Presentation Slides


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Labor turnover can be very detrimental to the performance of traditional serial assembly lines. It has been shown that high turnover rates can reduce annual production throughput in serial assembly lines by more than 16% when these lines operate under a balanced work allocation strategy. This paper investigates whether alternative production methods such as the Bucket Brigade can outperform traditional lines by utilizing dynamic work allocation and active operator replacement policies in order to better absorb the variability introduced by labor turnover.

Problem Description:

The study performed was divided into two phases:

Phase I consisted of using a simple three-station linear assembly line to compare the performance of the Bucket Brigade against a traditional line (fixed work allocation, static operator replacement), and a method using fixed work allocation along with a dynamic replacement policy.

In Phase II, a six-station serial assembly line was used to compare the performance of Bucket Brigades against the traditional balanced line method.


The analyses were based on simulation models that used monthly turnover rates of 0, 6, and 12%. Phase I showed that the Bucket Brigade outperformed the other two methods consistently when operating under moderate (6%) and high (12%) turnover rates. Phase II demonstrated that Bucket Brigades used in conjunction with an active operator replacement policy, was better than the traditional production method in every instance, including the case with 0% turnover.

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