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Managing Waiting Lines. Lines and Waiting. “Every day I get in the queue, that waits for the bus that takes me to you …” Pete Townshend, Magic Bus. Where the Time Goes. In a life time, the average American will spend-- SIX MONTHS

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Presentation Transcript
lines and waiting
Lines and Waiting

“Every day I get in the queue, that waits for the bus that takes me to you …”

Pete Townshend, Magic Bus

where the time goes
Where the Time Goes

In a life time, the average

American will spend--

SIX MONTHS

Waiting at stoplights

EIGHT MONTHS

Opening junk mail

ONE YEAR

Looking for misplaced 0bjects

Unsuccessfully returning

TWO YEARS phone calls

FOUR YEARS Doing housework

FIVE YEARS Waiting in line

SIX YEARS Eating

cultural attitudes
Cultural Attitudes
  • “Americans hate to wait. So business is trying a trick or two to make lines seem shorter…” The New York Times, September 25, 1988
  • “An Englishman, even when he is by himself, will form an orderly queue of one…” George Mikes, “How to be an Alien”
  • “In the Soviet Union, waiting lines were used as a rationing device…” Hedrick Smith, “The Russians”
waiting realities
Waiting Realities
  • Inevitability of Waiting:Waiting results from variations in arrival rates and service rates
  • Economics of Waiting: High utilization purchased at the price of customer waiting. Make waiting productive (salad bar) or profitable (drinking bar).
laws of service
Laws of Service
  • Maister’s First Law:Customers compare expectations with perceptions.
  • Maister’s Second Law:Is hard to play catch-up ball.
  • Skinner’s Law:The other line always moves faster.
  • Jenkin’s Corollary:However, when you switch to another other line, the line you left moves faster.
remember me
Remember Me
  • I am the person who goes into a restaurant, sits down, and patiently waits while the wait-staff does everything but take my order.
  • I am the person that waits in line for the clerk to finish chatting with his buddy.
  • I am the one who never comes back and it amuses me to see money spent to get me back.
  • I was there in the first place, all you had to do was show me some courtesy and service.The Customer
psychology of waiting
Psychology of Waiting
  • That Old Empty Feeling: Unoccupied time goes slowly
  • A Foot in the Door: Pre-service waits seem longer that in-service waits
  • The Light at the End of the Tunnel: Reduce anxiety with attention
  • Excuse Me, But I Was First: Social justice with FCFS queue discipline
  • They Also Serve, Who Sit and Wait:Avoids idle service capacity
approaches to controlling customer waiting
Approaches to Controlling Customer Waiting
  • Animate: Disneyland distractions, elevator mirror, recorded music
  • Discriminate: Avis frequent renter treatment (out of sight)
  • Automate: Use computer scripts to address 75% of questions
  • Obfuscate: Disneyland staged waits (e.g. House of Horrors)
the art of service recovery to err is human to recover divine
The Art of Service Recovery“To err is human; to recover, divine”
  • Measure Cost of Lost Customer
  • Listen Carefully
  • Anticipate Need for Recovery
  • Act Fast
  • Train Employees
  • Empower the Frontline
  • Inform Customers of Improvement
essential features of queuing systems
Essential Features of Queuing Systems

Renege

Arrival

process

Queue

discipline

Departure

Calling

population

Service

process

Queue

configuration

No future

need for

service

Balk

arrival process
Arrival Process

Arrival

process

Static

Dynamic

Random

arrivals with

constant rate

Random arrival

rate varying

with time

Facility-

controlled

Customer-

exercised

control

Accept/Reject

Price

Appointments

Reneging

Balking

poisson and exponential equivalence
Poisson and Exponential Equivalence

Poisson distribution for number of arrivals per hour (top view)

One-hour

1 2 0 1 interval

Arrival Arrivals Arrivals Arrival

62 min.

40 min.

123 min.

Exponential distribution of time between arrivals in minutes (bottom view)

queue configurations
Queue Configurations

Multiple Queue Single queue

Take a Number

Enter

3

4

2

8

6

10

12

7

11

9

5

queue discipline
Queue Discipline

Queue

discipline

Static

(FCFS rule)

Dynamic

selection

based on status

of queue

Selection based

on individual

customer

attributes

Number of

customers

waiting

Round robin

Priority

Preemptive

Processing time

of customers

(SPT rule)

service facility arrangements
Service Facility Arrangements

Service facility Server arrangement

Parking lot Self-serve

Cafeteria Servers in series

Toll booths Servers in parallel

Supermarket Self-serve, first stage; parallel servers, second stage

Hospital Many service centers in parallel and series, not all used by each patient

topics for discussion
Topics for Discussion
  • Suggest some strategies for controlling variability in service times.
  • Suggest diversions that could make waiting less painful.
  • Select a bad and good waiting experience, and contrast the situations with respect to the aesthetics of the surroundings, diversions, people waiting, and attitude of servers.
  • Suggest ways that management can influence the arrival times of customers.
  • What are the benefits of a fast-food employee taking your order while waiting in line?
interactive exercise
Interactive Exercise

The class breaks into small groups with at least one international student in each group, if possible. Based on overseas travel, each group reports on observations of waiting behavior from a cultural perspective.

pronto pizza
Pronto Pizza
  • Draw a process flow diagram and identify the bottleneck operation.
  • Calculate the expected waiting time in the order preparation queue. Compare this value with your simulation result.
  • Use the ServiceModel computer simulation software and the Pronto.pkg file to determine the number of drivers that minimizes the total cost of salaries and guarantee discounts.
pronto pizza cont
Pronto Pizza (cont.)
  • Based on your simulation recommended staffing level, what is the probability of paying off on the guarantee?
  • What do you think of this service guarantee policy?
  • What other design or operating suggestions could improve Pronto Pizza’s performance and customer service?