An extended queueing control model for facilities with front room and back room operations and mixed-skilled workers
Three related problems arising in retail facilities with front room and back room operations, and cross-trained workers, are considered. In the first problem, the goal is to determine an optimal policy for switching workers between the two rooms. In the second and third problems, the goal is to determine the minimum number of workers that should be hired by the facility such that a satisfactory switching policy exists. We analyze two questions arising from previous work on these problems. Firstly, we demonstrate that the previously proposed policy definition is sub-optimal and cannot represent a set of solutions that are reasonable in practice, and propose an alternative definition. Secondly, we examine the problem of finding the optimal combination of cross-trained and specialized workers under a complete set of assumptions regarding worker costs. This analysis shows that the structure of the optimal solution depends on the policy definition that is employed. Moreover, under some assumptions the cost of the 'optimal' solution with the original policy definition will be greater than the cost of the optimal solution with the new one.
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