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Contextual conditions influencing the scheduler's work at a sawmill
Högskolan i Jönköping, JTH.
KTH, School of Technology and Health (STH), Ergonomics.
2010 (English)In: Production planning & control (Print), ISSN 0953-7287, E-ISSN 1366-5871, Vol. 21, no 4, 359-374 p.Article 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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 21, no 4, 359-374 p.
Keyword [en]
planning and scheduling, activity analysis, socio-technical systems, uncertainty, woodworking industry, COMBINED OPTIMIZATION
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-13708DOI: 10.1080/09537280903453885ISI: 000277651300003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-13708DiVA: diva2:326654
Note
QC 20100623Available from: 2010-06-23 Created: 2010-06-23 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Using Tentacles in Planning and Scheduling Work: Activities, Roles and Contributions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Using Tentacles in Planning and Scheduling Work: Activities, Roles and Contributions
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. xiv, 115 p.
Series
Trita-STH : report, ISSN 1653-3836 ; 2009:2
Keyword
activity analysis, woodworking industry, work analysis, informal organization, ergonomics, human factors
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-10564 (URN)978-91-7415-273-9 (ISBN)
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

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
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Output format
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  • text
  • asciidoc
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