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Possible Process Flow Rate and Maximize Flow Rate


Georgette Scissors, a hair stylist, is about to open a hair salon in University City. The following data is taken from her business plan. Following the demand projection, one customer arrives every 20 minutes starting at 9AM with the last customer arriving at 5:40 pm. The customers arrive exactly every 20 minutes because they receive appointments (to simplify the analysis, you can assume that every customer shows up for her appointment and does so exactly on time). Customers arrive to a waiting area with unlimited capacity and then follow the same sequence of steps shown below:

Step 1. Color hair. 30 mins/ customer.

Step 2. Sit under Bonnet drier. This is a chair-mounted drying hood that does not require an attendant. 25 mins/customer

Step 3. Rinse hair. 15 mins/customer

Step 4. Cut hair. 20 mins/customer.

Step 5. Style hair. 15 mins/customer.

Step 6. Payment. 5 mins/customer.

Georgette will be solely in charge of cutting customers’ hair (Step 4). Georgette will hire four workers to help her with coloring (Step 1), rinsing (Step 3), styling (Step 5) and collecting payments (Step 6). Each of these employees is exclusively dedicated to one of these four tasks. Georgette will also purchase one bonnet drier for Step 2, which does not require a worker to be involved in the activity.

An operations expert who looks at the business plan suggests redistributing the existing workers among the 4 stations not including cutting. He suggests that Georgette can a) assign one worker to perform two or more operations (the operations do NOT have to be adjacent to each other in the process flow) and b) assign several workers to perform the same operation (but the tasks cannot be split). Assume there is enough space in the salon and Georgette will buy more equipment and chairs if needed. Georgette will continue to be the only worker in charge of cutting.

What is the highest possible process capacity that can be achieved this way? How many additional bonnet driers should she buy to maximize the flow rate? (Recall: more equipment can be purchased, but no additional employees can be hired)



This question belongs to Operations management and discusses about possible process capacity and maximize flow rate of the operations given in the case study.


Total word count: 66






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