Then listen to Don Eisenstein
, associate professor of product management at the University of Chicago Business School, and John Bartholdi, professor at Georgia Institute of Technology's School of Industrial and Systems Engineering.
The twist Bartholdi and Eisenstein
added to wave-picking is sequencing workers from slowest to fastest.They say this keeps the line balanced and will eliminate backups because the worker in front will always be faster than the one behind him.
Using mathematical equations, the professors ran through various sequences of pick lines and graphed them to figure out that this method was the optimal way to pick.They say that with work sequenced this way, workers will divide work optimally among themselves for maximum throughput.
We got the idea from the Toyota sewing system, Bartholdi explains.
According to Eisenstein
, the most evident benefit was that order picking increased by 34 %, reducing management intervention and leaving supervisors with more time to attend to other details.Although Revco declined to be interviewed for this article, the figures Eisenstein quotes were verified by the company for a report he
published on the team implementation.
The professors also helped implement the concept at a Mitsubishi Consumer Electronics America plant where televisions are assembled.The results were immediate.
We ... presented the idea of bucket brigades ... in the morning, Bartholdi explains.After lunch, they shut down one line for an hour so we could explain the concept to the workers and implement it..
, associate professor of product management at the University of Chicago Business School, and John Bartholdi, professor at Georgia Institute of Technology's School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, say bucket brigades can be set up in just about any distribution center with dense pick areas.
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