Absenteeism as a major cause of bottlenecks in assembly lines

Yuval Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper analyses the effects of absenteeism in assembly lines. The analysis shows that assigning temporary workers as substitutes for absentees has a major potential for generating bottlenecks. Such a bottleneck typically appears when an inexperienced worker replaces an absentee worker at their position. The inexperienced worker starts their learning curve, and for the initial period is significantly slower than other stations, and therefore is a bottleneck. The paper analyses the effect of typical absenteeism rates on the throughput, and shows it has strategic magnitude. This is verified using simulation. The effect of the absenteeism and turnover on the throughput is found to be related to the cycle time, and the amount and rate of learning. The paper discusses the simulation results, staffing requirements, strategies for overcoming absenteeism, and future research directions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6072-6080
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2012


  • Assembly line
  • Bottleneck
  • Learning
  • Staffing
  • Throughput
  • absenteeism


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