Evaluation of Mixed-Model U-line Operational Designs

Document Type



Published by Wiley-Blackwell in International Transactions in Operational Research, volume 20 issue 6, 2013. Bryant users may access this article here.

Publication Source

International Transactions in Operational Research


Often in lean manufacturing, multiple products are produced in U-shaped manufacturing cells to simultaneously achieve product variety and production efficiency. We examine two design issues for mixed-model U-lines: work rules (a first-come-first-serve rule and a crossover-and-return rule) and inventory flow choices (direct flow and buffered flow). Simulation results indicated that throughput and labor utilization can be improved by implementing a 'buffer' with the first-come-first-serve rule. Interestingly, the effectiveness of an inventory flow choice was dependent on the work rule (interaction effect), and relationships among performance dimensions differed across the designs.