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Flexible Servers in Understaffed Tandem Lines H. Eser Kirkizlar

Summary: Flexible Servers in Understaffed Tandem Lines
H. Eser Kirkizlar
School of Management
State University of New York ­ Binghamton
Binghamton, NY 13902-6000, U.S.A.
SigrŽun AndradŽottir · Hayriye Ayhan
H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, GA 30332-0205, U.S.A.
We study the dynamic assignment of cross-trained servers to stations in understaffed lines
with finite buffers. Our objective is to maximize the production rate. We identify optimal
server assignment policies for systems with three stations, two servers, different flexibility
structures, and either deterministic service times and arbitrary buffers or exponential service
times and small buffers. We use these policies to develop server assignment heuristics for
Markovian systems with larger buffer sizes that appear to yield near-optimal throughput. In
the deterministic setting, we prove that the best possible production rate with full server
flexibility and infinite buffers can be attained with partial flexibility and zero buffers, and we
identify the critical skills required to achieve this goal. We then present numerical results
showing that these critical skills, employed with an effective server assignment policy, also


Source: Ayhan, Hayriye - School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology


Collections: Engineering