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This paper presents an integer programming model for developing optimal shift schedules while allowing extensive flexibility in terms of alternate shift starting times, shift lengths, and break placement. The model combines the work of Moondra (1976) and Bechtold and Jacobs (1990) by implicitly matching meal breaks to implicitly represented shifts. Moreover, the new model extends the work of these authors to enable the scheduling of overtime and the scheduling of rest breaks. We compare the new model to Bechtold and Jacobs' model over a diverse set of 588 test problems. The new model generates optimal solutions more rapidly, solves problems with more shift alternatives, and does not generate schedules violating the operative restrictions on break timing.


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© Informs. Final version published as: Thompson, G. M. (1995). Improved implicit optimal modeling of the labor shift scheduling problem. Management Science, 41(4), 595-607. doi:10.1287/mnsc.41.4.595
Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.