shop with worker preferences forces workers to make a more balanced use of the skills they possess. We test this hypothesis by means of a simulation study with the level of cross-training as moderating variable. Based on this study, it can be concluded that the control and limitation of the amount of work in process breaks the pattern of workers remaining at their preferred machines and constrains the workers to use and maintain their other skills more.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3171-3190
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Volume49
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • CONWIP
  • cross-training
  • worker preferences
  • CONSTRAINED JOB SHOPS
  • PRODUCTION CONTROL-SYSTEM
  • TRANSFER DELAYS
  • MANUFACTURING SYSTEMS
  • ASSIGNMENT POLICIES
  • FLEXIBILITY

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