Management Faculty Publications

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Traditionally, quality control on an assembly line has been conducted by quality inspectors at the end of the assembly line. Defective or incomplete parts identified during the production cycle are typically transferred to a separate repair shop where such parts are reworked, retested, re-inspected or replaced. In contrast, today’s repetitive manufacturing companies have begun to delegate the power and responsibility of quality inspection and control to assembly workers on the line. This so-called online (line-stop) repair policy has been receiving increased attention from many manufacturing companies. Through a series of computational experiments, this paper examines the effectiveness of the online repair policy, which empowers workers to assure quality on the assembly line. Under varied assembly line configurations, quality failure costs of the two repair policies are estimated and compared to verify the superiority of the online repair policy. The computational results indicate that the online repair policy can be far more effective in assuring quality and saving costs than the traditional offline repair policy.

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International Journal of Services and Operations Management

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