A Note on Queuing Models
(8 pages of text)
Queues (or waiting lines) are common in modern life. We wait in lines at the campus cafeteria, to board an airplane, in the emergency room, and when we call a company for customer service. We even wait for applications to be initiated and processed by our smartphone processors, and our online orders wait to be fulfilled at companies’ warehouses before being shipped to us. How long we wait in line depends on several factors and parameters. It may depend on the number of servers working and the amount of time it takes to serve each individual customer (the system’s capacity) or on how many customers arrive at any given time (the system’s demand or flow rate). Most importantly, queues form due to random variations in arrival patterns and service times.
This note introduces students to queuing theory and waiting lines. It shows the fundamentals of queuing theory and walks students through the process of estimating and analyzing key performance indicators of a queuing system to suggest improvements to real life queuing systems. After reading the note, students will be able to do the following:
- Use Simulation in Excel.
- Understand queuing models.
- Understand waiting time problems and bottleneck analysis.
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