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An extended queueing control model for facilities with front room and back room operations and mixed-skilled workers


  • Terekhov, Daria
  • Christopher Beck, J.


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Terekhov, Daria & Christopher Beck, J., 2009. "An extended queueing control model for facilities with front room and back room operations and mixed-skilled workers," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 198(1), pages 223-231, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ejores:v:198:y:2009:i:1:p:223-231

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Edieal J. Pinker & Robert A. Shumsky, 2000. "The Efficiency-Quality Trade-Off of Cross-Trained Workers," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 2(1), pages 32-48, July.
    2. Chevalier, Philippe & Tabordon, Nathalie, 2003. "Overflow analysis and cross-trained servers," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 47-60, July.
    3. Mehmet Tolga Cezik & Pierre L'Ecuyer, 2008. "Staffing Multiskill Call Centers via Linear Programming and Simulation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(2), pages 310-323, February.
    4. Itay Gurvich & Mor Armony & Avishai Mandelbaum, 2008. "Service-Level Differentiation in Call Centers with Fully Flexible Servers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(2), pages 279-294, February.
    5. Batta, Rajan & Berman, Oded & Wang, Qian, 2007. "Balancing staffing and switching costs in a service center with flexible servers," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 177(2), pages 924-938, March.
    6. Berman, Oded & Wang, Jiamin & Sapna, K. P., 2005. "Optimal management of cross-trained workers in services with negligible switching costs," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 167(2), pages 349-369, December.
    7. Marvin Hersh, 1973. "Allocation Processes with Variable Channel Queues," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 20(2), pages 203-213, October.
    8. Lotfi Tadj & Gautam Choudhury, 2005. "Optimal design and control of queues," TOP: An Official Journal of the Spanish Society of Statistics and Operations Research, Springer;Sociedad de Estadística e Investigación Operativa, vol. 13(2), pages 359-412, December.
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