Allocating kanbans for a production system in a general configuration with a new control strategy

Zhao Xiaobo*, Kenichi Nakashima, Zhe George Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


We consider a production system in a general configuration with a new control strategy: the push policy for the part sending and the kanban mechanism for the work-in-process (WIP). The production system is composed of many stations (or workshops) such as an entry station, a set of workstations, a central station, and an exit station. This type of system is modeled as an open queueing network (OQN) in a general configuration with a Markov-type part sending policy and a machine no blocking (MNB) mechanism. The most important performance measures of the production system are the total throughput of the workstations and the total blocking flow of blocked parts sent from the workstations to the central station. This paper discusses an optimization problem with multiple objectives: allocate kanbans to the workstations so as to simultaneously maximize the total throughput and minimize the total blocking flow. Based on a semi-open decomposition approach, several useful properties of the system are characterized. These properties are used to develop a marginal algorithm for the optimization problem. Moreover, a dynamic simulation approach is devised as a tool for evaluating the quality of the solutions obtained by the algorithm. Numerical experiments are provided to demonstrate the efficiency of the algorithm through the simulation approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-451
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Part A:Systems and Humans.
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002 May
Externally publishedYes


  • Blocking
  • Decomposition
  • Kanban mechanism
  • Push policy
  • Queueing network
  • Throughput
  • Work-in-progress (WIP)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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