This paper addresses the problem of assigning operators to teams that work in 1-, 2-, or 3-daily-shift systems. The problem was motivated by, and illustrated with a case situation encountered in Dutch manufacturing industry. The problem addressed forms an extension of cell formation problems which are currently in the phase of addressing labor-related issues in cell design. A generalized goal problem formulation is presented to address multiple, conflicting objectives covering cross-training of workers, ensuring adequate levels of labor flexibility and minimizing labor-related costs. The proposed solution procedure consists of two phases. In the first phase, shift systems, in which applicable machines and the sizes of each shift team are identified. The next phase deals with assignment of operators to various teams and identification of specific cross-training needs for various workers. This phase involves the use of interactive goal programming. The methodology is illustrated by a numerical example derived from the case situation. (c) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- shift systems
- goal programming