An evaluation of worker cross training and flexible workdays in job shops

Kum Khiong Yang, Scott Webster, Robert A. Ruben

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Capacity flexibility is becoming increasingly important as a means for reducing inventory while maintaining customer service levels. We examine two means to increase capacity flexibility. In particular, we examine an environment where both cross training and flexible workdays are available to respond to workload variability. Flexible workdays are under consideration in the US Legislature. This proposed legislation provides the opportunity for workers to exchange overtime for time off. From a managerial perspective, flexible workdays allow management to shift capacity from periods of light load to periods of heavy load. We simulate the operation of a job shop with both cross training and flexible workdays. Our results indicate that cross training is a far more effective tool for improving performance as compared to flexible workdays. Flexible workdays can be valuable particularly in volatile conditions. However, our results indicate that the degree of cross training is a critical consideration in determining the impact of flexible workdays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)735-746
Number of pages12
JournalIIE Transactions (Institute of Industrial Engineers)
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Job shop scheduling
  • Shop floor control
  • Simulation
  • Workforce scheduling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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