Production Line – Process Layout

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An insurance company is going to set up a "production line" system to process insurance claims. Processing a claim requires a number of activities, with total processing time of 300 seconds. Our line balancing problem involves assigning some of the tasks to station 1, some to station 2, etc., so that by the time the claim has passed through all stations the claim has been completely processed.

Activity Time (seconds)

Station 1

Station 2

Station 3

Station 4

Station 5

Line 5

85

70

65

80

Here we are planning to have 4 people working on the insurance claims. The first person (John) will perform 85 seconds of work, then pass the claim off to the second person (Paul), who does another 70 seconds of work. Paul then passes the claim off the George who does 65 seconds of work, who then passes it off to Ringo who does the last 80 seconds of work.

Working together in this fashion, John, Paul, George, and Ringo can process how many claims per hour? What if we instead had John process entire claims from start to finish, Paul also processes entire claims from start to finish, as well as George and Ringo? Assume the total processing time per claim is the same as in the problem given above. Working in this system, the four employees can process how many claims per hour? Which system has the greatest capacity? Why? Can you think of any additional factors that would give preference to the "sequential" processing system (in which each person does just one part of the job) vs. the "parallel" processing system (in which each person processes entire claims from start to finish)? Explain your answer.

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