This paper presents a methodology for the design and integration of CONWIP in a make-to-order firm. The approach proposed was applied directly to the flexible job shop of a real manufacturing firm in order to assess the validity of the methodology. After the description of the whole plant layout, attention was focused on a section of the shop floor (21 workstations). The CONWIP system deals with multiple-product families and is characterized by path-type cards and a pull-from-the-bottleneck scheme. The cards release strategy and a customized dispatching rule were created to meet the firm’s specific needs. After the simulation model of the present state was built and validated, the future state to be implemented was created and simulated (i.e. the CONWIP system). The comparison between the two systems achieved excellent results, and showed that CONWIP is a very interesting tool for planning and controlling a complex flexible job shop.
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