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Cross-Utilization of Workers Whose Capabilities Differ


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  • Gerard M. Campbell

    (Department of Operations and Information Management, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269)

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    This paper develops a model for allocating cross-trained workers at the beginning of a shift in a multidepartment service environment. It assumes departments are trying to maximize objective functions that are concave with respect to the number of workers assigned. Worker capabilities are described by parameters that range from zero to one, with fractional values representing workers who are less than fully qualified. The nonlinear programming model presented is a variant of the generalized assignment problem. The model is used in a series of experiments to investigate the value of cross-utilization as a function of factors such as demand variability and levels of cross-training. Results show that the benefits of cross-utilization can be substantial, and in many cases a small degree of cross-training can capture most of the benefits. Beyond a certain amount additional cross-training adds little additional value, and the preferred amount depends heavily on the level of demand variability.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 45 (1999)
    Issue (Month): 5 (May)
    Pages: 722-732

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:45:y:1999:i:5:p:722-732

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    Related research

    Keywords: manpower scheduling; service operations management; mathematical programming;


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    Cited by:
    1. Gnanlet, Adelina & Gilland, Wendell G., 2014. "Impact of productivity on cross-training configurations and optimal staffing decisions in hospitals," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 238(1), pages 254-269.
    2. Maenhout, Broos & Vanhoucke, Mario, 2013. "An integrated nurse staffing and scheduling analysis for longer-term nursing staff allocation problems," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 485-499.
    3. Batta, Rajan & Berman, Oded & Wang, Qian, 2007. "Balancing staffing and switching costs in a service center with flexible servers," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 177(2), pages 924-938, March.
    4. Wright, P. Daniel & Mahar, Stephen, 2013. "Centralized nurse scheduling to simultaneously improve schedule cost and nurse satisfaction," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1042-1052.
    5. Paul, Jomon Aliyas & MacDonald, Leo, 2014. "Modeling the benefits of cross-training to address the nursing shortage," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 83-95.
    6. Campbell, Gerard M. & Diaby, Moustapha, 2002. "Development and evaluation of an assignment heuristic for allocating cross-trained workers," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 138(1), pages 9-20, April.
    7. Sayin, Serpil & Karabati, Selcuk, 2007. "Assigning cross-trained workers to departments: A two-stage optimization model to maximize utility and skill improvement," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 176(3), pages 1643-1658, February.
    8. Tiwari, Vikram & Patterson, James H. & Mabert, Vincent A., 2009. "Scheduling projects with heterogeneous resources to meet time and quality objectives," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 193(3), pages 780-790, March.
    9. White, Sheneeta W. & Badinelli, Ralph D., 2012. "A model for efficiency-based resource integration in services," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 217(2), pages 439-447.


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