29a Sharing Work Dynamically on U-Lines_ System Productivity and Indi.pdf (3.66 MB)

Sharing work dynamically on U-lines: System productivity and individual remuneration

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posted on 14.05.2020 by Yue WU

Inspired by the concept of cellular bucket brigades, we propose simple rules for workers to share work on U-shaped lines with discrete work stations. For a three-station U-line with a worker-specific velocity setting, we identify the policies that maximize system productivity and the policies that maximize each worker’s remuneration rate. For a team with a faster worker and a slower worker, we find that the faster worker’s preferred policies maximize system productivity for most work-content distributions. When the policies preferred by the system, the faster worker, and the slower worker are all different, we find a way to resolve the tripartite conflict. On the other hand, if both workers prefer the same policy then this policy also maximizes system productivity. For an M-station U-line with a worker- and station-specific velocity setting, we show that the system always converges to a fixed point or a period-2 orbit. We provide a sufficient condition for the fixed point to be a global attractor. We also develop algorithms to determine the fixed point and the corresponding throughput. We find that increasing the number of stations generally improves throughput for certain work-content distributions. However, further dividing the U-line into more stations has diminishing returns.


Document type

Master thesis

Degree awarded

MSc in Operations Management

Year degree awarded



LIM, Yun Fong

Committee members


SMU School

Lee Kong Chian School of Business

No. of pages