Approximation and Analysis of a Queueing System with Flexible and Specialized Servers
25 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2000
Date Written: October 1999
We describe an approximation procedure to estimate the performance of a queueing system with two types of customers and two server categories. Specialized servers can process only one customer type, while flexible servers handle both types. The procedure divides the system's state space into regions, and simple approximate models find the conditional system performance within each region. Performance measures generated by the procedure are sufficiently accurate for many service system design decisions, such as setting telephone call center staffing levels and long-term capacity planning. The procedure also converges quickly, and numerical tests demonstrate that its running time is orders of magnitude faster than traditional numerical methods for finding an exact solution. We employ the procedure to demonstrate the benefits of server flexibility in a particular telephone call center.
JEL Classification: M10
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