Quiz 12: Managing Waiting Lines


(a)      The arrival rate per minute is 1/15 = 0.067 arrivals per minute. We use Equation (2) with = 0.067 and t = 5 img  = 0.28 not very good odds. (b) We use Equation (3) substituting for "n" as required img img

It is inevitable for customers to wait for final delivery of services. Different services have different waiting times. For example, a restaurant serves dishes after time variability of a few minutes. It has always been the endeavor of operations managers to find ways to make the waiting period for customers pleasing. There are several ways using which managers can make the waiting times less painful, which are discussed as follows. Animating is one of the ways in which service provider's aim at distracting customers or clients as they wait, so that they feel like their time is not just wasted. It may include live entertainment, pre-shows, or animated displays or customers listening to recordings that engage the attention or senses of the customers. These make waits by customers or clients tolerable. The next way whereby service providers make the wait for customers less painful is by discriminating. Discriminating offers preferential services to certain class of customers by moving them out of the line or queue. Such preferred customers should, however, be served away from the server where the rest of the customers are served. For instance there is need for separate check in counters for first, second and economy classes of customers. It is important that calling customers are handled only by one person to prevent the inconvenience of waiting to be referred to a specialist for any service query. Such call centre workers are able to answer standard questions and only refer questions not covered in computer scripts to specialists. Obfuscating involves announcing longer waiting times to customers when the time is in fact shorter. This has effect of making customers feel that the service is quicker and in turn making them focus on how fast the queue is rather than on how long it is. Thus, there are numerous ways in which service providers plan to keep customers engaged so that they have a wonderful experience with the service provider.

We use Equation (3) with = 4 substituting for "n" as required img img The distribution is not symmetrical about the mean because arrivals must be greater than zero.