Kit preparation for mixed-model assembly: efficiency impact of confirmation methods
Journal article, 2018
Purpose – Confirmations are applied in kit preparation for mixed-model assembly to promote quality, but research that explains the impact on time efficiency has been lacking. The purpose of this paper is to determine the extent to which the type of confirmation method relates to time-efficient kit preparation when order batching is applied.
Design/methodology/approach – An industrially relevant laboratory experiment is applied, simulating kit preparation with order batching for mixed-model assembly. The time efficiency is studied as associated with four confirmation methods – barcode ring scanner, button presses, voice commands and RFID-reading wristbands – when applied as pick-from and place-to confirmation. Furthermore, the paper also considers the quality outcome.
Findings – Efficiency is promoted by methods that minimise interrupting the picker’s motions when performing pick-from confirmations and with methods that allow each hand to place components and perform place-to confirmations simultaneously – here represented by button presses and RFID-reading wristbands. Moreover, combining various methods for the tasks of pick-from or place-to confirmation can benefit efficiency.
Research limitations/implications – Pickers at an early stage of the learning curve (one shift of training) were considered.
Practical implications – The findings promote the customised applications of picking information systems in industry.
Social implications – Combining various methods for the tasks of pick-from and place-to confirmation can provide more fitting applications that better align with the picker’s preferences.
Originality/value – Combinations of various methods when applied as either pick-from or place-to confirmation, or both, are studied.