World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology 76 2011
A New Approach to Workforce Planning
M. Othman, N. Bhuiyan, and G. J. Gouw
Abstract—In systems are becoming more complex in order to improve the productivity and the flexibility of the production operations. Various planning models are used to develop optimized plans that meet the demand at minimum cost or fill the demand at maximized profit. These optimization problems differ because of the differences in the manufacturing and market context. Most managers find that existing production planning models are not being implemented in practice . A major problem with existing models is the lack of information about the actual situation on the shop floor regarding the condition of the workers and the uncertainties inherent in the production system. In recent years, research has highlighted the importance of interactions between some key human factors and the production system and the need to incorporate organizational behavior issues in operations management , . The advantages derived from integrating human factors with production systems have been discussed , . These benefits have been established through surveys and actual implementations. In highly competitive companies, this integration has helped to increase productivity, reduce throughput times, and improve product quality. These findings present a significant research opportunity. The main objective of this paper is to develop new approach for workforce planning problem to support the production planning process for optimal performance. A decision support system (DSS) is developed to aid managers with the practical implementation of the model. The paper is organized as follows: Section II presents a literature review of human factors and their relation to production planning. Section III discusses the proposed workforce planning model. Next, Section IV presents the preliminary results generated from the proposed model. Finally, conclusions and future research directions are presented in Section V. II. LITERATURE REVIEW Typically, Human Factors (HF) are considered too late in system design. However, a research study has shown that 5075% of implementations of modern manufacturing technologies were not successful  because most companies failed to integrate HF into the production system. More specifically, if HF are considered at the early stages of the planning process, management can develop more accurate production plans, leading to reduced production time and cost. There are specific challenges in integrating human issues into production planning because people differ from one another. In reality, there is a tremendous variability in individual capabilities. The result is that most production system designs ignore the effects of the human differences in production today’s global and competitive market, manufacturing companies are working hard towards improving their production system performance. Most companies develop production systems that can help in cost reduction. Manufacturing systems consist of different elements including production methods, machines, processes, control and information systems. Human issues are an important part of manufacturing systems, yet most companies do not pay sufficient attention to them. In this paper, a workforce planning (WP) model is presented. A non-linear programming model is developed in order to minimize the hiring, firing, training and overtime costs. The purpose is to determine the number of workers for each worker type, the number of workers trained, and the number of overtime hours. Moreover, a decision support system (DSS) based on the proposed model is introduced using the Excel-Lingo software interfacing feature. This model will help to improve the interaction between the workers, managers and the technical systems in manufacturing.
Keywords—Decision Support System, Manufacturing System, Workforce Planning.
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