Scheduling Workforce and Workflow in a Service Factory
Author(s)Berman, Oded; Larson, Richard C., 1943-
We define a service factory to be a network of service-related-workstations, at which assigned workers process work-in-progress that flows through the workstations. Examples of service factory work include mail processing and sorting, check processing and telephoned order processing. Exogenous work may enter the factory at any workstation according to any time-of-day profile. Work-in-progress flows though the factory in discrete time according to Markovian routings. Workers, who in general are cross trained, may work part time or full time shifts, may start work only at designated shift starting times, and may change job assignments at midshift. In order to smooth the flow of work-in-progress through the service factory, work-in-progress may be temporarily inventoried (in buffers) at work stations. The objective is to schedule the workers (and correspondingly, the workflow) in a manner that minimizes labor costs subject to a variety of service-level, contractural and physical constraints. Motivated in part by analysis techniques of discrete time linear time-invariant (LTI) systems, an object-oriented linear programming (OOLP) model is developed. Using exogenous input work profiles typical of large U. S. mail processingfacilities, illustrative computational results are included.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Operations Research Center
Operations Research Center Working Paper;OR 287-94
Linear programming, scheduling, service, factory, object-oriented, queueing, queueing networks, Markov chains.