Multiskilled Work Teams: Productivity Benefits

by Nicholas Aquilano



This article cites that multiskilled work teams can increase productivity and decrease capital equipment needs and space requirements. In this application, as in many service operations, there is idle worker time; that is, in order to offer a reasonable service time, the servers are not fully utilized but rather have periods during their working shift waiting for work. The same is true for the productive facilities. The reasonable level of service requires overcapacity to satisfy the higher demands for service, with the consequence of idle facilities during lower service demands. Superimposed on this fluctuating workload for workers and facilities is the compounding effect caused by the needs for specific services. Even when the aggregate demands for service may vary only moderately, when stated, the demands for specific work specialties cause idleness for some workers and a backlog for others resulting in late completions. The work team smoothes the marked fluctuation in demands for specialized service because of larger numbers of units available to the worker.

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