Bucket brigades with worker learning

Hans Armbruster, Esma Gel, Junko Murakami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The dynamics and throughput of a bucket brigade production system is studied when workers' speeds increase due to learning. It is shown that, if the rules of the bucket brigade system allow a re-ordering of its workers then the bucket brigade production system is very robust and will typically rebalance to a self-organizing optimal production arrangement. As workers learn only those parts of the production line that they work on, the stationary velocity distribution for the workers of a stable bucket brigade is non-uniform over the production line. Hence, depending on the initial placement of the workers, there are many different stationary velocity distributions. It is shown that all the stationary distributions lead to the same throughput.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-274
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007


  • Bucket brigades
  • Dynamical analysis
  • Dynamics of production systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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