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Using Tentacles in Planning and Scheduling Work: Activities, Roles and Contributions
KTH, School of Technology and Health (STH), Ergonomics. (Ergonomi)
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Handling production scheduling is increasingly difficult for manyenterprises, and human involvement is necessary. The overall objective ofthis research was to gain further understanding of planners’ and schedulers’work within the manufacturing industry, to elucidate how their worksituation is formed, and to explain their significance to other employees’work and company activities. Scheduling work was studied in fourcompanies in the Swedish woodworking industry; a sawmill, a parquet floormanufacturer, a furniture manufacturer and a house manufacturer. Themethod used was activity analysis which is based on the analysis of workactivities in real work situations. Data collection included 20 days’observations and 65 interviews. Cross-case analysis with British cases onplanning work was also included.The findings revealed that the schedulers’ tasks lead to many activities. Twothirds of these are what can be expected. The remaining third constitutesactivities that depend on the schedulers’ individual attributes and the contextin which they work. The schedulers serve as problem solvers in a number ofdomains and constitute efficient information nodes, making them animportant service function. Furthermore, they have an alignment rolebetween different organizational groups. This role is specifically remarkablein dealing with production enquiries that must be aligned with productioncapability. Here, both planners and schedulers play an essential role inlinking the manufacturing and the commercial sides and their differentfunctional logics.Planners and schedulers in daily work exert strong influence on others. Theydo not hold legitimate power. Instead their influence emanates mainly fromaccess to and control of information and their ability to apply expertise tointerpret this information and examine the impact of decisions made acrossdifferent areas of the business. Personal power related to social skills is alsosignificant.Furthermore, they facilitate others’ work in continuous personalinteractions, serving the technical scheduling software system, and aligningdifferent organizational functions. In combination with expert knowledgeand developed social skills, they significantly contribute to quality operationsperformance. Finally, the schedulers influence the decision latitude of otheremployees and may indirectly promote job satisfaction, thus contributing todeveloping appropriate working conditions for others in the company.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2009. , p. xiv, 115
Series
Trita-STH : report, ISSN 1653-3836 ; 2009:2
Keywords [en]
activity analysis, woodworking industry, work analysis, informal organization, ergonomics, human factors
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-10564ISBN: 978-91-7415-273-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-10564DiVA, id: diva2:219175
Public defence
2009-06-05, Sal 221, KTH-STH, Alfred Nobels Allé 10, Flemingsberg, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20100624Available from: 2009-05-26 Created: 2009-05-26 Last updated: 2010-07-20Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Human, technological and organizational aspects influencing the production scheduling process
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Human, technological and organizational aspects influencing the production scheduling process
2007 (English)In: International Journal of Production Economics, ISSN 0925-5273, E-ISSN 1873-7579, Vol. 110, no 1-2, p. 160-174Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study of scheduling work in practice addresses how the production-scheduling processes in four companies are influenced by human, technological, and organizational aspects. A conclusion is that the outcome of the scheduling process is influenced by the scheduler adding human capabilities that cannot be automated, by technical constraints in the scheduled production system and by the available scheduling software tools. Furthermore, the outcome is influenced not only by how the scheduling process is formally organized, but also by the scheduler's informal authority and the role taken to interconnect activities between different organizational groups. The findings from the study support a number of previous studies done on scheduling in practice whilst giving new insights into their interpretation. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords
humans, technology and organization, scheduling, case study, activity analysis, woodworking industry, MANAGEMENT
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-13707 (URN)10.1016/j.ijpe.2007.02.024 (DOI)000250160400014 ()
Note
QC 20100623Available from: 2010-06-23 Created: 2010-06-23 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
2. Contextual conditions influencing the scheduler's work at a sawmill
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Contextual conditions influencing the scheduler's work at a sawmill
2010 (English)In: Production planning & control (Print), ISSN 0953-7287, E-ISSN 1366-5871, Vol. 21, no 4, p. 359-374Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This case study addresses the issue of how contextual conditions influence scheduling work in practice at a sawmill in Sweden. Based on observations and interviews, activity analysis was used to study the work activities of the main scheduler. It is shown how the contextual conditions related to constraints, either in the technical system and the technical scheduling tools used by the scheduler or in the social system, delimit the possible ways for the scheduler to perform his work. It is furthermore illustrated how the scheduler sometimes used the contextual conditions as a means to control the sawmill production. Moreover, the presence of the numerous uncertainties in the production process is shown. Finally, the study demonstrates that the scheduler's thorough knowledge, experience, and skills of both the technical and the social systems had immense influence in his ability to perform during daily scheduling work.

Keywords
planning and scheduling, activity analysis, socio-technical systems, uncertainty, woodworking industry, COMBINED OPTIMIZATION
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-13708 (URN)10.1080/09537280903453885 (DOI)000277651300003 ()
Note
QC 20100623Available from: 2010-06-23 Created: 2010-06-23 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
3. Schedulers reality expectations and dependencies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Schedulers reality expectations and dependencies
2001 (English)In: In Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Production Research, July 29-August 3, Prague, Czech Republic, 2001Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-13709 (URN)
Note
QC 20100623Available from: 2010-06-23 Created: 2010-06-23 Last updated: 2010-07-15Bibliographically approved
4. Schedulers’ work content – a quantified analysis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Schedulers’ work content – a quantified analysis
2006 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-13717 (URN)
Note
QC 20100624Available from: 2010-06-24 Created: 2010-06-24 Last updated: 2010-06-24Bibliographically approved
5. Production planning aligning customer requests with production capability
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Production planning aligning customer requests with production capability
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-13720 (URN)
Note
QC 20100624Available from: 2010-06-24 Created: 2010-06-24 Last updated: 2010-07-20Bibliographically approved
6. The influence of production planners and schedulers at manufacturing and commercial interfaces
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The influence of production planners and schedulers at manufacturing and commercial interfaces
2008 (English)In: Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing, ISSN 1090-8471, E-ISSN 1520-6564, Vol. 18, no 5, p. 548-564Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article describes empirical research undertaken to identify how production planners and schedulers in manufacturing businesses exert influence on employees in production and commercial departments. Through the analysis of observations and interviews conducted in four case studies, sources of power were identified and categorized. It was found that although production planners and schedulers often did not have formal authority, in practice they had considerable influence. In the main, their sources of influence resided in their access to information. company agendas, and influential arenas, as well as their knowledge and social skills. The discussion draws from the findings examining influencing behaviors and considering their implications. The findings inform associated research on the processes, behaviors. and roles that schedulers and planners perform at functional interfaces, in support of effective and responsive order fulfillment. (c) 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Keywords
CONFLICT, MANAGERS, SALES, POWER, MODEL
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-13721 (URN)10.1002/hfm.20124 (DOI)000258391400005 ()
Note
QC 20100624Available from: 2010-06-24 Created: 2010-06-24 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
7. The unsung contribution of production planners and schedulers at production and sales interfaces
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The unsung contribution of production planners and schedulers at production and sales interfaces
2011 (English)In: Behavioral Operations in Planning and Scheduling / [ed] J.C. Fransoo, Springer, 2011, p. 47-81Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This chapter sets out to demonstrate the unsung contribution of production planners and schedulers in manufacturing businesses. In particular it focuses on their contribution at production and sales interfaces by highlighting their activities and influence across functional interfaces, and the knowledge and skills they apply to make and implement planning and scheduling decisions. To achieve this it addresses the following questions in relation to these interfaces: What tasks and work activities does planning, scheduling and control consist of in relation to these interfaces? How do planners and schedulers perform their tasks? How can planners’ and schedulers’ activities related to production and sales interfaces be captured and modelled? How do planners and schedulers influence others in the organization? What knowledge do they contribute and how is it incorporated into decisions?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2011
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-13723 (URN)10.1007/978-3-642-13382-4_4 (DOI)2-s2.0-84885806398 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100624. Updated from submitted to published, 20120315Available from: 2010-06-24 Created: 2010-06-24 Last updated: 2012-03-15Bibliographically approved
8. Schedulers’ work activities and decision making influencing working conditions of other employees
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Schedulers’ work activities and decision making influencing working conditions of other employees
2002 (English)In: In Proceedings of the 34th Annual Congress of the Nordic Ergonomics Society, 1-3 October, Kolmården, Sweden, 2002Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-13726 (URN)
Note
QC 20100624Available from: 2010-06-24 Created: 2010-06-24 Last updated: 2010-07-15Bibliographically approved

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