Factors affecting opportunity of worksharing as a dynamic line balancing mechanism

Esma Gel, Wallace J. Hopp, Mark P. Van Oyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


We consider the problem of optimal worksharing between two adjacent workers each of whom processes a fixed task in addition to their shared task(s). We use a Markov Decision Process (MDP) model to compute optimal policies and provide a benchmark for evaluating threshold policy heuristics. Our approach differs from previous studies of dynamic line balancing in that we focus on system architecture factors that affect the performance improvement opportunity possible through worksharing relative to a traditional static worker allocations, as well as practical heuristics for worksharing. We find that three such factors are significant whether we use an optimal or a heuristic control policy: ability to preempt the shared task, granularity of the shared task and overall variability of the task times. Understanding the role of these factors in a given production environment provides a means for determining where and how worksharing can have significant logistical benefits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)847-863
Number of pages17
JournalIIE Transactions (Institute of Industrial Engineers)
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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