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  • Thurer-et-al_IJPE_2017

    Rights statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in International Journal of Production Economics. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in International Journal of Production Economics, 188, 2017 DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpe.2017.03.025

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Drum-buffer-rope and workload control in high-variety flow and job shops with bottlenecks: an assessment by simulation

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>06/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Production Economics
Volume188
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)116-127
Publication statusPublished
Early online date5/04/17
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Two key concepts in the production planning and control literature that incorporate an order
release function are the Theory of Constraints, with its drum-buffer-rope release method, and
Workload Control, with its load-based release methods. When order release is applied, jobs are
not directly released to the shop floor – release is controlled to realize certain performance
measures. The performance impacts of drum-buffer-rope and Workload Control order release
have been assessed separately, but the two approaches have not been directly compared in one
study. This is a major shortcoming that leaves practitioners without guidance on which release
method to select. This study assesses the performance of drum-buffer-rope and Workload
Control release in a pure job shop and a general flow shop with varying levels of bottleneck
severity. Both bottleneck oriented and non-bottleneck oriented Workload Control release
methods are included. Simulation results show that Workload Control release methods lead to
better performance than drum-buffer-rope if bottleneck severity is low. But Workload Control,
including its bottleneck oriented release methods, is outperformed by drum-buffer-rope if a
strong (or severe) bottleneck exists. Workload Control gains an advantage in balanced shops due
to its unique load balancing function, which attempts to evenly distribute workloads across
resources. But this becomes functionless when there is a strong bottleneck. Our sensitivity
analysis suggests that the performance differences between release methods are not affected by
routing characteristics or the proportion of jobs that visit the bottleneck.

Bibliographic note

This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in International Journal of Production Economics. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in International Journal of Production Economics, 188, 2017 DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpe.2017.03.025