Human Performance in Planning and Scheduling

By Bart MacCarthy; John Wilson | Go to book overview

CHAPTERSEVEN

Lingering Amongst the Lingerie: An Observation-based Study into Support for Scheduling at a Garment Manufacturer

Caroline Vernon


7.1

INTRODUCTION

There are many planning and scheduling papers whose opening lines, quite rightly, extol the importance of effective production planning and shop floor control to the success of a manufacturing company. A vast body of the literature on planning and scheduling focuses on scheduling theory (a mathematical approach seeking optimal solutions to the scheduling problem) or on artificial intelligence (e.g. modelling human expertise and integrating that expertise into a computer system) with the ultimate objective of incorporating these algorithms or elicited knowledge into computer-based scheduling systems. Other literature focuses on the organisation of planning and scheduling, looking at how layers of control within planning and scheduling should be organised (e.g. Bauer et al., 1994; Doumeingts et al., 1995; Williams et al., 1994). A small but significant number of papers focus on the role of the human in planning and scheduling and take an interdisciplinary approach to research, borrowing concepts from the social sciences, cognitive psychology and organisational behaviour (see Crawford and Wiers, Chapter 2). Many of the studies that focus on the human in planning and scheduling have had the objective of developing some form of decision support system and only a few authors have attempted to examine other issues such as re-evaluating the hierarchical paradigm for planning and scheduling (see McKay et al., 1995a) or examining CAPM systems introduction from a social and organisational perspective (see Hardstone, 1991;Mahenthiran et al., 1999).

Unlike many other studies focusing on the human in scheduling, the research project on which this paper is based set out to examine six companies from different industrial sectors (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Grant GR/L/31364) 1. The overall objectives of the study were: i) to propose guidelines for supporting scheduling given the existence of different manufacturing environments and different social contexts, and ii) to propose guidelines for the design of human- centred planning, scheduling and control structures.

1 Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC Grant GR/L/31364): Effective Decision Support for Scheduling: Combining Scheduling Theory and Human Factors.

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