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Workload Control: Successful Implementation Taking a Contingency-based View of Production Planning & Control

Research output: Working paper

Published
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Abstract

Purpose: To present a successful implementation of a comprehensive Workload Control (WLC) concept; and to describe the associated implementation process. Design/methodology/approach: Longitudinal action research using a contingency-based approach to ensure alignment between: the case company and the characteristics of the WLC approach; and the resulting expected improvements in performance. A set of 17 issues and responses from the literature is used as a checklist for implementing WLC. Findings: Performance improvements include reduced lead times; significant improvement in lateness and tardiness; reduced costs; improved internal and external co-ordination; and higher quality. The relevance of 15 of the 17 implementation issues from the literature is confirmed along with the same response for 10 issues and an improved response for 5 issues. In addition, 3 new issues are identified and addressed. Research limitations/implications: Dependability was a more important competitive priority in this company than speed; and therefore the ability of WLC to reduce lead times was not fully assessed. Practical implications: The importance of a contingency-based approach to production planning and control is confirmed. Comprehensive WLC approaches are closely aligned with the high-variety/low-volume context of Make-to-Order (MTO) companies. Originality/value: This is the first paper that shows performance improvements resulting from WLC alongside a detailed discussion of the implementation process. Few examples of successful implementations have been published previously, and these tend to treat the implementation process as a ‘black box’. Where more detail on the implementation process has been given in previous studies, evidence of effectiveness in practice was not provided.