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Production system design elements influencing productivity and ergonomics - A case study of parallel and serial flow strategies

Neumann, W. P. ; Winkel, J. ; Medbo, L. ; Magneberg, R. and Mathiassen, Svend Erik LU (2006) In International Journal of Operations & Production Management 26(8). p.904-923
Abstract
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate a strategic change from parallel cell-based assembly (old) to serial-line assembly (new) in a Swedish company with special reference to how production system design elements affect both productivity and ergonomics. Design/methodology/approach - Multiple methods, including records and video analysis, questionnaires, interviews, biomechanical modelling, and flow simulation were applied. Findings - The new system, unlike the old, showed the emergence of system and balance losses as well as vulnerability to disturbances and difficulty handling all product variants. Nevertheless, the new system as realised partially overcame productivity barriers in the operation and management of the old... (More)
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate a strategic change from parallel cell-based assembly (old) to serial-line assembly (new) in a Swedish company with special reference to how production system design elements affect both productivity and ergonomics. Design/methodology/approach - Multiple methods, including records and video analysis, questionnaires, interviews, biomechanical modelling, and flow simulation were applied. Findings - The new system, unlike the old, showed the emergence of system and balance losses as well as vulnerability to disturbances and difficulty handling all product variants. Nevertheless, the new system as realised partially overcame productivity barriers in the operation and management of the old system. The new system had impaired ergonomics due to decreased physical variation and increased repetitiveness with cycle times that were 6 per cent of previous thus increasing repetitiveness, and significantly reducing perceived influence over work. Workstations' uneven exposure to physical tasks such as nut running created a potential problem for workload management. The adoption of teamwork in the new system contributed to significantly increased co-worker support - an ergonomic benefit. Practical implications - Design decisions made early in the development process affect both ergonomics and productivity in the resulting system. While the time pattern of physical loading appeared to be controlled by flow and work organisation elements, the amplitude of loading was determined more by workstation layout. Psychosocial conditions appear to be affected by a combination of system elements including layout, flow, and work organisation elements. Strategic use of parallelisation elements in assembly, perhaps in hybrid forms from configurations observed here, appears to be a viable design option for improved performance by reducing the fragility and ergonomic problems of assembly lines. Originality/value - The interacting design elements examined here pose potential "levers" of control by which productivity and ergonomics could be jointly optimised for improved total system performance. (Less)
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organization
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type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS, ASSEMBLY WORK, LOW-BACK-PAIN, SWEDISH AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY, IMPACT, STRESS, SYMPTOMS, QUALITY, PERFORMANCE, LINE, ergonomics, cellular, productivity rates, production planning, assembly lines, Sweden, manufacturing
in
International Journal of Operations & Production Management
volume
26
issue
8
pages
904 - 923
publisher
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
external identifiers
  • wos:000240249100004
  • scopus:33746334447
ISSN
0144-3577
DOI
10.1108/01443570610678666
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
2975a78c-58f2-4f1f-8856-7e3d62e62f45 (old id 1417453)
date added to LUP
2016-04-04 08:54:24
date last changed
2021-06-30 03:16:01
@article{2975a78c-58f2-4f1f-8856-7e3d62e62f45,
  abstract     = {Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate a strategic change from parallel cell-based assembly (old) to serial-line assembly (new) in a Swedish company with special reference to how production system design elements affect both productivity and ergonomics. Design/methodology/approach - Multiple methods, including records and video analysis, questionnaires, interviews, biomechanical modelling, and flow simulation were applied. Findings - The new system, unlike the old, showed the emergence of system and balance losses as well as vulnerability to disturbances and difficulty handling all product variants. Nevertheless, the new system as realised partially overcame productivity barriers in the operation and management of the old system. The new system had impaired ergonomics due to decreased physical variation and increased repetitiveness with cycle times that were 6 per cent of previous thus increasing repetitiveness, and significantly reducing perceived influence over work. Workstations' uneven exposure to physical tasks such as nut running created a potential problem for workload management. The adoption of teamwork in the new system contributed to significantly increased co-worker support - an ergonomic benefit. Practical implications - Design decisions made early in the development process affect both ergonomics and productivity in the resulting system. While the time pattern of physical loading appeared to be controlled by flow and work organisation elements, the amplitude of loading was determined more by workstation layout. Psychosocial conditions appear to be affected by a combination of system elements including layout, flow, and work organisation elements. Strategic use of parallelisation elements in assembly, perhaps in hybrid forms from configurations observed here, appears to be a viable design option for improved performance by reducing the fragility and ergonomic problems of assembly lines. Originality/value - The interacting design elements examined here pose potential "levers" of control by which productivity and ergonomics could be jointly optimised for improved total system performance.},
  author       = {Neumann, W. P. and Winkel, J. and Medbo, L. and Magneberg, R. and Mathiassen, Svend Erik},
  issn         = {0144-3577},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {8},
  pages        = {904--923},
  publisher    = {Emerald Group Publishing Limited},
  series       = {International Journal of Operations & Production Management},
  title        = {Production system design elements influencing productivity and ergonomics - A case study of parallel and serial flow strategies},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/01443570610678666},
  doi          = {10.1108/01443570610678666},
  volume       = {26},
  year         = {2006},
}