Formulation of simple workforce skill constraints in assembly line balancing models
The objective of assembly line balancing (ALB) is to minimize the number of workstations organized to perform tasks with precedence constraints. An important element of proper assignment of tasks to workstations is the consideration of skill requirement of tasks, and skill level of workers. Some tasks may require special skills, some workers might not be able to perform complicated tasks, and some workers might be specialized for specific tasks. This paper provides a general framework to model skill requirements and skill conditions for assembly line balancing models. Three types of skill constraints are defined. Low skill constraints determine workstations for workers who are able to perform only some simple tasks. High skill constraints consider tasks which require higher than average skills of workers. Finally, exclusive skill constraints consider situations where a group of workers is specialized in a subset of tasks. The paper summarizes the mathematical description of the different skill constraints, and shows how simple assembly line balancing models can be completed with skill considerations. The mathematical characteristics of the resulting models are discussed, and some sample problems are solved to illustrate the results of each specific skill situation.