Developing a decision support tool to optimize manufacturing for productivity and safeguarding the workforce against COVID-19
As Phase 1 of Ontario’s 3-phase reopening of the economy just started, the government and health and safety associations have provided more than 90 workplace safety guidelines to help employers keep their workers safe and healthy while continuing their business operation. The guidelines are sector-specific aiming to prevent the spread of COVID‑19 in various workplaces. For example, the guidelines for manufacturing sector provides instructions on physical distancing, workplace sanitation, and adjusting onsite production schedules.
Given the workplace safety guidelines, manufacturers need to make hard decision of determining the right measures to minimize the pandemic health risk to their employees while still maintaining the continuity of their production. The objective of this research is to develop a decision support tool, which determines the optimal daily planning of the production and workforce in a manufacturing process. The decision support tool will maximize manufacturing health and safety and minimize the production loss due to not meeting the customers’ demands during the COVID‑19 pandemic.
It is expected that the implementation of the tool’s recommended optimal plans will result in maximizing the safety of personnel, meeting the demand, and minimizing the production cost. The tool will help manufacturers adhere to the workplace safety guidelines and have their businesses running during the pandemic.