Centralised vs. decentralised control decision in card-based control systems:comparing kanban systems and COBACABANA

Thurer, Matthias and Fernandes, Nuno Octavio and Stevenson, Mark and Qu, Ting and Li, Cong Dong (2019) Centralised vs. decentralised control decision in card-based control systems:comparing kanban systems and COBACABANA. International Journal of Production Research, 57 (2). pp. 322-337. ISSN 0020-7543

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Kanban systems are simple yet effective means of controlling production. Production control is decentralised or exercised locally on the shop floor, i.e. a downstream station signals to an upstream station that an item is needed. If items are always the same and known, then demands can be satisfied instantaneously from stock; but if items differ and are unknown, demands must first be propagated backwards from station to station before being satisfied. The former is defined as an inventory control problem and the latter as an order control problem. Handling the order control problem via kanban involves a decentralised card acquisition process (during which information is propagated from station to station) that is separated from the actual production process. COBACABANA (control of balance by card-based navigation), an alternative card-based solution, shares kanban’s control structure but centralises the card acquisition process. Evaluating the two systems therefore provides a unique opportunity to compare decentralised and centralised control. Using simulation, we demonstrate that it is specifically the centralised card acquisition process that allows COBACABANA to balance the workload across resources and thus to outperform kanban in an order control problem. This has major implications for research and practice.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
International Journal of Production Research
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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Production Research on 16/01/2018, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/00207543.2018.1425018
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Deposited On:
19 Dec 2017 13:08
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 05:18