Journal of Applied Mathematics and Decision Sciences
Volume 5 (2001), Issue 4, Pages 253-268

Note on a comparative evaluation of nine well-known algorithms for solving the cell formation problem in group technology

Prafulla Joglekar,1 Q. B. Chung,2 and Madjid Tavana1

1La Salle University, Philadelphia 19141, PA, USA
2Villanova University,, Villanova 19085, PA, USA

Copyright © 2001 Prafulla Joglekar et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Over the last three decades, numerous algorithms have been proposed to solve the work-cell formation problem. For practicing manufacturing managers it would be nice to know as to which algorithm would be most effective and efficient for their specific situation. While several studies have attempted to fulfill this need, most have not resulted in any definitive recommendations and a better methodology of evaluation of cell formation algorithms is urgently needed. Prima facie, the methodology underlying Miltenburg and Zhang's (M&Z) (1991) evaluation of nine well-known cell formation algorithms seems very promising. The primary performance measure proposed by M&Z effectively captures the objectives of a good solution to a cell formation problem and is worthy of use in future studies. Unfortunately, a critical review of M&Z's methodology also reveals certain important flaws in M&Z's methodology. For example, M&Z may not have duplicated each algorithm precisely as the developer(s) of that algorithm intended. Second, M&Z's misrepresent Chandrasekharan and Rajagopalan's [C&R's] (1986) grouping efficiency measure. Third, M&Z's secondary performance measures lead them to unnecessarily ambivalent results. Fourth, several of M&Z's empirical conclusions can be theoretically deduced. It is hoped that future evaluations of cell formation algorithms will benefit from both the strengths and weaknesses of M&Z's work.