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Production, Manufacturing and Logistics Bucket brigades revisited: Are they always effective?

Summary: Production, Manufacturing and Logistics
Bucket brigades revisited: Are they always effective?
Dieter Armbruster a
, Esma S. Gel b,*
Department of Mathematics, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
Department of Industrial Engineering, Arizona State University, P.O. Box 875906, Tempe, AZ 85287-5906, USA
Received 23 May 2003; accepted 23 August 2004
Available online 16 December 2004
Previous work on the dynamics of bucket brigades has focused on systems in which workers can be ordered with
respect to their speeds and where this ordering does not change throughout the line. While this assumption is valid
in most environments, it may not be satisfied in some. We consider such environments and explore the conditions under
which bucket brigades continue to be effective (compared to a traditional static allocation) with respect to self-balancing
behavior and throughput performance. A two worker bucket brigade is studied where one worker is faster than the
other over some part of the production line and slower over another part of the line. We analyze the dynamics and
throughput of the bucket brigade in two environments with passing and blocking. We present the dynamics of the sys-
tem in each region of the parameter space and provide insights and operating principles for the implementation and
management of the bucket brigades under various scenarios.


Source: Armbruster, Dieter - Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Arizona State University


Collections: Mathematics