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Translation and Operations management: A problem.
Thread poster: Williamson

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:15
Flemish to English
+ ...
Jun 28, 2003

A reliable translation agency has accepted a number of assignments which have to be finished in the coming days. The PM has to take into account the following data:

Assignment
-----------
1 2 3 4 5 6
Estimated time to finish the translation (in days)
---------------------------------------
5 4 3 1 ½ 2
Due-date
---------
11 10 16 2 1 3

If the agency has to pay a fine of 10$ per day for each assignment which has not been finished on time, which order of attributing the assignments would you follow?


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
I would outsource the assignments to protect the deadlines. Jun 29, 2003



But just for fun I would try 546213
(regarding the balance points of their timeframes).
The alternative would be a "brute force" calculation script for all permutations

[Edited at 2003-06-29 01:45]


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Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:15
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
546213 Jun 29, 2003

Harry_B wrote:
But just for fun I would try 546213
(regarding the balance points of their timeframes).


This is the good choice. 4,5 and 6 must be done first, and clearly 546 is the best order.
As for the longer jobs: if you do not finish both 2 and a to by the 11th, you'll have to pay the fine. The order is almost irrelevant, but to have a better chance to finish both on time - without having to suspend work on one for the sake of the other - job 2 should come before job 1. When ready, you should have no problem with job 3.
Good luck,
Attila

[Edited at 2003-06-29 14:01]


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
What a pity.. Jun 29, 2003

Attila Piroth wrote:
...This is the good choice...
I would prefer an example where the intuitive way (corresponding to fuzzy logic) does not work and you need "sharp" logic, like the leading chess computers do..
On the other hand I'm afraid that reality will give me this task sooner than I will like it..
Thanks for your confirmation, anyway
Harry


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Rossana Triaca  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 19:15
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
A good idea... Jun 30, 2003

for this kind of simple problems is to use a Gantt chart; you can make one without using expensive project management commercial programmes (just search google - one I used often before getting MS project was a chart builder for excel: www.simtel.net/pub/pd/63169.html).

Hope it helps!.


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Gantt Chart Jun 30, 2003

Rossana Triaca wrote:
...www.simtel.net/pub/pd/63169.html...
That's useful for presentation and management (and even rudimentary planning), but for the actual planning I am faster with pencil and paper. It allows much more flexibility in regard to specific needs and conditions.
That's why I am writing a program of my own, with HTML output (Gantt Chart) which can be used as an input form again. But it feels as complicated as writing a chess program..


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:15
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Solution Jun 30, 2003

The total fine can be minimalised by minimalising the average late delivery.
For that reason, an order on the basis of Earliest Due Date is to be preferred

Order
1 2 3 4 5 6
Assignment
5 4 6 2 1 3
Translation work
1/2 1 2 4 5 3
Completion time
1/2 1 1/2 3 1/2 7 1/2 12 1/2
15 1/2
Due Date
1 2 3 10 11 16
Late Delivery
0 0 1 1/2 0 1 1/2 0

Penalty
10-(1/2+1 1/2)=20$


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
General solution? Jun 30, 2003

Williamson wrote:
...an order on the basis of Earliest Due Date is to be preferred...
Would this also be valid in all possible cases in which the start dates could differ?

[Edited at 2003-06-30 17:51]


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Deborah Shannon  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:15
Member (2002)
German to English
But in the real world? Jun 30, 2003

To accept assignment 6, having already committed to assignments 1 - 5 is just irresponsible. There's not enough time to do a good job, it's as simple as that.

Without assignment 6 all the other deadlines are easily manageable, without fines or damage to the agency's supposedly "reliable" reputation. So if they can't outsource it, they should either renegotiate the delivery deadline or turn it down.

Even the best planning software can't squeeze more hours into the day or more jobs into a full schedule!


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