Estimation and optimization of machine efficiency in the case of multi machine assignments is a difficult issue for some industries such as textile industry, due to the machine interference. Although the problem is not new, the solutions proposed are not full satisfactory. For example, the analytical formulas are not suitable for high number of machines; queuing theory approaches are complex and impractical for mill managers. On the other hand, simulation methodology seems to be a perfect tool to estimate and analyze; however, the simulation package programs are expensive and are not suitable for systematic optimization. In this paper, Duncan's economic control chart design methodology is proposed as an alternative way for one of the oldest industrial problems. This study shows that this new approach is a more efficient solution to this stochastic problem. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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