Throughput Rate of a Two-worker Stochastic Bucket Brigade

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Work-sharing in production systems is a modern approach that improves throughput rate. Work is shifted between cross-trained workers in order to better balance the material flow in the system. When a serial system is concerned, a common work-sharing approach is the Bucket-Brigade (BB), by which downstream workers sequentially take over items from adjacent upstream workers. When the workers are located from slowest-to-fastest and their speeds are deterministic, it is known that the line does not suffer from blockage or starvation, and achieves the maximal theoretical throughput rate (TR). Very little is known in the literature on stochastic self-balancing systems with work-sharing, and on BB in particular. This paper studies the basic BB model of Bartholdi & Eisenstein (1996) under the assumption of stochastic worker speeds. We identify settings in which conclusions that emerge from deterministic analysis fail to hold when speeds are stochastic, in particular relating to worker order assignment as a function of the problem parameters.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationProgress in Material Handling Research
Subtitle of host publication14TH IMHRC PROCEEDINGS
EditorsKimberly Ellis, Andres Carrano, René de Koster, Gary Forger, J. David Porter, Jeffrey Smith
Place of PublicationCharlotte, NC
PublisherCollege-Industry council on Material Handling Education
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781882780191
StatePublished - 2016
Event14TH IMHRC PROCEEDINGS: Progress in Material Handling Research - KARLSRUHE, Germany
Duration: 12 Jun 201616 Jun 2016


Abbreviated titleIMHRC


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