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Staffing Multiskill Call Centers via Linear Programming and Simulation

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Author Info

  • Mehmet Tolga Cezik

    ()
    (GERAD and Département d'Informatique et de Recherche Opérationnelle, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, Succ. Centre-Ville, Montréal H3C 3J7, Canada)

  • Pierre L'Ecuyer

    ()
    (GERAD and Département d'Informatique et de Recherche Opérationnelle, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, Succ. Centre-Ville, Montréal H3C 3J7, Canada)

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    Abstract

    We study an iterative cutting-plane algorithm on an integer program for minimizing the staffing costs of a multiskill call center subject to service-level requirements that are estimated by simulation. We solve a sample average version of the problem, where the service levels are expressed as functions of the staffing for a fixed sequence of random numbers driving the simulation. An optimal solution of this sample problem is also an optimal solution to the original problem when the sample size is large enough. Several difficulties are encountered when solving the sample problem, especially for large problem instances, and we propose practical heuristics to deal with these difficulties. We report numerical experiments with examples of different sizes. The largest example corresponds to a real-life call center with 65 types of calls and 89 types of agents (skill groups).

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1070.0824
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 54 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 2 (February)
    Pages: 310-323

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:54:y:2008:i:2:p:310-323

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    Related research

    Keywords: call centers; staffing; optimization by simulation; integer programming; cutting planes; skill-based routing; subgradient cuts;

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    Cited by:
    1. Tsai, Shing Chih & Zheng, Ya-Xin, 2013. "A simulation optimization approach for a two-echelon inventory system with service level constraints," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 229(2), pages 364-374.
    2. Örmeci, E. Lerzan & Salman, F. Sibel & Yücel, Eda, 2014. "Staff rostering in call centers providing employee transportation," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 41-53.
    3. Tsai, Shing Chih & Fu, Sheng Yang, 2014. "Genetic-algorithm-based simulation optimization considering a single stochastic constraint," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 236(1), pages 113-125.
    4. Kleijnen, Jack P.C. & Beers, W.C.M. van & Nieuwenhuyse, I. van, 2010. "Constrained optimization in simulation: A novel approach," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3583585, Tilburg University.
    5. Van den Bergh, Jorne & Beliën, Jeroen & De Bruecker, Philippe & Demeulemeester, Erik & De Boeck, Liesje, 2013. "Personnel scheduling: A literature review," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 226(3), pages 367-385.

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