Measuring complexity in mixed-model assembly workstations
Journal article, 2013

In an effort to maintain or increase their market share and at the same time prevent costs from escalating, manufacturing organisations are increasingly using their current manufacturing system to produce custom output. As a consequence, the large number of product variants increases significantly the complexity of manufacturing systems, both for the operators as for the support services. This is especially true in automotive industry, where customisation is increasing at a rapid pace. To counter the ensuing loss of productivity, a more fundamental approach to dealing with this complexity in manufacturing processes is required. In order to investigate the impact of complexity on production performance, one must first delineate the concept and then identify as unambiguously as possible highly complex workstations. This article defines complexity at the workstation level and proposes a complexity measure for mixed-model assembly workstations. Based on data from several leading automotive companies from Belgium and Sweden, some statistical models are proposed to characterise workstations complexity. The models are described and their validity and accuracy are discussed.

manufacturing complexity

production engineering

mixed-model assembly line


Luiza Zeltzer

Ghent university

Veronique Limère

Ghent university

Hendrik Van Landeghem

Ghent university

El-Houssaine Aghezzaf

Ghent university

Johan Stahre

Chalmers, Product and Production Development, Production Systems

International Journal of Production Research

0020-7543 (ISSN) 1366-588X (eISSN)

Vol. 51 15 4630-4643

Subject Categories

Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance




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