queuing theory

What is Queuing Theory?

Queueing theory is a branch of mathematics that studies how lines are formed, how they function, and why they fail. Queuing theory examines every component of a queuing, including the arrival process, the service process, the number of servers, the number of system locations, and the number of customers – which could be people, packets, cars, or anything else.

Practical applications of queuing theory cover a wide range of businesses. Its findings can be used to provide faster customer service, increase traffic flow, improve order fulfillment in warehouses, or design data networks and call centers.

As a branch of operations research, queuing theory can help inform business decisions about how to build more efficient and cost-effective workflow systems.

  • Queuing theory is the movement of researchers, objects, or information through a line.
  • Studying congestion in processes and their causes can help create more efficient and cost-effective services and systems.
  • Queuing theory is often used as an operations management tool to address staffing, scheduling and customer service shortages.
  • Some queuing is acceptable in business. If there is never a queue, that’s a sign of overcapacity.
  • Queuing theory aims to achieve an efficient and affordable balance.

How Queuing Theory Works

Queues occur whenever resources are limited. In any business, some queuing is tolerable because no queuing at all means costly excess capacity.

Queuing theory aims to design balanced systems that serve customers quickly and efficiently, but not too costly to be sustainable.

At its most basic level, queuing theory involves the analysis of arriving facilities, such as banks or fast food restaurants, and the analysis of the processes currently serving them. The end result is a series of conclusions designed to identify any flaws in the system and suggest how to improve them.

The origins of queuing theory can be traced back to the early 1900s, when the Danish engineer, statistician, and mathematician Agner Krarup Erlang studied the Copenhagen telephone exchange. His work led to the Erlang theory of efficient networks and the areas of telephone network analysis.

Today, the basic unit of telecommunication services in a voice system is called “erlang”.

Queue parameters

In queuing theory, the process under study is decomposed into six different parameters. These include arrival processes, service and departure processes, number of servers, queuing rules (eg first-in, first-out), queue capacity, and the size of the customer base.

Queues are not necessarily a negative for businesses, as their absence indicates excess capacity.

The benefits of queuing theory

Queuing theory, as an operations management technique, is often used to identify and simplify staffing needs, scheduling, and inventory to improve overall customer service.Six Sigma practitioners often use it to Improve the process.

queuing psychology

Queuing psychology is related to queuing theory. It’s the queuing component that deals with the natural thrill many people feel when they are forced to wait in line for service, whether they’re at the supermarket waiting to check out or waiting for a website to load.

The call-back option while waiting to speak to a customer representative over the phone is an example of addressing customer impatience. A more old-fashioned example is the system used by many delis, which sends out customer service numbers that allow people to track their progress to the front of the queue.

Examples of Queuing Theory

A paper by Stanford Business School professor Lawrence Wein et al. Various possible emergency responses to aerial bioterrorism attacks in public spaces are analyzed using queuing theory. The model points to specific actions that can be taken to reduce wait times for urgent care and thus reduce potential fatalities.

Queuing theory is useful in guiding the logistics of many businesses, if not so urgent. For example, the operations of a courier company might use queuing theory to help it troubleshoot problems in the system that transports packages from warehouses to customers. In this case, the “line” under study consists of cargo boxes waiting to be delivered to the customer.

By applying queuing theory, businesses can develop more efficient systems, processes, pricing mechanisms, staffing solutions, and arrival management strategies to reduce customer wait times and increase the number of customers that can be served.

Queuing Theory FAQ

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about queuing theory.

How do you use queuing theory?

Queuing theory is used to identify and correct congestion points in a process. Queues may consist of people, things or information. They were forced to wait for service anyway. This is inefficient, bad for business, and annoying (when the queue is made up of people).

Queuing theory is used to analyze existing processes and develop alternatives with better outcomes.

Who invented queuing theory?

Danish mathematician, statistician, and engineer Agner Krarup Erlang created not only queuing theory, but the entire field of telephone traffic engineering.

In the early 1900s, Erlang was the head of the Copenhagen Telephone Company’s technical laboratory. His extensive research on wait times in automated telephone services and recommendations for more efficient networks were widely adopted by telephone companies.

What are the basic elements of queuing theory?

The study of a line using queuing theory breaks it down into six elements: the arrival process, the service and departure process, the number of available servers, the queuing rules (such as first-in, first-out), the queue capacity, and the number being served. Creating a model of the entire process from start to finish can identify and address one or more causes of congestion.

What does queuing mean?

Americans line up for service (except New Yorkers, who “queue”). British people line up. The word queue comes from an old French noun meaning the tail of an animal.

The computer age has introduced a new usage. Your email provider may indicate that your message is “queued.” This means that there is a delay in delivery, but it will be sent as soon as possible.

Queue and queue are both acceptable word spellings.

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