7S

Learning Curves

McGraw-Hill/Irwin

Copyright © 2007 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All

Learning Objectives
 Explain the concept of learning curves  Make time estimates based on learning curves  List and briefly describe some of the main applications of learning curves  Outline some of the cautions and criticisms of learning curves  Estimate learning rates from data on job times
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Learning Curves
 Learning curves: the time required to perform a task decreases with increasing repetitions

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Learning Effect
Figure 7S.1
Time per repetition

Number of repetitions

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Figure 7S.2

Learning with Improvements

Time per unit

Average

Improvements may create a scallop effect in the curve.

Time

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Applications of Learning Curves
1.Manpower planning and scheduling 2.Negotiated purchasing 3.Pricing new products 4.Budgeting, purchasing, and inventory planning 5.Capacity Planning

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Figure 7S.4

Worker Learning Curves

Time/cycles

A (underqualified) B (average) Standard time C (overqualified) One week Training time

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Cautions and Criticisms
 Learning rates may differ from organization to organization  Projections based on learning curves should be viewed as approximations  Estimates based the first unit should be checked for valid times  At some point the curve might level off or even tip upward
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Cautions and Criticisms
 Some improvements may be more apparent than real  For the most part, the concept does not apply to mass production  Learning curves sometimes fail to include carryover effects  Life cycles, flex manufacturing can affect application of learning curves

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