Ergonomic Design of Working Time Models
Authors: Patricia Stock, Barbara Deml
Abstract: Enterprises in high-wage countries are facing an increasing shortage of skilled workers due to demographic change. In coping with this problem, companies are forced to provide incentives that help them recruit and retain qualified staff. As a result, enterprises have to deal with increasing wages, which means that the employment of staff must be highly efficient in order to avoid idle times of the personnel. At the same time, the working conditions have to be designed ergonomically in order to preserve the work ability of the employees. Altogether, the enterprise is forced to create good working conditions in order to find employees and bind them to the enterprise. The design of employee-oriented and ergonomic working time models is an important prerequisite for mastering this challenge. Commercial software usually compares a working time model with the existing legal regulations as well with ergonomic recommendations in order to provide an ergonomic evaluation. Capacity requirements are taken into account only statically. However, capacity requirements usually are subject to several dynamic influences resulting from stochastic operation times, stochastic intermediate arrival times of orders or customers. This makes it more difficult to adjust the available capacity to stochastic capacity requirements. With the help of a discrete-event simulation, various working time models can be compared in a specific case of application and assessed in quantitative terms. This paper discusses the situation of enterprises in high-wage countries and the resulting need for the ergonomic design of working times. Then, the paper presents the OSim-GAM simulator developed by the Institute of Human and Industrial Engineering (ifab) of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology for the ergonomic design of working time models. The OSim-GAM assessment concept for working time models is presented and its use is illustrated within the framework of a case study.
Keywords: Working time model, ergonomic design, simulation
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