Supplement C

Waiting Line Models
Operations Management
by
R. Dan Reid & Nada R. Sanders
4th Edition © Wiley 2010




Learning Objectives
 Describe the elements of a waiting line
problem.
 Use waiting line models to estimate system
performance.
 Use waiting line models to make managerial
decisions.
Elements of Waiting Lines
 “Queue” is another name for a waiting line.
 A waiting line system consists of two
components:
 The customer population (people or objects to be
processed)
 The process or service system
 Whenever demand exceeds available
capacity, a waiting line or queue forms
 There is a tradeoff between cost and service
level.
Customer Population
Characteristics
 Finite versus Infinite populations:
 Is the number of potential new customers materially affected by
the number of customers already in queue?
 Balking
 When an arriving customer chooses not to enter a queue because
it’s already too long.
 Reneging
 When a customer already in queue gives up and exits without
being serviced.
 Jockeying
 When a customer switches between alternate queues in an effort
to reduce waiting time.
Service System
 The service system is defined by:
 The number of waiting lines
 The number of servers
 The arrangement of servers
 The arrival and service patterns
 The waiting line priority rules
Number of Lines
 Waiting lines systems can have single
or multiple queues.
 Single queues avoid jockeying behavior
and perceived fairness is usually high.
 Multiple queues are often used when
arriving customers have differing
characteristics (e.g. paying with cash, less
than 10 items, etc.) and can be readily
segmented.
Servers
 Single servers or multiple, parallel servers
providing multiple channels
 Arrangement of servers (phases)
 Multiple phase systems require customers to visit
more than one server
 Example of a multi-phase, multi-server system:
C C C C C
Depart Arrivals
1
2
3 6
5
4
Phase 1 Phase 2
Example Queuing Systems
Arrival & Service Patterns
 Arrival rate:
 The average number of customers arriving per
time period
 Modeled using the Poisson distribution
 Arrival rate usually denoted by lambda (ì)
 Example: ì=50 customers/hour; 1/ì=0.02 hours
between customer arrivals (1.2 minutes between
customers)
Arrival & Service Patterns con’t
 Service rate:
 The average number of customers that can be served
during the period of time
 Service times are usually modeled using the exponential
distribution
 Service rate usually denoted by mu (µ)
 Example: µ=70 customers/hour; 1/µ=0.014 hours per
customer (0.857 minutes per customer).
 Even if the service rate is larger than the arrival
rate, waiting lines form!
 Reason is the variation in specific customer arrival and
service times.
Waiting Line Priority Rules
 First come, first served
 Best customers first (reward loyalty)
 Highest profit customers first
 Quickest service requirements first
 Largest service requirements first
 Earliest reservation first
 Emergencies first
 Etc.
Waiting Line Performance
Measures
 L
q
= The average number of customers
waiting in queue
 L = The average number of customers in the
system
 W
q
= The average waiting time in queue
 W = The average time in the system
 p = The system utilization rate (% of time
servers are busy)
Single-Server Waiting Line
 Assumptions
 Customers are patient (no balking, reneging, or
jockeying)
 Arrivals follow a Poisson distribution with a mean arrival
rate of ì. This means that the time between successive
customer arrivals follows an exponential distribution with
an average of 1/ ì
 The service rate is described by a Poisson distribution
with a mean service rate of µ. This means that the
service time for one customer follows an exponential
distribution with an average of 1/µ
 The waiting line priority rule is first-come, first-served
 Infinite population

Formulas: Single-Server Case
form. eventually will line long infinitly an
case, not the is this If stability. system for : Note
n utilizatio system average
rate service mean mu
rate arrival mean lambda
ì µ
µ
ì
µ
ì
>
= =
= =
= =
p
Formulas: Single-Server
Case con’t
( )
( )
in time point given a at
system the in customers of y probabilit 1
waiting spent time average
service including system in time average
1
line in customers of number average
system in customers of number average
n p p P
pW W
W
pL L
L
n
n
q
q
= ÷ =
= =
=
÷
=
= =
=
÷
=
ì µ
ì µ
ì
State Univ Computer Lab
 A help desk in the computer lab serves
students on a first-come, first served basis.
On average, 15 students need help every
hour. The help desk can serve an average of
20 students per hour.
 Based on this description, we know:
 µ = 20 students/hour (average service time is 3
minutes)
 ì = 15 students/hour (average time between
student arrivals is 4 minutes)
Average Utilization
% 75 75 . 0
20
15
or p = = =
µ
ì
Average Number of Students
in the System, and in Line
students L 3
15 20
15
=
÷
=
÷
=
ì µ
ì
( ) students pL L
q
25 . 2 3 75 . 0 = = =
Average Time in the System & in
Line
minutes 12
hours 2 . 0
15 20
1 1
or
W =
÷
=
÷
=
ì µ
( )
minutes 9
hours 15 . 0 2 . 0 75 . 0
or
pW W
q
= = =
Probability of n
Students in the Line
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
( ) ( ) 079 . 0 75 . 0 75 . 0 1 1
105 . 0 75 . 0 75 . 0 1 1
141 . 0 75 . 0 75 . 0 1 1
188 . 0 75 . 0 75 . 0 1 1
25 . 0 1 75 . 0 1 1
4 4
4
3 3
3
2 2
2
1
1
0
0
= ÷ = ÷ =
= ÷ = ÷ =
= ÷ = ÷ =
= ÷ = ÷ =
= ÷ = ÷ =
p p P
p p P
p p P
p p P
p p P
Single Server: Spreadsheet
Approach
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
A B C
Queuing Analysis: Single Server
Inputs
Time unit hour
Arrival Rate (lambda) 15 customers/hour
Service Rate (mu) 20 customers/hour
Intermediate Calculations
Average time between arrivals 0.066667 hour
Average service time 0.05 hour
Performance Measures
Rho (average server utilization) 0.75
P0 (probability the system is empty) 0.25
L (average numberin the system) 3 customers
Lq (average number waiting in the queue) 2.25 customers
W (average time in the system) 0.2 hour
Wq (average time in the queue) 0.15 hour
Probability of a specific number of customers in the system
Number 2
Probability 0.140625
Key Formulas
B9: =1/B5
B10: =1/B6
B13: =B5/B6
B14: =1-B13
B15: =B5/(B6-B5)
B16: =B13*B15
B17: =1/(B6-B5)
B18: =B13*B17
B22: =(1-B$13)*(B13^B21)

 Use Data Table (tracking
B22) to easily compute the
probability of n customers in
the system.
Single Server: Probability of n
Students in the System
Probability of Number in System
0.0000
0.0500
0.1000
0.1500
0.2000
0.2500
0.3000
0 2 4 6 8
1
0
1
2
1
4
1
6
1
8
2
0
2
2
2
4
2
6
2
8
3
0
Number in System
P
r
o
b
a
b
i
l
i
t
y
Multiple Server Case
 Assumptions
 Same as Single-Server, except here we
have multiple, parallel servers
 Single Line
 When server finishes with customer, first
person in line goes to the idle server
 All servers are identical
Multiple Server Formulas
form. eventually will line long infinitly an
case, not the is this If stability. system for : Note
n utilizatio system average
servers identical parallel, of number
server for rate service mean mu
rate arrival mean lambda
ì µ
µ
ì
µ
ì
>
= =
=
= =
= =
s
s
p
s
one
Multiple Server Formulas con’t
( ) ( )
( )
( )
in time point given a at system in the
customers of y probabilit
for
!
/
for
!
/
in time point given a at system in the customers
zero of y probabilit
1
1
!
/
!
/
0
0
1
1
0
0
n
s n P
s s
s n P
n
P
p s n
P
s n
n
n
n
s
n
s n
=
¦
¦
¹
¦
¦
´
¦
>
s
=
=
(
¸
(

¸

|
|
.
|

\
|
÷
+ =
÷
÷
÷
=
¿
µ ì
µ ì
µ ì µ ì
Multiple Server Formulas con’t
( )
( )
( )
system in customers of number average
service including system in time average
1
line in waiting spent time average
line in customers of number average
1 !
/
2
0
= =
= + =
= =
=
÷
=
W L
W W
L W
p s
p P
L
q
q q
s
q
ì
µ
ì
µ ì
Example: Multiple Server
 Computer Lab Help Desk
 Now 45 students/hour need help.
 3 servers, each with service rate of 18
students/hour
 Based on this, we know:
 µ = 18 students/hour
 s = 3 servers
 ì = 45 students/hour
Flexible Spreadsheet Approach
 Formulas are somewhat complex to set up initially, but you
only need to do it once!

 For other multiple-server problems, can just change the input
values.
 This approach also makes sensitivity analysis possible.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
A B C
Queuing Analysis: Multiple Servers
Inputs
Time unit hour
Arrival Rate (lambda) 45 customers/hour
Service Rate per Server (mu) 18 customers/hour
Number of Servers (s) 3 servers
Intermediate Calculations
Average time between arrivals 0.022222 hour
Average service time per server 0.055556 hour
Combined service rate (s*mu) 54 customers/hour
Performance Measures
Rho (average server utilization) 0.833333
P0 (probability the system is empty) 0.044944
L (average numberin the system) 6.011236 customers
Lq (average number waiting in the queue) 3.511236 customers
W (average time in the system) 0.133583 hour
Wq (average time in the queue) 0.078027 hour
Probability of a specific number of customers in the system
Number 5
Probability 0.081279
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
108
109
E F G H
Working Calculations, mainly for P0 Calculation
lambda/mu 2.5
s! 6
n (ì/µ)^n n! Sum
0 1 1 1
1 2.5 1 3.5
2 6.25 2 6.625
3 15.625 6 9.229166667
4 39.0625 24 10.85677083
5 97.65625 120 11.67057292
6 244.14063 720 12.00965712
7 610.35156 5040 12.13075862
8 1525.8789 40320 12.16860284
9 3814.6973 362880 12.17911512
10 9536.7432 3628800 12.18174319
11 23841.858 39916800 12.18234048
12 59604.645 479001600 12.18246492
13 149011.61 6.227E+09 12.18248885
14 372529.03 8.718E+10 12.18249312
15 931322.57 1.308E+12 12.18249383
16 2328306.4 2.092E+13 12.18249394
17 5820766.1 3.557E+14 12.18249396
18 14551915 6.402E+15 12.18249396
99 2.489E+39 9.33E+155 12.18249396
100 6.223E+39 9.33E+157 12.18249396
Key Formulas for Spreadsheet
 F10: =F$5^E10 (copied down)
 G10: =E10*G9 (copied down)
 H10: =H9+(F10/G10) (copied down)
 F5: =B5/B6
 F6: =INDEX(G9:G109,B7+1)
 B10: =1/B5
 B11: =1/B6
 B12: =B7*B6
 B15: =B5/B12
 B16: = (INDEX(H9:H109,B7)+ (((F5^B7)/F6)*((1)/(1-B15))))^(-1)
 B17: =B5*B19
 B18: =(B16*(F5^B7)*B15)/(INDEX(G9:G109,B7+1)*(1-B15)^2)
 B19: =B20+(1/B6)
 B20: =B18/B5
 B24: =IF(B23<=B7, ((F5^B23)*B16)/INDEX(G9:G109,B23+1),
((F5^B23)*B16)/ (INDEX(G9:G109,B7+1)*(B7^(B23-B7))))
Probability of n students in the
system
Probability of Number in System
0.0000
0.0200
0.0400
0.0600
0.0800
0.1000
0.1200
0.1400
0.1600
0 2 4 6 8
1
0
1
2
1
4
1
6
1
8
2
0
2
2
2
4
2
6
2
8
3
0
Number in System
P
r
o
b
a
b
i
l
i
t
y
Changing System Performance
 Customer Arrival Rates
 Try to smooth demand through non-peak discounts or price
promotions
 Number and type of service facilities
 Increase or decrease number of servers, or dedicate specific
servers for certain tasks (e.g., express line for under 10
items)
 Change Number of Phases
 Can use multi-phase system instead of single phase. This
spreads the workload among more servers and may result in
better flow (e.g., fast food restaurants having an order
phase, pay phase, and pick-up phase during busy hours)
Changing System Performance
 Server efficiency
 Add resources to each phase (e.g., bagger helping
a checker at the grocery store)
 Use technology (e.g. price scanners) to improve
efficiency
 Change priority rules
 Example: implement a reservation protocol
 Change the number of lines
 Reduce multiple lines to single queue to avoid
jockeying
 Dedicate specific servers to specific transactions
Waiting Lines Models within
OM: How it all fits together
 Although it is unlikely that you calculate performance
measures for the lines you wait in on a day-to-day
basis, you should now be aware of the potential for
mathematical analysis of these systems. More
importantly, management has a tool by which it can
evaluate system performance and make decisions as
to how to improve the performance while weighing
performance against the costs to achieve that
performance.
 Waiting line models are important to a company
because they directly affect customer service
perception and the costs of providing a service.
Supplement C Highlights
 The elements of a waiting line system include the customer population
source, the patience of the customer, the service system, arrival and
service distributions, waiting line priority rules, and system performance
measures. Understanding these elements is critical when analyzing
waiting line systems.
 Waiting line models allow us to estimate system performance by
predicting average system utilization, average number of customers in
the service system, average number of customers waiting in line, average
time a customer waits in line, and the probability of n customers in the
service system.
 The benefit of calculating operational characteristics is to provide
management with information as to whether system changes are
needed. Management can change the operational performance of the
waiting line system by altering any or all of the following: the customer
arrival rates, the number of service facilities, the number of phases,
server efficiency, the priority rule, and the number of lines in the system.
Based on proposed changes, management can then evaluate the
expected performance of the system.
Homework Hints
 Problems C.3 and C.4: these are based on
the single-server model, the “additional
server” is one who works within the single
server system. C.3 asks for the utilization
rate and average number of customers
waiting in the system and in line. C.4 asks
for the average time in the system and in
line and the probability of more than 3 and
4 customers in the system

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