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Considering the flexibility of human resources in planning and scheduling industrial activities

Attia, El-Awady. Considering the flexibility of human resources in planning and scheduling industrial activities. PhD, Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse, 2013

(Document in English)

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Official URL: http://ethesis.inp-toulouse.fr/archive/00002240/


The growing need of responsiveness for manufacturing companies facing the market volatility raises a strong demand for flexibility in their organization. This flexibility can be used to enhance the robustness of a baseline schedule for a given programme of activities. Since the company personnel are increasingly seen as the core of the organizational structures, they provide the decision-makers with a source of renewable and viable flexibility. First, this work was implemented to model the problem of multi-period workforce allocation on industrial activities with two degrees of flexibility: the annualizing of the working time, which offers opportunities of changing the schedules, individually as well as collectively. The second degree of flexibility is the versatility of operators, which induces a dynamic view of their skills and the need to predict changes in individual performances as a result of successive assignments. The dynamic nature of workforce’s experience was modelled in function of learning-by-doing and of oblivion phenomenon during the work interruption periods. We firmly set ourselves in a context where the expected durations of activities are no longer deterministic, but result from the number and levels of experience of the workers assigned to perform them. After that, the research was oriented to answer the question “What kind of problem is raises the project we are facing to schedule?”: therefore the different dimensions of the project are inventoried and analysed to be measured. For each of these dimensions, the related sensitive assessment methods have been proposed. Relying on the produced correlated measures, the research proposes to aggregate them through a factor analysis in order to produce the main principal components of an instance. Consequently, the complexity or the easiness of solving or realising a given scheduling problem can be evaluated. In that view, we developed a platform software to solve the problem and construct the project baseline schedule with the associated resources allocation. This platform relies on a genetic algorithm. The model has been validated, moreover, its parameters has been tuned to give the best performance, relying on an experimental design procedure. The robustness of its performance was also investigated, by a comprehensive solving of four hundred instances of projects, ranked according to the number of their tasks. Due to the dynamic aspect of the workforce’s experience, this research work investigates a set of different parameters affecting the development of their versatility. The results recommend that the firms seeking for flexibility should accept an amount of extra cost to develop the operators’ multi functionality. In order to control these over-costs, the number of operators who attend a skill development program should be optimised, as well as the similarity of the new developed skills relative to the principal ones, or the number of the additional skills an operator may be trained to, or finally the way the operators’ working hours should be distributed along the period of skill acquisition: this is the field of investigations of the present work which will, in the end, open the door for considering human factors and workforce’s flexibility in generating a work baseline program.

Item Type:PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
Laboratory name:
Research Director:
Le Lann, Jean-Marc and Duquenne, Philippe
Deposited On:27 Sep 2013 21:58

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