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.
mixed-model assembly line