Buffer Capacity

Read this article. The researchers studied buffer capacity and the effects of holding on to extra buffer inventory. Do you agree or disagree with the concluding analysis and why?


This simulation study investigates whether machine efficiency, mean time to failure (MTTF) and mean time to repair (MTTR) significantly affect the performance of uneven buffer capacity allocation patterns for merging lines. Also studied is the trade-off between increasing throughput via bigger buffers and their associated inventory-related costs, since previous studies have shown that higher overall buffer capacity and higher average inventory content result in higher throughput. Results suggest that an ascending buffer allocation pattern (concentrating buffer capacity towards the end of the line) produces higher throughput in shorter, more unreliable lines; whereas the balanced pattern shows better performance in longer, more reliable lines. Increasing average buffer capacity per station and/or having higher average buffer content was found to be more cost-effective in lines with lower machine inefficiency, shorter MTTF and MTTR, and longer lines. Results differed between reliable and unreliable lines since reliable lines were particularly penalised by buffer capacity investiment/maintenance costs due to a relatively low increase in throughput resulting from the addition of extra buffer capacity.

Source: Sabry Shaaban and Rodrigo Romero-Silva, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10100-019-00670-9#Abs1
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