A comparison of scheduling philosophies for manufacturing cells

Ronald Askin, Anand Iyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


In this paper we compare three approaches for assigning workers to tasks and controlling the movement of jobs through cellular manufacturing systems. The objective is to minimize throughput time for part batches. The scheduling approaches considered include 1) individual machine loading with batches being sequenced on a first come, first served basis; 2) a cell dedication strategy wherein the cell is devoted to a single product type at a time; and 3) a job enrichment strategy where each batch is assigned to a single, cross-trained operator who must perform all batch operations. The approaches are compared by queueing approximations and simulation over a variety of conditions. Dedicated cells are shown to perform best when cells are large, with balanced workloads and large lot sizes. Assigning batches to cross-trained workers may produce quality and morale advantages without adversely affecting throughput times as compared to traditional batch handling techniques, particularly if machines are not heavily utilized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)438-449
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 24 1993


  • Cellular manufacturing
  • Group technology
  • Scheduling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Information Systems and Management


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